HYATTSVILLE – Two weeks ago, Bowie High School and the International High School at Langley Park (IHSLP) battled in a back-and-fourth match for the boys’ soccer county championship. Despite the result, a 3-1 victory for the Bulldogs, both teams aspired to compete for a state title.
This weekend, they will get their chance.
Both Bowie and IHSLP won their respective regional championships and will head to the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) state semifinals with the possibility of winning two titles for the county.
Bulldog trio strikes again to defeat competitive Laurel to win 4A South
For the first time since 2011, the Bowie Bulldogs are headed to the state semifinals after edging Laurel, 3-1, to become the 4A South Regional Champions at Northwestern High School on Nov. 7.
The county champions struggled to adjust in the rainy conditions until the game-opening goal by freshman Michael Adekanmbi in the 22nd minute. The addition of Adekanmbi has proven to be a critical part of the offense this postseason, as he has set the tone with his early scoring.
Head Coach Frantz Deetjen called Adekanmbi’s clutch scoring “cold-blooded” and is impressed with his ability to give the team maximum effort at an early age.
“The biggest advantage of having him now as a freshman with this much talent is that he still one of those kids eager to impress the coaches every time out,” Deetjen said. “He doesn’t want to do what he wants, he wants to what is best for the team.”
Along with seniors Isaiah Price and Justin John-Longbah, the trio scored all three goals for the Bulldogs and continued their scoring barrage from the regular season. The year, the three strikers have combined to score 76 percent of the team’s goals.
Overall, Deetjen was impressed with how Bowie handled playing a Laurel team who, despite its 6-2-2 regular season record, has talented players from area club teams, making them a dark horse contender.
“They threw an onslaught on us, holding like 60-65 percent of the possession for the first 10 minutes and our boys were panicking,” Deetjen said. “Eventually, our midfield gained their confidence back and that changed the flow of the game.”
Bowie will face an undefeated Severna Park on Nov. 11 in the 4A state semifinals at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School.
International Langley Park stuns Lackey to win 1A South
Sophomore Santos Munoz Franco’s lone goal was enough for the IHSLP to win the 1A South regional title over Lackey Tuesday night at Fairmont Heights High School.
The diminutive midfielder was nursing a foot injury for the past three weeks, making him limited during the county championships and the state playoffs, according to Head Coach Daniel Sass. However, his presence on the field provided a spark to the IHSLP attack, before and after he scored his fifth goal of the year.
“He always plays in big games and (vs. Lackey) was no different,” Sass said. “He’s the type of kid who steps up and thrives under pressure and he showed it.”
In only its second year of existence, the IHSLP’s boys’ soccer program has made huge strides to make itself one of the more potent teams in the county. Comprised of recent immigrant arrivals and refugees, the team lost just one game during the regular season, competed in the county championship for the first, and has made it to back-to-back regional championship games.
“Now, we get to see what the semifinals are all about and see teams from all over the state while being a part of that process,” Sass said. “It is going to be a valuable experience for these boys.”
IHSLP will play the winner of East Regional between Patterson Mill and St. Michaels this weekend at Northeast Senior High School in Pasadena, Md.