What was expected to be a monumental battle for Hereford's stingy defense in last night's Class 3A-2A boys lacrosse state final quickly morphed into something quite different.
A coming-out party for the Bulls' offense, which won by the largest margin in state final history.
Paced by a near record-setting performance by senior attackman Trey Hilberg, No. 13 Hereford was every bit the aggressor against high-powered Walkersville, scoring 10 goals in the first 18 minutes and rolling to a 17-5 win at UMBC.
"We can always count on our defense, but lately we've really stepped up [on offense]," Hilberg said. "I think it's just playing as a team. We're so unselfish - always looking for the next pass. We've been real successful that way."
The win gave the Bulls (15-2) their first state title since 2003 and fourth overall. It also marked the end of a 13-game winning streak for Walkersville (16-3), which had been scoring nearly 19 goals per game in the playoffs.
To do it, Hereford won the majority of ground balls, then made the most of its chances on attack.
"We knew in order to [win] we'd have to come out and dominate ground balls and control the middle of the field," Lions coach David Baldwin said. "I don't know what the ground ball count was, but it was probably 90 percent Hereford, 10 percent Walkersville. That's the difference in the game."
Hilberg, who scored his team's first three goals, finished with five goals and four assists. His nine points were one shy of an 18-year-old all-classification record for points in a state title game.
"We were all nervous on such a big stage, but getting off to that kind of start gave us the momentum," Hilberg said.
Teammate Ryan Rock also had four goals and two assists, and Rustin Bryant scored three for the Bulls, who tied a season high in goals and fell one shy of a state final record for Class 3A teams.