Boys Varsity Lacrosse Repels Lexington Wildcats Fourth-Quarter Comeback Run to Preserve Win 14-13
By Jim Irvin
On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, the Falcons were headed into what was sure to be one of the toughest games of the season. Lexington is a high-caliber team that had throttled multiple opponents by one or more goals. Heading into the game, it was unclear whether Flora’s highest offensive producers, Sam Duffie and William King, would play because both had been ill over the weekend and had missed Monday’s practice. They both suited up, but it remained to be seen whether they were ready to play. Adding to the challenge, Flora was playing on Lexington’s home turf, replete with 6-foot high posters of each Lexington player, Moms with their son’s numbers emblazoned in blue glitter on the fronts and backs of white t-shirts, and a highly vocal fan base. This, combined with the Wildcats players, who chanted, yelled, and screamed incessantly throughout the game, made it an especially challenging environment. This loyal fan base never gave up on their Wildcats throughout the game, and apparently with good reason. They became louder as the second half progressed, and the Wildcats made their run at the highly ranked Flora Falcons.
But the Falcons ignored all of this out of the gate and came ready to play. They were fired up as the game began, but both teams played to a draw until Sam Duffie drew first blood, scoring unassisted at the 8:52 mark. Apparently, he was not too sick to work his magic around the goal. But one minute, six seconds later, Lexington’s #6 found #17 open in front of the goal, and the Wildcats tied it up. Then, with 5:40 to go in the quarter, JT Irvin dodged right, then went left and cranked one to put the Falcons up 2-1. At 2:59, the Wildcats responded to tie the game. With 1:23 left in the 1st, Graf found Wall, who put the Falcons up 3-2. Forty-one seconds later, Duffie found Jack Sparrow open on the left side of the goal, who quick-sticked one in to put the Falcons up 4-2 with :42 left in the 1st. Then, with :17 left in the first, William King hit Sam Duffie with a pass that Duffie put in to widen the gap to three. Apparently, Duffie and King were well enough to do their thing, and the first quarter ended with the Falcons up 5-2. It was a little quieter in the Wildcat bleachers. But not for long.
The Falcons had been having trouble solving the face-off equation during the first quarter. Lexington’s #22 was proving tough to beat. JT Irvin had won one and lost one, and Mac Overbay, who usually dominates opponents at faceoff, was having trouble with Lexington. Mac’s tenacity and ability to stay in the fray and come out with the ball even after Lexington won the clamp was keeping the Falcons in the game, but the faceoff problem continued to nip at the Falcons’ heels as the game went on.
The Wildcats wasted no time in the second quarter, narrowing the margin to 5-3 twenty-six seconds in. At 8:33, William King found Jack Sparrow, who blasted a shot to make it 6-3. At 5:36, Lexington #7 blew past several Falcon defenders to regain the two-goal margin, making it 6-4. At 4:17, the Falcons dynamic duo was at it again, with Duffie finding William King, who quick-sticked a goal to make it 7-4. Then, at 3:23, Patrick Searcy hit Duffie with a pass that he cranked from the right side to make it 8-4. Apparently understanding that every goal would be important in this game, William King scored unassisted with :53 left in the half to make it 9-4. This only seemed to fire the Wildcats up, their fans got louder and their players got faster, and with three seconds left in the half, the Wildcats narrowed the margin to four, making it 9-5. This was a sign of things to come. Lexington was not going away.
Things got unlucky for the Falcons, when Lexington #13 scored at the 9:20 mark, making it 9-6 as the second half begun. Jack Sparrow restored the margin a minute later with an unassisted goal at 8:19, making it 10-6. Then, Lexington mounted their run, scoring at the 6:45 mark, then again at 4:08, to make it 10-8 as the 3rd quarter drew to a close. The Lexington fan base and players erupted into a sustained and fearsome display of enthusiasm that made it clear that they believed the momentum had changed and the second half would be theirs. But the Falcons had started to solve the face-off equation, with JT Irvin going 3 for 4 in the third quarter against Lexington’s #22. And, at the 1:20 mark, William King beat two defenders on the left side to crash the goal and score unassisted to make it 11-8. Despite this, the Lexington fans and players continued their battle cry, making it clear that they believed they could take this one away from the Falcons as the fourth quarter started.
A word about the defense: Charlie King was back, and along with Geddings Crawford, DJ Frazier, Zamir Walters, Xavier Pearson, and Bryant McGowan and made the Wildcats work for every goal. And, their effective stick work and clears kept the Wildcats off balance most of the game.
Forty-four seconds into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats struck, making it 11-9. Less than a minute later, they struck again, making it 11-10 at the 10:48 mark. The Wildcat battle cry was deafening. And now it was more important than ever for the Falcons to solve the face-off problem because when you’re losing face-offs, it becomes a make-it, take-it game, and that’s what come-from-behind wins are made of. The Falcons needed to put a stop to that. So, as JT Irvin headed to midfield to take the faceoff among the deafening Wildcat faithful and chants for Lexington player #22 Da-da-bo! Da-da-bo! Irvin seemed to hear only the whistle, as he beat Lexington’s #22 to the clamp. But, as Irvin flipped the ball from the ground to the air to grab it and get moving, a Lexington player saw the opportunity and stole the ball mid-air to mount a Lexington attack. But it failed, and one-minute five seconds later, Craig Wall scored again for the Falcons, making it 12-10 at 9:43. Irvin won the next faceoff, starting a run that ended quickly with a crucial goal by Duffie, extending the lead to 13-10 at 9:28. Irvin won the next faceoff, and three minutes later, Duffie found Jack Sparrow, and the Falcons went up 14-10 with 6:20 to go in the fourth. Things were looking up.
But then, on two successive fast breaks, the Wildcats narrowed the gap to two, scoring at the 2:43 and 2:20 mark, making it 14-12. Irvin won the next face off, but it was not enough. Lexington narrowed the gap to one goal at the 1:35 mark, making it 14-13. The Lexington fans and players now were fired up, and chanting Da-da-bo! as Irvin faced off against #22. Again, Irvin won the clamp and the ball, but the possession was short lived. Lexington got the ball and mounted a quick run down the field that resulted in a point-blank shot fired at the 1 minute mark, but goalie JZ Siokos was there to stop it and preserve the Falcon’s one-goal margin. Then, thirty seconds later, the Wildcats had another opportunity off of a fast break, firing the game-tying shot from an unstoppable five feet at the :30 mark. But, Siokos was there again, making the crucial save that preserved the Falcons’ win. So, two crucial saves in the last minute of the game allowed the Falcons to hold on for the win. And so it ended, with the Lexington Wildcats never giving up; they went down shooting into the last minute. But, the Falcons kept their heads and won another tester against an accomplished program.