Borden answers challenge, leads AACS to title

TOWSON — Ahead of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference boys lacrosse championship game against Indian Creek, Annapolis Area Christian School senior John Gage Collier told his classmate, Dylin Borden, he might have to shoulder the load on offense.

Collier had scored eight goals against Indian Creek 10 days earlier and would likely draw a lot of attention from their defenders.


Borden took Collier’s advice and scored a game-high six goals and assisted on four others to lead AACS to a 17-11 victory over Indian Creek on Friday at Johnny Unitas Stadium, avenging their loss to their rivals in the title game a year ago. It’s the first boy's lacrosse conference title since 2009 for AACS when the school was in the B Conference.

“[Collier] told me today, ‘You know they're going to lock me off so you’ve got to be the one,’” Borden said. “I’m happy I was able to step up. We had talks throughout the whole season. If someone is locking him off, it’s my time.”


In the decisive third quarter, Borden was involved in three of AACS’ four goals, assisting Anthony Coppola 35 seconds into the half and scoring the final two goals of the quarter to give his team a five-goal advantage, the same margin they enjoyed for most of last year’s championship game before Indian Creek came back for a 15-13 win.

First-year head coach Luther Fleming credited his players with starting fast and not letting Indian Creek creep back into the game like they did a year ago.

“We have quite a few guys that were here last year and they got out ahead on Indian Creek and Indian Creek came back and they won it,” Fleming said. “We were determined not to let that happen again.”

Borden got AACS on the board in the first quarter with an unassisted goal at the 9:41 mark. Collier scored with an extra man advantage less than 30 seconds later, and Jack Rife added a third later in the quarter to give AACS the fast start they were hoping for. After an Indian Creek goal by Nick Stroble, AACS tacked two more on in a 16-second span in the final minute to take a 5-1 lead after one quarter.

Indian Creek responded in the second quarter, ripping off three goals in just over two minutes to cut the deficit to one, but another goal by Borden gave AACS some breathing room at 6-4. He scored again four minutes later and assisted on another to give his team a 9-6 lead at halftime.

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“Our goal coming in was to push it at the beginning and do it the whole game,” Borden said. “So at halftime, we knew we had to push again and just not let up and that’s what we did. We got the ‘ship.”

Stroble finished with two goals and two ground balls. Sammy Carter and Tyler Sheppard each had three goals and an assist for Indian Creek. Coppola finished with three goals and Lucas Williams had three goals and two assists for AACS.

Indian Creek coach Jason Werner was happy with his team’s defense on Collier, who finished with two goals on four shots to go with two assists, but said they didn’t account for Borden.


“Once you work to eliminate one guy, another guy [pops up],” said Werner, whose team was denied a second straight C Conference title, and fourth in six years. “We wanted to make it so someone else would have to prove and No. 3 for them, he did it. He answered the call.”

AACS edged Indian Creek on ground balls 43-32. Joey Dixon led AACS with seven ground balls to go with one goal and Borden had five. Carter had seven ground balls and Cade Fanning added six for Indian Creek.

The teams’ split their regular season matchups with Indian Creek winning the first game 9-5 and AACS winning the rematch, 19-11. AACS ends its season on a 13-game winning streak, including a win in the season finale against Indian Creek and playoff wins over Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Key School in the quarterfinals and semis, respectively.

“We started off shaky, lost a couple games early on,” Fleming said. “We built our momentum. We developed a habit of playing fast and the rest of the season is history.”