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Fauquier boys win on Kettle Run’s lacrosse field for first time

Thursday, Apr. 24 | By Jeff Malmgren
Briar Thomas and the Fauquier Falcons upset Kettle Run, 9-7, Thursday. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
The cheering Fauquier crowd grew louder with every Kettle Run defender than slammed into Alex Ramey but failed to dislodge the ball.

It was a 30-second crescendo as Ramey ran up the lacrosse field until time expired in the fourth quarter to give the Fauquier Falcons a 9-7 upset victory Thursday over Kettle Run in Nokesville. He left six Cougars in his wake during that final possession, illustrating perfectly Fauquier’s control of the ball throughout the night.

“We played most of the game on defense, and it’s tough,” Kettle Run coach Scott Begley said. “Mentally it wears you down.”

Fauquier finally exploited the Cougars’ defense with a 4-0 run midway through the second half and took a lead as large as 9-5.

Prior to Thursday, the Falcons had only beaten Kettle Run twice since the Cougars’ program began in 2009. In fact, Kettle Run had never previously lost to the Falcons on its home field.

“This has been probably one of the most hyped-up games on our schedule,” Fauquier goalie Devon Webb said. “So it’s pretty crazy.”

“This game is always personal and I guess that fired us up,” Fauquier defenseman Kenny Palmer said.

The Falcons hope that game will also spark an improvement in the rest of their season. The Cougars (5-2 overall, 3-0 Battlefield Zone) entered Thursday with only one loss after beginning the season on a 5-0 run, while Fauquier (2-3, 2-2) had won only one game.

The teams played Thursday like their records were reversed.

“Hopefully it’ll carry over,” Palmer said. “We play like this, we’ll have a very good road ahead.”

Fauquier pulled away from Kettle Run by capitalizing on a series of late Cougars penalties.

Neither team led by more than one goal until Andrew Bierman scored off a Dom Scott assist with 11 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. It was a man-up goal created by a one-minute penalty in the third period that carried over to the fourth.

“That’s how you play lacrosse,” Palmer said. “You get a penalty [situation], you’ve got to take advantage of it.”

The Falcons did that frequently. They scored their final three goals with a man-up advantage.

Kettle Run committed only one penalty during first 35 minutes of the game, so it entered halftime in a 3-3 tie and trailed only 6-5 at the end of the third quarter. The Cougars, however, committed four penalties over the final 13 minutes of the game.

“They know better than that, especially with some of these calls,” Begley said.

Regardless, Kettle Run’s defense played well most of the night, sliding effectively and holding Fauquier scoreless during the first 11 minutes of the game. The Cougars faced plenty of pressure from Fauquier’s offense, though.

The Falcons finished with 35 shots to Kettle Run’s 21. While the Cougars’ possessions often ended after one shot, the Falcons frequently controlled the ball for multiple attempts.

“We fought hard for every ball that hit the ground and came up with a lot of them,” Fauquier coach Eric Morrison said. “That gave us a lot of second-shot opportunities.

“If you have possession and get that momentum going … it kind of deflates” the opponent, he said. “We’ve certainly been on the receiving end of it so we know the feeling, and we know how hard it is to come back.”

Fauquier’s defense allowed a pair of meaningless goals in the final 2:12 but otherwise held the Kettle Run offense in check.

“We had really hard practices on defense – just working on the slide packages,” Webb said. “We diagramed a couple of their formations from the games we’ve seen.”

Tyler Jones led Kettle Run with three goals and an assist, while Tate Donaldson added two assists and a goal. Scoring one goal each were Mario Chambers, Colson Jaynes and Morgan Ledden.

The Cougars entered Thursday averaging 13 goals per game, making Fauquier’s defensive performance even more impressive.

“The people they put on their offense, there’s not one guy who can’t put the ball in the net,” Palmer said.

During one Kettle Run man-up possession, the Falcons’ coaching staff told Fauquier’s defenders to identify which Cougars were the biggest threats to score.

“They were like, ‘Call out the shooters,’” Webb said. “We’re like, ‘They’re all shooters.’”

Ledden and Tate Donaldson lead Kettle Run with 18 goals each this season, but the Cougars had only one other double-digit scorer entering the game Thursday.

“On paper we look good” averaging 13 goals per game, Begley said. “We’ve been scoring a lot of goals, but we’ve been getting lucky.”

Webb helped limit the Cougars’ production Thursday with nine saves while the likes of Palmer, Travis Biskup, Tyler Bane and Bailey Culver anchored Fauquier’s defense.

Webb’s most impressive save came with 4:07 remaining in the second quarter and the score tied, 2-2. A Kettle Run attackman broke through the Fauquier defense for a rare point-blank opportunity, but Webb caught the high shot. The Falcons then cleared the ball and Brett Brunsink scored less than a minute later to give Fauquier its first lead.

“When you can come up with a stuff like that and turn the momentum and get a goal out of that, it’s big,” Morrison said. “The kids were already fired up coming in here. Anything that you can do to ignite that [further] is great.”

Robert Morrison led Fauquier with three goals, while Brunsink had two. Tim Wright added one goal and one assist while Scott had two assists. Adding one goal each were Austin Bane, Ramey and Bierman.

Ramey, of course, also had that impressive final run up field to run out the clock.

“He took a beating out there” all night, Eric Morrison said. “He took quite a few hits and came through.”

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