"We're No. 1. We felt we deserved it and all we had to do was prove it."
Thus spoke Dulaney defenseman Dan Evans and, off the Lions' convincing 13-4 victory over North County for the state Class 4A/3A championship Saturday at UMBC, few had an argument.
Dulaney finished the season 11-0. In fact, it had not lost since bowing to Arundel in the state regional finals of 1988. Saturday's victory was a "three-peat" effort and Evans had a simple explanation why the Lions' defense had largely gone unnoticed all spring.
"We were not challenged much all year, but we get to face the best offense around, every day in practice," he said. "Even after North County scored two goals, we felt like they were sort of a fluke and we didn't get down."
Dulaney took a 5-1 lead in the second quarter as Tim Speno got his second goal on a fastbreak assist from Chris Steer, but the Knights pulled within 5-3 before Damon Scordo took control of the Dulaney attack. Before the intermission, he assisted Clark Ledbetter and scored unassisted for a 7-3 advantage.
Scordo then added two more goals in the third period and had three in the fourth period for a six-goal, one-assist performance.
"We got our fastbreak together. Once I stuck the first one, I knew we had them," said Scordo. "Coach [Gary] Schreiber got me aside and told me to concentrate on moving my feet.
He said he wanted me moving more across the crease and using my inside roll. He gave me the incentive.
"We had to prove we deserved The Evening Sun ranking us No. 1. It's not our fault we're stuck with our [Baltimore County] schedule."
The coaches' poll, published weekly by The Sun, had Dulaney behind several MSA A Conference teams all season.
"We have a good team and it showed," said Schreiber. "Our two attackmen [Scordo and Ledbetter] just needed to get into better position to score and, once they did, we pulled away."
Dulaney's defensive rides clearly rattled North County early and the defensive pressure in the half-field situations had the Knights trying to attack from 35 yards.
Schreiber admitted once the Lions got the lead, he pulled his defense back to a tighter formation to jam the crease.
In that close quarters, Evans seemed to be in the middle of North County's attack, repeatedly intercepting passes and batting down shots.
"Evans was incredible," said Schreiber. "Our goalie [Craig Laferty] only had 34 saves all season. That's the kind of job Evans, Chris Fedor, Brian Shorts and Craig Laferty did for us."
The Lions lose 14 seniors to graduation, but will reload for next season with lots of talent off the junior varsity county champions.