N. Harford captures region title

May 18, 1994|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Sun Staff Writer

Keith Smith doesn't remember much about the earlier Fallston game, but he got one to remember last night, leading No. 2 seed North Harford (10-4) past the top-seeded Cougars, 8-2, in the Class 1A-2A North regional championship game.

It marked the first time North Harford had beaten Fallston in three years and although it was No. 2 seed beating No. 1, it was not a major upset. Two of the best teams in Harford County, they had played evenly the first time until Smith departed. Last night, he tipped the scales North Harford's way.

Smith, a junior, received a mild concussion in the opening minute of the regular-season matchup and did not return to a game won by Fallston, 8-6.

The Cougars went on to finish the regular season unbeaten for a second straight year and added a regional win for an 11-0 record entering the game.

This time Smith was around for the whole game, finishing with three goals and one assist.

"He's our leader," coach John Grubb said. "He leads by example, gets the ground balls, wants the ball in tough situations. It's nice to have that money in your pocket."

Fallston opened and closed in a brief span of the first quarter when C. J. Lauer gave the home team a 2-0 margin.

Jason Bellamy and Smith scored in the second quarter for a 2-2 halftime tie.

Jon Wright broke the tie in the third quarter, and the dam broke in the fourth, as four players accounted for five goals.

The North Harford defense frustrated the high-scoring Fallston attack, with Jay Heil, Nick Thompson, and Mike Weller working in front of Kevin Bandy, who kept the home side at bay with 16 saves.

"Another key was our faceoff man, Jay James," Grubb said. "He dominated them, and it helped us control the situation. We've been talking about coming together as a team for six weeks, and it finally happened."

The Hawks start two seniors on attack and two on defense, and Heil, one of the latter, said, "I've been on the varsity three years and this is the first time we've beaten Fallston.

"We've had trouble winning the big ones in the past, but this gets us where we belong."

Fallston defender Kernan Kelly, who did a good job against the Hawks' Wright, said of Smith: "He has speed, and is great on ground balls. He's all heart. The game is heart, and they had it more."

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