His Patapsco squad had survived four close games to win last week's 2A North Region crown, and coach Dave Ingle wondered what it would do for an encore.
He got his answer in last night's 2-1 overtime semifinal victory over Bethesda-Chevy Chase on a muddy Catonsville Community College field. Scoring both goals was sophomore Mike Brown, who entered with just two goals and an assist.
"I had been joking with a teammate before the game that I would score," said Brown, who scored the game-winner with 4:47 left in the first 10-minute overtime period. "We both laughed."
But it was a serious win that puts No. 7 Patapsco (15-2-1) in Saturday's noon title game at Old Mill against Wilde Lake, a 1-0 winner over Parkside. Patapsco, in the semifinals for the first time since 1984, is making its second state title game appearance since winning in 1977.
Ingle and assistant coach Jeff Chopper have grown accustomed to scenarios such as last night's, when Patapsco produced despite being out-shot, 29-9. Last week, the Patriots registered consecutive shootout wins, won a third game, 4-3, and the title game, 2-1, after trailing, 1-0, at halftime.
Last night, Patriots keeper Mike Griffith (23 saves) got plenty of support from his defense of sweeper Josh Campbell, Wayne Brooks, Chris LeBrun, Jeff Fisher and John Sobczak. Brooks and Keith Artley shadowed B-CC's star player, 6-foot-3 Mark Lewis (10 goals), stripping him of the ball when Griffith wasn't smothering it at his feet.
The Barons (9-6-1) got only David Sampson's game-tying penalty kick with 16 minutes left in regulation.
Last night, striker Dino Pusinsky's injured right hamstring forced him to leave 30 seconds into the game, only to return, hobbling, to assist on the game-winning goal with his ailing leg.
Pusinsky (nine goals, 13 assists) re-entered with five minutes left in regulation. His team had been out-shot, 3-0, in overtime when he received Don Smith's throw-in with his back to the goal.
Pusinsky first-timed the ball over his head and three Barons defenders to Brown, who had a defender at his back. Brown one-timed a right-footer into the net's far corner past diving keeper Nicholas LaPorta (three saves).
Brown converted his first goal 11:05 before halftime, deflecting it off the far post after midfielder Heath Adkins (15 goals, five assists) deposited Mike Mossmiller's throw-in near him in the box.
"It's hard to believe," said Griffith, his uniform dark with mud. "Our heart wins 'em, and the unlikeliest people come through."