If North County coach Steve Malone had tried to guess which of his players would give the Knights an early lead last night, Chuck Colvin wouldn't have been his first choice.
In fact, Colvin wouldn't have been anywhere near the top of the list.
But it was Colvin, a senior halfback, who blasted in a shot from 15 yards just 2:05 into the game.
There were a few tense moments for the top-seeded Knights after that, but they managed to stay in front and claim a 3-2 victory over fourth-seeded Chesapeake in the Class 4A, East Region semifinals in Pasadena.
The Knights (12-1) will play third-seeded Severna Park in Saturday's 7:30 p.m. final. The winner advances to next week's state tournament.
Troy Hoskins and Emmanuel Uche also scored for North County, which is making its third appearance in the region finals in four years. Blake Moore and Sean Murphy each had a goal for Chesapeake (8-4-1), the latter coming with four seconds remaining.
Colvin's goal was only his second of the year. "He's been playing very well for us, but we've gotten more defense out of him than offense," said Malone.
Colvin was ahead of Chesapeake's defense when he fielded the ball.
"You live by the trap, you die by the trap," said Cougars coach Earl Eckhardt. "We didn't get the [offside] call, the kid got through and scored the goal."
North County, ranked No. 6 in the metro area, increased its lead to 2-0 at 8:56 of the second half when Hoskins dribbled the ball almost 30 yards, maneuvered around Chesapeake goalkeeper John Smith on the left wing and lined a shot into the net.
Smith had made a great save on a shot by Chris Cosentino at 3:30, and when the Knights' Peter Merrill tried to score on a rebound, Chesapeake's Fred Sporrer redirected the ball just before it crossed the line.
Sporrer set up the Cougars' first goal, with 11:59 left, when his direct kick struck the right post. The Knights tried to clear the ball, but Moore intervened and scored to reduce the lead to 2-1.
Uche was credited with his 10th goal of the season with 4:30 remaining when he took a shot from the left wing that glanced off the foot of Chesapeake's Andy Dzuiban and into the net.
"At the right times, we were playing well," Malone said. "Both teams had spurts of dominating play, and I think we got our spurts at the right time."