Boys' Latin seemed built to win another Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference soccer championship. The Lakers had eight seniors in the starting lineup and lived up to their billing during the regular season as one of the league's top teams, finishing in second place.
But second-seeded Boys' Latin emerged from the MIAA B Conference final Sunday without a title, losing to league newcomer and fourth-seeded Gerstell Academy, 3-2.
Gerstell junior forward Braden Silcott scored the game-winner in the final minute of play on a shot to the left corner.
To grab the title, the Falcons (17-6 overall, 9-6 league) had to overcome a 2-1 deficit and they did when Nicholas Wilson scored from about 16 yards on a right-footed shot to the left corner in the 63rd minute.
"We wanted to prove that we belong in the B Conference, and we did today," said Gerstell first-year coach Bill Warburton, whose team won the last two MIAA C Conference championships. "That was the main thing."
Boys’ Latin (12-7-1) put a bundle of pressure on the Gerstell defense of twins Jake and Luke Gardner and Josh Tabak and Billy Bauhoff early and late in the first half.
With the wind at their back, the Lakers finally broke through in the 37th minute when senior Brian Becker beat senior goalie Brett McLaughlin with a blistering shot to the upper right corner from 15 yards out.
Gerstell tied it at 1-1 in the 60th minute on a shot from near midfield. Senior midfielder Casey Gruber’s attempt from 55 yards out went over a leaping Parker Yablon, who was off balance when he attempted to save it.
Boys’ Latin answered about two minutes later on junior forward Drew Shaifer’s header to go ahead 2-1.
That lead didn’t last long as Gerstell scored in the middle of the half.
"It just wasn't our day," said Boys' Latin Don Rickels, whose team was going for its seventh title in 13 years. "The wind dictated the run of the play. We got one goal with the wind and they got three.
"We didn't want the wind in the first half," he added. "We wanted to be in their position. But they won the coin toss and made a good decision."