Boys Varsity Lacrosse Rallies from Three-Goal Deficit to Win
Nail-biter Against Socastee Braves
By Jim Irvin
On Saturday morning, March 25, 2017, I could not help thinking that it would be good if the Falcons faced an opponent that would test their resolve, give them a real challenge. That would come sooner than I imagined, as Socastee showed up ready to do just that. Flora was missing some of its starting roster, with several players being in New York City with the Flora drama program. I understand that they ended up in the same hotel with the USC Gamecocks basketball greats, and some even scored tickets to one of the two historic games that sent the Gamecocks to the Final Four, but I digress . . . . Socastee had played a game the night before, so they were expected to be tired, maybe a little slow. Nothing could be further from the truth. Iâve said it once, and Iâll say it again â when youâre at the top, you can bet that your opponents will do all they can to take you down. And, thatâs exactly what Socastee did. While the Falcons were fired up entering the field, they were stunned from the first moments of play at the speed and tenacity of the Socastee Braves. The Braves drew first blood, scoring with 6:54 to go in the first quarter. Jack Sparrow answered at the 3:59 mark, when he broke in front of the goal and Duffie fed him a pass that Sparrow put away to tie the game. Then, with 1:34 left in the 1st, JT Irvin, on the right side of the goal about 10 yards out, faked to the right, then went left, leaving his defender three steps behind and fired a right hander that put the Falcons up 2-1, and thatâs where the first quarter ended.
One minute, thirty-one seconds into the second quarter, William King recovered a ground ball in front of the goal and quick-sticked a shot to put the Falcons up 3-1 at 10:29. But, the Braves were not going away, and they scored 18 seconds later to make it 3-2 with 10:11 left in the half. Then, at 7:44, the Braves struck again tying the game. Forty-four seconds later, the Braves scored again to go up 4-3 with 7:00 to go in the half. At the 5:44 mark, Duffie fed a pass to William King, who tied it up 4-4. At 4:38, the Braves regained the lead at 5-4, but 19 seconds later, the Falcons tied it up again at 5-5 when Jack Sparrow grabbed a Braves shot that had been deflected by the Falcons defense and scored after a fast break. But the Braves took the lead again with 1:27 left in the half, and thatâs where the half ended, with the Falcons down 6-5 at the half. The Braves seemed astounded at their own play â they were supposed to be tired after playing the night before and a long bus trip to Columbia, but instead they were playing relaxed and fast, and their shots were finding the mark. In contrast, the Falcons were left a little stunned, not unlike the Baylor Bears, who had been throttled the night before by the USC Gamecocks, and the Butler Bulldogs, who had been beat handily by the Tarheels, to send both Carolinas to the Great 8. The Falcons were getting the test that I had thought, in passing, might be helpful to them. I admit that at that point, I regretted having the thought in the first place. But now the question was – How would the Falcons respond?
At halftime, the Falcons would need to regroup. Sam Duffie first gave the team a talking-to while Coach Purdy consulted with his team of coaches about what exactly needed to happen. Then, Coach Purdy delivered his half-time guidance to get the Falcons back on track. Things got off to a rocky start when less than 20 seconds into the second half, the Braves intercepted a Falcons pass, but just as quickly, William King took the ball from the Braves defender and fed it to Jack Sparrow, who tied the game 6-6 at the 11:39 mark. Then, Mac Overbay won the face-off and twenty-one seconds later, Duffie scored unassisted to put the Falcons back on top 7-6. But, twelve seconds later, the Braves tied it up again at 11:06, and thirty-seconds after that, they took the lead again, 8-7 at the 10:36 mark. In case you missed it, within the first one-minute and twenty-four seconds of the third quarter, both teams scored a combined 4 goals â the second half was off to a fast and furious start. At 8:53, the Braves scored again to go up 9-7, and it seemed as if the momentum was building behind the Braves. Would this quick succession of Braves goals and building of Braves momentum deflate the Falcons? Would the Falcons get frustrated and lose steam in the face of the Bravesâ tenacious and unexpected refusal to go away?
Both teams remained scoreless for the next three minutes and thirty seconds. Then, at the 5:23 mark, William King fed Sam Duffie a pass on the left side of the goal and Duffie cranked a left-handed low-to-high shot that slipped past the goalie, narrowing the Falcon deficit to one, 9-8. At the 2:54 mark, the same thing â King to Duffie, who tied the game, 9-9. Then, at the 2:15 mark, one of the Falconsâ shots bounced high off the crossbar, but Duffie grabbed the ball and quickly fed it to Craig Wall, who cranked an overhanded shot from 10 yards out, putting the Falcons up 10-9. Fourteen seconds later, Duffie found William King in front of the goal, who put it in to build a two-goal margin, 11-9, with 2:01 left in the 3rd. Then, forty-seven seconds later, King returned the favor, feeding Duffie another pass, and this time, Duffie cranked another blinding low-to-high shot from 10 yards out that put the Falcons up 12-9 at the end of the third quarter. Yes, the Falcons had responded. They outscored the Braves 7-3 in the third quarter to turn a one-goal deficit into a three-goal lead. That is some serious offensive horse power.
At the 9:13 mark in the 4th, the Braves narrowed the margin to two, making it 12-10. At 6:14, William King again found Sam Duffie, to take the lead back to three, 13-10. At 5:22, Blake Giles broke to the left side of the goal, leaving his defender two steps behind, and cranked a left-handed shot from a difficult angle 10 yards out, but it found the goal, to put the Falcons on top 14-10. At 4:46, William King scored unassisted to put the Falcons up 15-10. Things were looking pretty good for the Falcons at this point, but the Braves had other plans. Thirty-seven seconds later, the Braves narrowed the margin to four, making it 15-11 with 4:09 to go. Then, thirty-nine seconds later, the Braves scored again, making it 15-12 with 3:25 to go. One minute thirty-eight seconds later, the Braves scored again, narrowing the margin to three with 1:47 to go. But, thatâs where it ended. The Falcons were able to control possession for most of the last 1:47 of the game and hold on to their lead to win the game.
The Falcons had been tested, and they responded. They next play Lexington High School, a high caliber program, on Lexingtonâs home turf on Tuesday, March 28 at 7:15 p.m.