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Scott’s late goal lifts Falcons over Cougars, 7-6, and into boys lacrosse regionals

Friday, May. 23 | By Brandon Hartman
When Fauquier junior Dom Scott found the back of the net after executing a quick spin move with one minute, 40 seconds still on the clock to give his Falcons a 7-6 lead, few fans at Thursday's Battlefield Group semifinal thought this match was over.

After all, the Falcon and Kettle Run boys lacrosse teams had answered each other goal for goal all evening, so a late Cougar strike to tie things up seemed almost a lock.

But an epic overtime never materialized as the Falcons held on for yet another victory over the Cougars.

“It was everything we thought the game would be,” said Fauquier coach Eric Morrison, whose team advanced to the Battlefield Group championship against top-seeded Culpeper. “Both teams came out prepared and it was the nail biter that we have seen all season long between the two of us.”

Fauquier improved to 7-4 by defeating the Cougars for the third time this year. The loss ended Kettle Run's season at 9-4.

This tight match, fought to the very end, was expected. Fauquier had beaten the Cougars 11-10 and 9-7 in the regular season.

Nevertheless, Morrison and the Falcons came into this road game as the No. 3 seed (to Kettle Run's No. 2) and adopted an underdog mentality.

“It is tough to beat a team three times in one season, especially a team like Kettle Run. In a way we were the underdogs, coming into their stadium as the lower seed, trying to win for a third time,” said Morrison. “We fell behind early but we came back strong. That is credited to the kids. They fought back and deserve to have won this game.”

Fauquier fell behind early, but never let the deficit get out of reach.

From a 3-3 tie, the Cougars pushed ahead 5-3 at intermission by dominating possession the last five minutes of the half.

The Falcons left the field undoubtedly concerned with their heads bowed. That's when coach Morrison and senior defensive captain Kenny Palmer rallied the troops at halftime.

“I just wanted to give the team a reminder. We’ve beaten this team twice, we should be up,” said Palmer, who had stood in the middle of his team at halftime and emphatically preached that it was just a two goal deficit.

“We were letting up and having problems on defense, so I tried to get the backline back together. We’ve played against these guys from Kettle Run for four years now, me and (teammate) Travis Biskup, and we have wanted to move past them in the playoffs every year. This was obviously our year and two goals down at halftime was nothing,” Palmer said.

Judging by the Falcons' third period performance, Palmer’s pep talk worked.

The Falcons came out of the half furiously trying to get back into the game, heaving shots at Cougar keeper James Stumpo and working to gain the upper edge in possession.

Goals from juniors Scott and Briar Thomas did the damage for the Falcons and won them the quarter, and tying the game at 5-5 heading into the fourth.

Momentum had swung in the Falcons' direction, an obvious sign as sophomore Brett Brunsink gave the Falcons' a 6-5 lead with eight minutes to go.

That goal led to a nervous six minute period of both teams trying to push the tempo and find the back of the net, with Fauquier trying to extend the lead and the Cougars trying to tie it.

Kettle Run midfielder Mario Chambers decided to throw a change up into proceedings with just two minutes on the clock.

The tall junior battled for and scooped up a loose ball in front of his own net before setting off into a full out gallop down the field, running past several Falcons in his burst forward.

A quick pass to a teammate on his left was followed by an immediate pass back across the goal to the stick of senior Morgan Ledden, who put the ball into the net past a wrong footed Devon Webb in goal. The entertaining goal came in the blink of an eye to tie things up 6-6.

Kettle Run's euphoria was quickly dampened.

With KRHS fans still celebrating Ledden's thrilling strike, Fauquier marched down field and grabbed the lead back thanks to Scott.

Scott received the ball in front of a crowded Cougars' goal, spun around a defender, left his feet and flicked the ball into the net, stunning the Kettle Run players and fans.

For Scott it was a feeling of great joy. For Cougar coach Scott Begley and his team it was heartache.

“It feels great to have scored such a big goal," said Scott. "My teammates put me in a great position. To beat Kettle Run twice is amazing, we just came out with a lot of energy and fought for it.”
For Kettle Run, knowing three of the four losses were to FHS was a tough pill to swallow — especially seeing the year end without a region playoff spot.

“We knew the game would be close, just not this close," said Begley. "Our team has come a long way from last season and have grown up and matured a lot this year.

"We have a young team and will be strong next year. The Donaldsons (brothers Tate and Adam) did excellently this year and are very exciting. Chambers really showed me out there tonight that he has so much heart and next year he will be even better. James Stumpo did a great job in goal as well, and two juniors, Zach Kersey and Colin Kratzer, have shown they can be great varsity players. We have a lot to look forward too. We will miss the seniors leaving us though, I wish them the very best.”

The Falcons will be playing for revenge against Culpeper on Tuesday (May 27), after falling to them 9-8 earlier in the season and again last week.

“We want Culpeper,” said coach Morrison with a grin. “They beat us twice and it was a close one last week. Our boys are going to be amped up for sure.”

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