TOWSON — Trailing the entire game and by as many as five goals late in the third quarter, a championship seemed to be slipping away from the Indian Creek boys lacrosse team.
A three-goal run narrowed the deficit to just two heading to the fourth quarter, where Indian Creek took control and rallied for a 15-13 victory over Annapolis Area Christian School in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Associatiton C Conference championship game at Towson University. Indian Creek won its third championship in five years after winning back-to-back titles in 2014-2015.
Sammy Carter scored six of his seven goals in the second half, including three during an 8-1 run over the final 15 minutes, 37 seconds.
“A couple goals, then the whole team just started rolling,” said Carter, who started the run with back-to-back goals late in the third. “Really it was all our seniors’ leadership making us keep our heads up the whole time and never thinking we were going to lose it.”
When Annapolis Area Christian School’s Ben Sturgell scored with 3:37 left in the third, the lead was five for the third time in the game. Carter’s two goals cut the lead to 12-9 with 18 seconds left in the third, then Langston Sheppard scored with eight seconds left to make it a two-goal game heading to the fourth.
Indian Creek (14-5) carried the momentum into the opening minutes of the fourth and finaly caught AACS with a goal from Carter at the 10:52 mark. Indian Creek took its first lead nearly a minute later on a goal from Michael Troese. AACS broke its eight-minute scoring drought and tied the game on a goal from Mason Fortlage, but Indian Creek went up for good on a goal from Sam Homick with 6:32 left.
Indian Creek killed off a one-minute extra man opportunity with 4:20 left, then Carter scored an insurance goal with 50 seconds left.
“All I knew is we had to play better,” Indian Creek coach Jason Werner said. “Once we played together and a little bit harder, I knew things would start to go our way, and luckily for us they did. A couple guys put the team on their backs and Sammy wasn’t going to be denied.”
Sheppard finished with four goals, Homick had two goals and three assists and Troese (10 ground balls) and Jonah Amin each had a goal and an assist. Ronan Fanning recorded an assist and Shaun Gerety stopped five shots for Indian Creek, which lost to AACS by eight goals when the teams first met early in the season. Indian Creek won the second meeting in overtime on May 8.
“We’re a completely different team than we were in March,” Werner said. “We knew that we could challenge for a championship, and there were times during the season where I don’t think our guys necessarilly believed that.”
Jay Jenkins had six goals and three assists, John-Gage Collier followed with four goals and two assists, Sturgell had a pair of goals and three assists and Fortlage added a goal for AACS (14-4).
Cole Vazquez, one of just two seniors along with Jenkins, stopped 16 shots.
“It was a great game. It was the kind of championship game you want to see,” AACS coach Bob Sturgell said. “Lacrosse is really a game of runs. Teams get up by three, four or five goals, and next thing you know the other team scores three, four or five goals. It’s a momentum game, and they came through at the right time.”
The conference championship on Friday is the second of the week for Indian Creek following the baseball team’s victory on Tuesday.
“It means a lot,” Carter said. “When other sports do well it brings a lot of attention to the school and shows how involved everyone in the school is.”
Indian Creek (14-5) 2 2 6 5 — 15
AACS (14-4) 2 5 5 1 — 13