Towson High opened three-goal leads in each of the last three quarters, and held off Fallston, 9-7, for the Class 1A-2A boys lacrosse championship at UMBC last night.
The victory gave the Baltimore County school its second straight state title and stretched its winning streak to 28 games, including 13 this season.
Fallston (14-2) had a winning streak stopped at 14, fashioned after a season-opening loss to St. Paul's. It was the school's third straight state tournament appearance, its first in a championship game.
Spencer Ford, Dan Ross, and Barry Heddings scored for Towson, as it broke away from a 3-3 tie to forge a 6-3 halftime lead.
After Dan Bowers and Brad Baker had brought Fallston back to within 6-5, Mike Ford scored twice, bracketing them around a winning faceoff by Ben Donovan.
The teams swapped goals in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, before Ross got his third goal of the game for a 9-6 margin. Fallston got the game's final goal at 4:55, on a shot by Bowers off a pass from Baker.
Towson won the opening faceoff and the Ford brothers took 17 seconds to convert the advantage into a goal, Mike scoring on a feed from Spencer. Towson put up a pair of two-goal leads before its second-quarter breakaway.
Mike Ford and Ross ended with three goals each for the Generals, and Ford added two assists. For Fallston, Bowers had three goals.
"We focused on being underdogs, and with our weak schedule, you play mind games, something to motivate them," said Towson coach Randy Dase, savoring the school's sixth title since 1982. "They were ahead of us in the rankings [No. 7 vs. No. 8].
For two teams that regularly scored more than 20 goals a game, the defense in this one was outstanding, particularly Fallston goalkeeper Jamie Auer, and a Towson defense led by James Ghong and goalkeeper Ian Wildey, whom Dase called, "our secret weapon," because the defense in front of him had kept him from really being tested.
"The kids were nervous and the first few minutes showed it," Fallston coach John Conley said. "Towson has been here before and that experience showed. We didn't do the things we had earlier."
Two of his senior stars confirmed this.
"We did some stupid things," Bowers said. "We should have passed more."
And defenseman Chip Turner added, "We weren't talking. We weren't backing up fast enough and we didn't have the slide."
"We needed to control the possessions," said Towson's Ben Donovan, who dominated the faceoffs.
Ross, an impressive 6 feet 4 and 260 pounds, explained that he and his teammates moved the ball well.
"We got motivation from Coach, too," he said. "At the half, he told us to reach out, grab and pull this one out. And we did."