Howard broke Mount Hebron's five-year grip on boys lacrosse supremacy in the county with a late, six-goal surge that turned a 4-1 deficitinto a 7-4 victory over Hebron Friday night at Howard High School.
The Lions remained undefeated while handing the Vikings their firstleague loss in 40 games, dating back to the 1985 season. Hebron (1-1county, 7-2 overall) had gone undefeated against the county for fiveconsecutive seasons. Warren Michael, the Vikings' fourth-year coach,suffered his first defeat against the county after 22 straight victories.
More importantly for the Lions (2-0, 8-0), they moved into position to win their first county championship in seven years. Five gamesare left in the regular season.
"We're not going to overlook anybody. We've worked too hard for this," said Howard coach Dan Ross, who had not beaten Hebron in six years. "It's been a long drought."
Ross could have been speaking of the Lions' offense Friday night. Howard went through a horrendous drought for the first 38 minutes, which produced a single goal on 1-for-25 shooting.
But the Lions explodedfor six unanswered goals in the final 12 minutes, 18 seconds to overwhelm Hebron. The Vikings were outplayed in every phase of the game, but still nearly pulled off a victory, thanks to outstanding, man-down defense and a superb, 15-save performance by senior goalie Tom Dotsikas.
Howard senior midfielder Rick Platter led all scorers with three
goals, but it was senior attackman Scott Frye who sparked theLions down the stretch. Frye, held to one assist in the first 38 minutes, scored two goals and dished out two more assists in the Lions' decisive 6-0 run.
Senior midfielder Lamont Anderson scored two dramatic goals, both off feeds from Frye. Anderson turned a behind-the-back pass from Frye into a goal that tied the score at 4-4 with one second left in the third period. Then, he finished the scoring with 3:06 left after a 20-yard pass from Frye, who had two Hebron defenders on him behind the Vikings' goal, but still found Anderson cutting to the crease.
Junior attackman Jason Vettori and senior attackman Chris Vissers scored two goals apiece for Hebron.
"Lacrosse is such a game of momentum," said Frye. "Everything just started clicking. Wefinally scored a couple of goals, they started hanging their heads, and the momentum started going our way. I thought it was going to be a long night when it was 4-1."
Until their attack finally came alive, the Lions seemed destined for a frustrating defeat. Howard controlled the ball for most of the night, outshot the Vikings by a whopping 33-12 margin, and held a commanding 10-2 edge in faceoffs.
Hebron's offense was more productive when it got the chance to shoot, but the Vikings' possessions were stalled repeatedly by penalties. Hebronalso suffered without senior midfielder Bob Sites at full speed. Sites pulled a groin muscle in practice Thursday, and was not a factor Friday night.
"Athletically, they are real good at midfield, and that's where we needed Bobby tonight," Michael said.
"We hurt ourselves, but they beat us to ground balls all night. We had some mental breakdowns, and they took advantage of them. We've still got a lot of young kids, and we're not that good yet. I'm hoping in five weeks (playoff time), we'll be a little better. This kind of game can only help us."