Maybe Severna Park wanted to add some suspense to its second straight state title.
After playing from behind or tied the entire game, Jack Thomas scored the game-winning goal with three seconds left in regulation to lift the Falcons to a thrilling 7-6 victory over Winston Churchill in the Class 4A/3A state final on Wednesday night at Stevenson University.
Severna Park (20-0) trailed by as many as three goals, but hung around long enough to give itself an opportunity to win at the end. The Falcons won their 37th straight game and seventh state title.
After the Falcons called timeout with 9.1 seconds left, Thomas controlled the ball on the restart, couldn’t find an open cutter, then took matters into his own hands for the game-winner.
“I knew that with 9.1 seconds left I had to go to the goal right away,” Thomas said. “There was no slide, so I just went to the goal.”
Trevor Patschorke, who led the Falcons with three goals, scored a pair of tying goals in the fourth quarter, including one with 1:53 left.
“I found myself up top, which is a spot where I’m usually not, going down the right alley,” said Patschorke, on the tying goal. “Chase Cope threw me a great pass, the defense was late to slide out to me, and because of the way we move the ball so quick it set me up for an easy shot.”
Churchill had a chance to hold the ball for a final shot, but Josh Coffman forced a turnover and the Falcons eventually called timeout with nine seconds left, setting up Thomas’ heroics.
“I think they’re all pretty hard. Last year was tough, but this year was tough too,” Severna Park coach Dave Earl said. “I can’t say enough about our players and the support from our administration this year. It’s been awesome. Hat’s off to Churchill. What a really good team. They’re extremely well-coached and they had a great game plan against us.”
Severna Park, which was rarely tested since a pair of tight wins over Archbishop Spalding and Severn midway through the season, fell into a 3-0 hole after the first quarter on Wednesday. The Falcons didn’t get on the board until Patschorke scored at the 8:13 mark of the second quarter. Cope scored three minutes later to cut the lead to 3-2, and the Falcons held off some good chances by the Bulldogs the rest of the half to go into the locker room down by just a goal.
Severna Park, which went scoreless for the first 15 minutes, 47 seconds of the game, held Churchill scoreless for the final 13:04 of the half, which included killing off a 30-second extra man opportunity early in the second quarter.
The Falcons scored two of the first three goals of the third and finally caught the Bulldogs on a goal from Thomas that made it 4-4 with 3:38 left in the third. As it looked like the game was headed to the fourth tied, the Bulldogs were awarded an extra man opportunity with 15 seconds left in the quarter and Ryan Leonard scored with a second left to put them back ahead heading to the fourth.
Shane Carr stopped eight shots for the Falcons, who won the game despite losing 13 of the 15 faceoffs.
Severna Park’s victory late Wednesday night followed up Southern’s win in the 2A/1A final earlier in the day, giving the county two state champions in boys lacrosse for the first time. It also marked the second time the Falcons have gone back-to-back and moved them to within two of Hereford’s state-record nine state titles.
“There’s a lot of good players and programs in Anne Arundel County,” Earl said. “I’m just proud to represent the county.”
Spencer Knife scored three goals to lead Churchill, which fell to the Falcons in last year’s state semifinals.
“Unfortunately we didn’t make enough plays to come out with the victory tonight,” Churchill coach Jeff Fritz said. “I could not be more proud of what we accomplished this year and everything our men have done for us. I’m very proud of them.”
GOALS: SP - Patschorke 3, Thomas 2, Chung, Cope; CH - Knife 3, Leonard, Moshyedi, Taylor. ASSISTS: SP - Chung, Coffman, S. Zichelli ; CH - Gibson. SAVES: SP - Carr 8; CH - Crombie 9. SHOTS: SP - 30; CH - 26. FACEOFFS: SP - 2; CH - 13; GROUND BALLS: SP - 23; CH - 28.