Senior attackman George Ward provided the final touch on a remarkable week for the McDonogh boys lacrosse team Friday, scoring with two seconds left to secure an 8-7 win at No. 2 Boys' Latin.
The final 10 seconds were a fitting example of the No. 4 Eagles' work.
Junior goalie Evan Long made the last of his 16 saves for McDonogh, then quickly distributed the ball forward. The Eagles seamlessly worked the ball through midfield, finding senior Jack Sweeney in the attacking end. With the clock winding down, he made the extra pass in front for Ward, who put the game away.
To knock off defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champion and top-ranked Calvert Hall on Tuesday, ending the Cardinals' run of 13 straight league wins, and then hand the Lakers their first league loss took a total team effort.
The Eagles (7-4, 3-1) had it in them. Boys' Latin was impressive, with plenty of players stepping up throughout, but ultimately fell to 8-2, 3-1. After opening league play last week with a win and a loss, including a disappointing setback at St. Mary's that continued what had been an uneven season, McDonogh showed a different side against its biggest challenges yet this season.
"It was an emotionally draining week. Playing the two best teams in the league to this point, it seemed like — and I still think they are two of the best teams, for sure — it asked a lot of us," Eagles coach Andy Hilgartner said. "I said it Tuesday: What a difference in this league when you go from week to week. The St. Mary's game, we had so much negative energy, and today and on Tuesday, just a lot of positive energy."
On Ward's decisive goal, the Eagles' energy was as high as it's been all season.
"On that last goal, the defense made a great stop, and then we got it hit ahead to the middie, and Sweeney found me on the doorstep. It was a great look by him. It felt awesome. Finishing the ball at the end, going crazy, it just felt great," he said.
McDonogh needed plenty more help to edge the Lakers. Long was stellar throughout, particularly in the first quarter, when Boys' Latin dominated possession but could muster only a 2-1 lead.
Senior long-stick midfielder BJ Farrare ground out big plays in the middle for much of the game. Sophomore Dane Swanson scored three goals, giving the Eagles their first lead at 3-2, then tying the game at seven with 10:55 to play.
From there, Lakers senior goalie Chris Brandau (seven saves) made two big stops to keep the game tied before Long, Sweeney and Ward made the difference.
"One play," Boys' Latin coach Brian Farrell said of the difference in the game. "I thought both teams did an excellent job of battling and handling the ups and downs of the game. They just made one more play at the end of the game that mattered most."
Farrell said Brandau's stops in goal, midfielder Ben Smith's work for ground balls and Payton Giberson's play at the faceoff X stood out for his Lakers.