Patapsco coach Dave Ingle hopes he runs out of ways to describe his team's character before his Patriots run out of ways to win.
The No. 7 Patriots (14-2-1) -- winners of their first two playoff games by shootout, and their semifinal, 4-3 -- yesterday overcame a 1-0 deficit with two second-half goals to win the Class 2A North crown, 2-1, over visiting North Harford.
Patapsco next faces an undetermined opponent in Saturday night's state semifinals at South Hagerstown High.
"This team repeatedly rises to the competition," said Ingle after the Patriots beat a team that had won two straight by shootout. Patapsco striker Dino Pusinsky tied the game in magnificent fashion, his wind-aided corner kick curling in unassisted 13 minutes into the second half.
"It was like the wind had some magic to it," said Pusinsky, who was shadowed by defender Josh Waskey.
North Harford keeper Brock Jourdan (13 saves) was screened on the play by two of the Patriots' taller players, 6-foot-2 Mike Mosmiller and 6-3 Josh Campbell.
"They had their big men on me. I got a hand on the ball, but the wind took it in," said Jourdan.
Three minutes later, Patapsco led for good. Capitalizing on a defensive miscue between Jourdan and a defender, Mosmiller smacked Jourdan's deflection of a Pusinsky shot into an empty goal.
"Our sweeper thought I had called him off," Jourdan said. "I got a foot on the first shot, but it rolled out to the 18 to an unmarked guy."
Moments after shanking one to the right of the goal from eight yards, the No. 15 Hawks' Mike Renfrow cashed in during the 19th minute. Renfrow banged in the second of two deflected shots past grounded keeper Mike Griffith (11 saves) for a 1-0 lead.
But it was Griffith who kept the Patriots in the game early and late. During the game's first 15 minutes, Griffith stopped two attempts by Phil Gilotte, and others by Chris Roberts and Renfrow. And twice in the game's waning moments, Griffith stretched himself along the ground to strip the ball from opponents' feet.
Once, however, Griffith had to be rescued by sweeper Campbell. A keeper for his club team, the Columbia United, Campbell used his left foot to stop a shot.
The teams were nearly even statistically. Patapsco had an edge (19-18) in shots-on-goal. North Harford (11-4) trailed in shots, 15-7, for the second half, but out-shot Patapsco, 11-4, in the first.
* Sparrows Point 7, Rising Sun 2: Joe Wilson and Sean Volz each tallied three goals and an assist, as they led Sparrows Point (10-4-1) to the Class 1A North Region championship. The Pointers advance to the state semifinals Friday against Williamsport at a site and time to be determined.
* Poolesville 1, Hereford 0: Chris Salpino scored 15:24 into the game, and Poolesville made that stand up in the Class 1A South Region championship.
Poolesville (12-3-1), which defeated Hereford (7-7-1) in the state semifinal last year, got the game-winning goal when Salpino redirected a Matt Perry pass from in front.