By: Molly Schreier
There were twenty five minutes left in the half. Hammond was down 3-0 to Oakland Mills. Most of the student section had left at halftime to attend the football game at Reservoir high school. It quickly became clear that they should not have left: Hammond scored three goals before the end of the half, and held Oakland Mills to a 3-3 tie after two ten-minute halves of overtime. Those that stayed were happy with their choice.
Hammond ended the county season with a strong record: 7-5-2 (wins-losses-ties) overall, 5-4-2 in county–the best record for Hammond for over five years. Hammond leads the county in goals scored, with 56 goals, most by forward duo Brennan Reamer and Anderson Mejia Marroquin. Notable wins include a 5-3 win over Mount Hebron, last year’s county champs, and a win over Reservoir.
Several factors have been key to Hammond’s success. The offensive duo Brennan Reamer and Anderson Mejia Marroquin enabled Hammond to lead the county in goals scored, with a total of 56 goals. Most were scored by Reamer and Marroquin.
Hammond’s tight defense has also played a large role. Captain Zach Lee noted the growth of the defense over the season. “I think at the beginning of the season we didn’t do so well, in two games we let in 14 goals. But we made some changes, so now we only let in one or two goals per game.” These changes include moving Lee to defensive mid, and creating greater stability in the back Ethan Fox and Nicky Bradford.
Hammond’s new coach, David Reamer, has been instrumental to the team’s success. Coach Reamer has eighteen years of club coaching experience, and is the father of forward Brennan Reamer.
When he made the decision to coach, he also made the decision to challenge the current state of Howard County soccer. “Some have said that the beautiful game can no longer be played in Howard County High Schools; that all of the teams play long balls, set plays and play with physicality. Coach George [Phillips] and I spoke and agreed that we would challenge the notion that Hammond struggles to compete and that Howard County High School soccer could not be played with quality. The hard work and dedication of the players and coaching staff has allowed us to prove both of the notions wrong.”
In practice, Coach Reamer placed the emphasis on technical skills and tactics. This was a shift from previous years under Coach Cutler, according to Lee, when the focus was on conditioning. Accordingly, the style of play has developed from kick and run to passing through the midfield.
In their season game against Wilde Lake, Hammond went from a 3-0 lead to a 3-3 tie in overtime, mainly due to a red card that required Hammond to play a man down for much of the second half and overtime. In sizing up Wilde Lake, Coach Reamer said: “Wilde Lake has some talent; especially in goal and up top; however, there’s a very good chance that they will attempt to make Friday a very physical match. We have seen this with several teams over the season and it has unfortunately led to two of our top players having to end their seasons early. We will focus on our game.”
Going into the game, Hammond has two injured players and two players out for the season. Junior defender Mathias O’Neil hopes the team will focus on defense. “I feel like a lot of times we focused more on offense than on the defense–we tried to score more than the other team could score on us. So I feel like if we really focus more on playoffs on keeping our lead, we’ll be fine.”
Hammond plays Wilde Lake tonight, 6:30 pm, at home. It’s a white out.