Relentless Fallston High and its leader, senior Shane Dougherty, never gave visiting Havre de Grace a chance in their Class 1A, Region III boys soccer final last night.
Dougherty had a foot in all his team's goals, scoring once on a feed from Todd Paradise, converting two direct kicks and assisting on the other two in guiding the Cougars to a 5-0 victory. The effort boosted his season totals to 31 goals and nine assists.
The other Fallston goals were by Todd Morgan and Chris Luber. The decision sends Fallston (12-1-1), ranked No. 5 in The Baltimore Sun poll, into next week's state semifinals, a level it had also reached a year ago.
Havre de Grace, a state finalist two years ago, finished 8-6.
"Our first goal is to win the county title, and if we do that, we are probably playing the kind of soccer where we will do well," Fallston coach Len Petrey said.
"We work as a team, and have such a great tradition, we expect to go back to the states every year. The kids want to be there [in the state tournament]."
Said losing coach Dale Knight, "We thought we were ready. We marked Dougherty and he still had a great game, They're a good team."
Regional top seed Fallston, a 4-0 winner over Havre de Grace in the regular season, earned its place in the final with a 13-1 decision over Kent County. Fallston also won its third successive Harford County title last week. Havre de Grace advanced by defeating Perryville, 3-2, in double overtime, getting the winning goal on a penalty kick by senior Sean Smith.
The Warriors were outshot in that one, 31-6, but goalkeeper Brad Gladfelter was outstanding with 23 saves. This time, he had 10 saves, and Fallston had a 19-6 margin in shots.