A year ago Mount Hebron's Ben Savage missed the season after breaking his leg in the first game.
Yesterday the senior attackman scored the winning goal with one second left in the third three-minute, sudden-death overtime as the No. 11 Vikings upset sixth-ranked Centennial, 10-9.
Savage, unguarded, took a pass across the crease from attackman Jeremy DeSor and fired a 10-foot shot by Centennial goalkeeper Brian Carr. DeSor had snagged a deflected pass to set up the play.
"This is one of the happiest days of my life," DeSor said. "Our home crowd gave us an advantage, our goalkeeper [Brian Lea] stood out toward the end and our defense took the ball away."
Centennial (9-2 overall, 3-1 league) built a 9-5 lead midway through the third quarter after leading 6-3 at halftime, but the Eagles went the final 24 minutes without scoring.
Mount Hebron (8-1, 4-0) tied it, 9-9, on Dan Carver's goal with 24 seconds left in regulation. Scott Baughman made the assist. The Vikings got off two more shots in the final 24 seconds but Carr saved both.
"We spent all last week working really hard and concentrating totally on Centennial and it paid off," said Carver.
The Vikings had pulled to within 9-8 on three straight goals by Greg Lee (assist Savage), Terrence Buckley (assist Baughman) and Damon Cuzmanes in the final four minutes of the third period.
"If we kept it close I thought we could win. We kept our composure when we got down, 9-5," Mount Hebron coach Warren Michael said. "Our midfield depth showed. We wore Centennial down. Our second and third midfields and our long- pole defense played well."
Mount Hebron displayed offensive depth, as eight players scored a goal. Savage and Carver had two apiece.
The three overtime periods were filled with twists and turns that kept the crowd of 600 fans on the edge of their seats. Each team had many chances to win.
David Saunders nearly won it for Centennial in the closing minute of the third overtime, but Lea made a brilliant save on his bounce shot. Seconds before that shot Centennial's Joe Lowrance unleashed a shot that bounced over the goal.
Early in the third overtime Carr made a terrific save with his body on a shot by DeSor. Carr (11 saves) also made two saves in the closing seconds of regulation.
"This was a great lacrosse game," Michael said. "Savage is a big offensive threat for us and we missed him last season."
Mount Hebron lost twice to Centennial last season -- each time by three goals. The two teams likely will meet again in the regional playoffs.
"I think it came down to the fact that we won only four of 23 faceoffs and Mount Hebron had 60 ground balls to our 51," Centennial coach Mike Siegert said. "We gave them too many opportunities, especially in the third quarter when they had 18 ground balls to our eight."
Centennial played without its No. 1 faceoff man, Scott Bross, who was injured in a tournament last Saturday.