Fake low and shoot high.
Glenelg has run a drill at practice every day for the last three weeks that ends with just that: a fake shot low, finish high. It was all in preparation for Monday’s game against Marriotts Ridge and its star goalie Colin Kelley in a win-or-go-home playoff game.
The Doughty brothers studied the scout and in a 2A South region semifinal executed it to perfection with the season on the line. Michael, rushing toward the right side of goal, found Kevin all alone on the other side. He faked low, shot high and buried the game-winning goal in overtime to lift the Gladiators to a 6-5 road victory over the defending 2A state champion Mustangs.
“Kevin was playing over top and the guy went underneath,” said Michael Doughty, who scored three goals and assisted two to his brother. “Kevin ran his progressions and was on the backside pipe. That’s where they slid from and he faked low and shot high, just like we practice.”
“He made my job easy. He did all for me,” Kevin Doughty said. “That’s my brother.”
Glenelg coach Josh Hatmaker never saw it. Among the chaos, he had to ask who scored. The moment, however, has been a year in the making for a Glenelg (10-6) team that lost six straight games during the regular season, including one in overtime to Marriotts Ridge (14-2). Hope was never lost, Hatmaker said, because another meeting and a chance to avenge last year’s devastating double overtime-defeat to its rival was just about written in stone.
“I think it’s a pretty big testament to what these guys have been through,” he said. “We could have easily gone in the tank and the guys never did. ... Quite literally we’ve been thinking about this game for a year. We talked about it in our preseason meeting; we talked about it after the first game. It’s similar to what Marriotts Ridge went through when they lost in the regular season last year, that we’ve got another shot.”
It’s the third straight meeting and fourth of the last five between the two teams that has been decided in overtime. The Mustangs (14-2) won the regular season meeting, 7-6, and last year’s 2A South region semifinal by the same score in double overtime. The last four seasons, whichever team won the regular season meeting lost at home in the playoffs later that year.
Marriotts Ridge coach Tony Incontrera struggled to find the right words to describe the feeling of his team after their season came to a sudden end. The Mustangs won their second county title in three years and entered the night on an 11-game winning streak but ultimately came up one stop short of having a chance to defend their state title.
“Throughout the year we made stops when we needed to make stops,” Incontrera said. “I guess we didn’t do a good job prepping for what they like to do. They run that play a lot and we should’ve spent more time at practice reviewing where we need to be.”
While the Doughty brothers teamed up to end it, the outcome wouldn’t have been possible without faceoff specialist Mason Davis. He won nine of 14 draws, none more important than the one in overtime to give Glenelg the only possession of the extra session. Davis did just enough to allow Michael Doughty to scoop the ball on the wing.
“The faceoff was huge,” Hatmaker said. “Mason Davis played his [butt] off.”
The early stages off the game were tilted heavily in the Mustangs’ favor. Tommy Ruddo (hat trick) and Jake Levey scored 2 minutes, 12 seconds apart to make it 2-0, while the Gladiators had turnovers on their first five possessions. Eric Gruber kept them in it early with a strike with 2:59 left in the first quarter, but two more goals from Ruddo and John Miller put Marriotts Ridge in front, 4-1.
The first Michael-to-Kevin connection cut the deficit to two, and just 19 seconds later Michael Doughty scored his first of three goals to make it a one-goal game at the half.
The pace of the game slowed in the second half while the intensity grew. The nervousness in the stadium was evident after Michael Doughty tied the game with 3:05 left in the third quarter and grew tangible after Ruddo and the Mustangs reclaimed the lead before the start of the final quarter.
But, just as he has done all season, Michael Doughty carried the load. The senior and only player in Howard County with at least 40 goals and 35 assists once again tied the score — this time at five — with the only fourth-quarter goal with 6:16 showing on the clock.
Then he let younger brother Kevin have his moment within the first minute of overtime.
“I’ve had enough yelling at him,” Michael Doughty said. “It’s time to start cheering for him.”
Glenelg (10-6) — 6, Marriotts Ridge (14-2) — 5 (OT)
2A South region semifinal
Goals: G — Michael Doughty 3, Kevin Doughty 2, Eric Gruber 1; MR — Tommy Ruddo 3, Jake Levey 1, John Miller 1
Assists: G — M. Doughty 2, Ryan Hopkins 1; MR — None
Saves: G — John Kennedy 12; MR — Colin Kelley 5
Halftime: 4-3, Marriotts Ridge