For most of Saturday night's Class 2A state final at UMBC, fourth-ranked Fallston appeared to have all of the answers for the high-powered offense of No. 2 Marriotts Ridge.
The Mustangs, however, kept pressing and finally broke through when Kwadwo Owusu-Boiatey headed in a corner kick from Kyle Mercer with 6:07 left in the first overtime to give Marriotts Ridge a 1-0 victory. It was the Mustangs' first state title and their 16th consecutive victory. The Mustangs have only given up five goals over that stretch.
"It was a good ball Kyle Mercer put in," Owusu-Boiatey said. "I just came up high and hit it, and, luckily, it found the back of the net. We realized it was a Golden Goal, too, and we only got one chance."
The Cougars (17-2-1) were trying to win their first title since 1992 and lost in the title game for the second consecutive year. Fallston was shut out for only the second time this season.
The teams played wide-open throughout the first half, and traded several chances. However, neither could convert and the game remained scoreless at the half.
The match became more physical in the second half; set pieces and counterattacks became crucial as the game remained deadlocked.
Nick Koutrelakos nearly gave Marriotts Ridge (18-2) the lead in the 57th minute but his shot inside the penalty area trickled just wide. Three minutes later, Patrick Sullivan threaded through the Fallston defense but his shot was stopped by Cougars goalie Pat Parrish.
"This has been our goal since Day 1, Aug. 15," Marriotts Ridge coach Kevin Flynn said. "We had a rough start to the season, where we lost two out of three. We certainly did not panic. We became more focused as the year went on. We've allowed one goal in our past 10 games."
Wade Baker appeared to give Fallston the lead with nine minutes remaining when his corner kick sailed into the corner of the goal, but the referee called a foul against the Cougars inside the penalty area.
"I thought the two teams were well evenly matched," Fallston coach Christopher Hoover said. "I thought we won the match in regulation. I have no idea what the referee called."
Marriotts Ridge controlled the first overtime, and Owusu-Boiatey struck four minutes into the extra period off the corner.
Goals: M-Owusu-Boiate. Assists: M-Mercer. Saves: M-Bovill 5; F-Parrish 7 . Half: 0-0