A late arrival did not seem to bother Sparrows Point much on Wednesday in the 1A North regional championship game.
After arriving just about 10 minutes before game time, the Pointers rolled to a 13-3 victory over host Forest Park for the program’s second straight region title.
“Playoff time is the time that kind of shows our time in 1A Baltimore County kind of makes us battle-tested and ready for [the] playoffs,” Sparrows Point head coach Matthew Wickman said. “So, I’m glad that we play in 1A — we may not have an excellent record coming out of 1A every year, but I think more than anything else it tests us harder so that we’re prepared for a game like this and a region like this.”
Those battles paved the way for Sparrows Point (8-8) to get their 13 goals on Wednesday from 11 different players. Attackers Dylan Paugh, Tyler Crouse, Jeremy Smith and midfielder Matthew Merbach each finished the game with two goals. Their only goals allowed came from Forest Park’s Kevin Coats in the first quarter, Tyrin Long in the second and KaKu Tutu in the fourth.
The game, just as the rest of the season has been, was a team effort in all facets of the game.
“It shows that we really don’t have one guy that steps up and takes over in games,” Wickman said of his team’s performance. “I think our scoring was pretty spread [out] today. There wasn’t just that one player that really stood out to me. I think defensively we played pretty well.
“Our long-stick midfielder, Jake Lure — he’s probably been our rock all year. I think that showed today too, as soon as their midfielders tried to dodge. Anyone that we had him matched up on, he handled pretty well.”
Forest Park (10-4) featured a roster of just 12 players. Throughout the matchup, the Pointers used their substitutions judiciously to keep the Foresters off balance. Their fresh legs allowed them to continue pushing the ball into Forest Park’s territory and cut to the goal to finish.
Despite losing in a home regional championship matchup, Forest Park head coach Ryan Banks doesn’t feel disappointed about his team’s season — where they had the second-best record in Baltimore City.
“I’m very proud man, we always fight to the end,” Banks said. “I’ve got 12 guys — I run 12 guys basically. Maybe 11, no subs, whatever the case may be.”
Sparrows Point will face off against McDonough in the state semifinals at Havre de Grace High School on either Friday or Saturday. The Pointers don’t want to end their run with a letdown in the state semifinal.
“Our goal from the beginning of the year has been to play for a state championship,” Wickman said. “It’s a matter of just doing what we do well and running our stuff well because our boys know our stuff works and what we do works, as long as we can make it happen together.”
Reach Kyle J. Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KyleJAndrewsSun.