Hereford assistant boys lacrosse coach Steve Turnabugh said that his team may never practice again if the five-time defending state champs emerge unscathed from their next couple of games.
After all, that's the tack No. 8 Hereford took to pull off one of the biggest high school upsets in recent memory Tuedsay night in Parkton, a 7-6 triumph over No. 2 Gilman.
Wins by Baltimore County teams over Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rivals are rare, although the Bulls did top St. Paul's last spring. The Crusaders, however, finished winless in the conference and 3-13 overall, the worst in school history.
Beating Gilman is another matter, considering the Greyhounds are usually serious A Conference title contenders and were unbeaten coming into the non-league contest.
And to prevail with little or no recent practices makes the win even more special.
"We played Friday against St. Paul's (an 8-4 loss), had a short practice on Saturday and haven't practiced since," Turnbaugh said, noting that practices were not allowed on Monday because of snow or Tuesday because of Passover. "We had a walk-through about 3 (p.m.) today, but that's about it."
The Bulls (1-1) play Lansdowne on Thursday and won't be allowed to practice on Friday or Monday, either. Over the weekend they are in a tournament with Northern of Calvert, Winters Mill and Fallston. They face Loyola Blakefield on Tuesday.
"All we have are games," Turbnbaugh added. "There's no time for practice."
Surprisingly, it worked against Gilman (3-1).
But it was more about a great effort than lack of repetitions.
"It was a great win," Turnbaugh said. "A number of guys elevated their games, especially on defense."
It started between the pipes with Hofstra University-bound senior Conor Cunningham's 17-save performance.
Cunningham, who often splits time with Turnbaugh's son Brock, played the whole game.
"We made a decision at halftime to keep him in there," the elder Turnbaugh said. "He was really on."
So were close defensemen Josh Rider, Eli Hess and Kemp Ensor, shortsticks Andrew Fisher, Connor Williams and Chuck Stafford and poles Matt Groeff and Joe Schaeffer.
"We challenged them," Turnbaugh said. "We went out and played them beyond the restraining line and doubled them, too. We told our guys not to just let them spin (pass around the perimeter) the ball. We disrupted them, and I think it threw them off their game a little bit. You could see they were getting a little frustrated."
Turnbaugh also said that Gilman shooters "earned everything that they got. We didn't allow them to set their feet and just shoot at will."
The turning point came with one second left in the opening half on a goal by senior Ryan Jones to give the Bulls a 3-2 halftime advantage.
Hereford then scored four times in the third quarter to go way ahead before Gilman rallied to make it close.
Asked if his team was missing any key players, Gilman coach Brooks Matthews' answer was succinct.
"Everyone played for us," he said. "They were the tougher and better team tonight."
Goals: (G) W. McBride 3, Ruhl ,1 Wittich 1, Brown 1 (H) Adams 2, Ashwood 2, Seider 2, Jones 1
Assists: (G) Ruhl 1, DeSmit 1 (H) Adams 2, Ashwood 1
Saves: (G) T. McBride 8 (H) Cunningham 17
Halftime: H 3-2Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun