Let the words of Nick Cowan show how badly Perry Hall's boys lacrosse team wanted to beat Dulaney yesterday.
"All year we called this season 'Prepare for Dulaney,' " Cowan said. "Every other game [was] just practice."
Practice paid off for No. 15 Perry Hall. Cowan (two goals), Mike Faith (three) and Jeff Taylor (three) combined for eight goals to lead the Gators to their first victory in school history over No. 9 Dulaney, 11-7, at Perry Hall Middle School.
The victory gave the Gators their first Baltimore County 4A-3A title. Perry Hall finished 12-0 overall and 11-0 in the county. Dulaney ended up 9-2 both ways.
The rivalry dates back to the 1970s and Perry Hall never had beaten Dulaney -- including playoff losses in recent seasons -- and it wanted to show the Lions something.
"It means everything," said Perry Hall coach Bill Dunkerton. "We felt we'd be very, very competitive and give them a real good game."
And that's what happened. Perry Hall did nearly everything right, from scooping up ground ball after ground ball to playing strong defense. Included was a marquee game from goalie Brandon Hill (17 saves).
"They executed, and we didn't," Dulaney coach Gary Schrieber said. "They just outplayed us."
Seven different players scored for Dulaney, and Mike Hohl and Matt Steil each finished with a goal and an assist.
The teams split the first four goals before Perry Hall took charge, scoring seven of the next eight goals for a 9-3 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Cowan (two goals, two assists) -- the area's leading scorer (56, 34) -- sparked Perry Hall with a variety of good passes.
Shedding the Dulaney monkey from its back dominated Perry Hall's post-game talk.
"It feels fantastic," Dunkerton said. "I know we've got the rest of the playoffs to go, so it's not the end of the story."
The two teams could meet in the Class 4A-3A Region III regionals. The draw for those playoffs will be determined tonight.
For now, though, Perry Hall will enjoy this victory.
"I'm just glad to get this victory, and we'll take that bridge when we come to it," Cowan said.
"This meant everything. I just wanted to cry."