The Hereford boys soccer team swarmed its goalie, Michael Warns, in a show of support moments after the Bulls dropped an emotional, 1-0 decision to Northern-Calvert in a Class 3A state semifinal Saturday night at CCBC-Essex.
Warns was in goal despite his father dying unexpectedly Friday. He wanted to play because he said his father, whose name was also Mike but everyone called "Jerry," would have wanted it that way.
Andrew Garner scored on a penalty kick in the 69th minute to win it for Northern (17-1), which plays fifth-ranked Reservoir for the state title this week at UMBC.
The Bulls (12-4-2) were seeking a return trip to the state finals.
"It was a well-fought game," Hereford coach Mike Lacko said. "Both teams put it all out. It was very, very emotional."
Many of the Bulls played for the elder Warns at the rec level, and they wore t-shirts in their pre-game warm-ups with the words "For Jerry" emblazoned across their chests.
No. 5 Reservoir 3, Linganore 0: Reservoir got off to a quick start in the other Class 3A semifinal against Linganore, getting a goal from Colin Bonner 10 minutes into the game.
The Gators then were able to dictate play with Jake Coccio and Bonner adding insurance goals in the second half at CCBC-Essex.
The Gators' Ryan Konstanzer set up the first goal when his long throw-in found Bonner on the near post. Reservoir (14-3-2) wasted little time adding to the lead in the second half, as Coccio slotted in a pass from another throw-in by Konstanzer in the 43rd minute. Bonner scored again six minutes later to put the game out of reach.
Linganore finished the season 12-5-2.