So much for a public school team defeating the St. Mary's Saints under Jim Moorhead in boys lacrosse.
Moorhead is in his 21st and final season as coach of the third-ranked Saints, and in nearly 100 games against state public school opponents, St. Mary's of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference has never lost a game.
Many thought defending 4A-3A state champion and No. 5-ranked Severna Park (9-1) would end the streak last night in Moorhead's farewell season, but the visiting Saints dominated from start to finish and dealt the Falcons an 8-2 defeat.
"It was not the game because we're in the MIAA. All this hype about Severna Park and this was the year, the year they were going to beat St. Mary's, put a lot of pressure on the kids and they handled it well," said Moorhead, savoring his team's seventh straight win to run its overall record to 9-3.
"Did the kids feel a lot of pressure because it was my last game against a public school? They sure didn't look like it."
The Saints took charge early, building a 4-0 lead in the first period. St. Mary's relentless pressure coupled with Mike Elger's stinginess on faceoffs and keeper Tillman Johnson's play set the tempo.
"It was a test for us to see how we measure up to them, and they jumped on us early, " said Severna Park defenseman David Wagner. "I don't think they were that much better than us, but for a couple minutes outplayed us."
Senior defenseman Matt Pessagno's checking and aggressive defense was a major factor along with Elger's 10-4 advantage in faceoffs, and Johnson's 20 saves, many by sheer athleticism and instinctive quickness.
Pessagno smothered the Falcons' standout midfielder Paul Gillette, who came into the game with 15 goals and 38 assists, but was shut out yesterday.
"We used three different defenses, which we had not done all year, and they never got into a flow. We moved well without the ball and took advantage of our scoring opportunities," Moorhead said.
Senior attack Justin Mullen juked defenseman David Wagner to give the Saints a 1-0 lead. Mullen then scooped up a missed shot and fed Matt White for the first of the latter's two goals for a 2-0 lead with 4: 29 left in the first period. Senior midfielders Dave Price and Thompson followed with goals to close the first period.
The Saints' midfield trio of Thompson, Price and Drew Pfarr clearly outplayed the Falcons' trio of Gillette, Mac Chase and Starke Mueller.
Attack Jerry Cornett put the Falcons on the board with about seven minutes left in the half, but it was obvious that the home team was out of sync.