Having dug itself an 8-1 hole — make that a giant crater — in the first half of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference title game Friday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium, Friends faced a crossroads.
The Quakers then could have slumped their shoulders and sulked, or found a way to elbow back into contention against Saints Peter and Paul of Easton.
They chose the latter, outscoring the Sabres, 12-6, the rest of the way only to fall short in a 14-13 setback.
"You just can't come out flat against a team like that, or any team in that league," Friends coach Tom Marachek said. "We just didn't play that well, but all credit goes to Saints Peter and Paul."
The Sabres jumped out, 5-0, as sophomore Casey Grieves scored four times.
Senior midfielder Paul Orrson broke the streak before Grieves and company scored three more goals to take a seven-goal advantage with 6:42.
That's when the Quakers put on their hard hats and went to work, scoring the final three goals of the half by Orrson and senior attackmen Dave Magdeburger and Mike Sweet.
Still, they fell behind, 10-5, midway through the third period before another three-goal spurt by junior midfielders James Batho, Dan Warren and Cedric Charlier brought Friends back in the fray.
After the Sabres doubled the lead to 12-8, Magdeburge and Dan Warren cut it back in half with left in the final quarter.
Unfortunately for the Quakers, their rivals had one more run in them, and it helped offset Friends' last push that produced three goals in the final 59 seconds by junior attackman Tucker Glotzbach, Orrson and Charlier.
"We had that run and, as you saw at the end, it was just enough," Saints Peter and Paul coach Bud Lewis said.
Marachek's major tactical move, inserting junior Taylor Roethle to shadow Grieves paid off, holding him scoreless for the final 29 minutes.
"We never gave up," he said. "These Friends kids are great kids. It's a testimony to them."