The Mount Vernon boys’ lacrosse team only led Monday’s showdown with district rival Yorktown for 38 seconds. Lucky for the Majors, it happened to be the 38 seconds that matter most in the standings.
With the score tied and under 50 seconds remaining, the Majors’ Brett Kitchen curled around the Patriot goal, surveying the scene for an open teammate. An instant later, a sliver of daylight emerged and Kitchen delivered a pass to junior Brendan Doyle, who was streaking towards the net.
“It felt like the ball was in the air for five seconds,” said Doyle of the pass. “But once I got it, I knew I would finish it.”
The ensuing goal at the 38-second mark capped off a furious comeback, giving Mount Vernon an 8-7 victory in a game it trailed by three goals with just six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
But what happened after Doyle’s game-winning tally might be what those in attendance remember most. With possession of the ball for one final charge at the net, Yorktown coach Greg Beer called a timeout to set up a play. As players jogged over to the sideline, the stadium lights at Yorktown suddenly went off, leaving a pitch-black playing surface.
The stadium lights were on a timer and set to go off promptly at 9 p.m. But after a 15-minute delay, the lights came back on and the final 25 seconds of the game were completed. Once Patriot sophomore Michael Crow’s last-ditch effort fell short when he lost possession, the Majors rushed the field in celebration of a comeback victory over the team that had ended their season in the National District semifinals a year ago.
<b>ALTHOUGH THE MAJORS</b> were down at halftime for the third time in four games, they couldn’t help but be happy emerging victorious in a contest between two teams that have accounted for eight of the past nine National District championships.
“It was props to the team for showing heart and fighting back when we were down,” said Kitchen afterwards. “We dug ourselves into another hole … but we stuck with it and pulled it out against a really awesome team.”
Overlooked during all the fourth-quarter drama was a decision made by Majors coach Dale Nalls following an apparent Yorktown goal with just under 11 minutes left in the game. After the Patriots’ Nick DuBose fired a bouncing shot past Mount Vernon goalie George Ksenics, Nalls asked the officials to check DuBose’s stick since coaches are permitted one stick challenge per half. This time the officials determined the pocket of DuBose’s stick to be too deep according to high school rules and the goal was wiped out.
And while Kitchen and Doyle may have provided the late heroics, it was an all-around team effort that got Mount Vernon (4-1) back on top against a Yorktown team that has struggled in the early going after losing 19 seniors from last season.
Senior Brandon O’Clisham, Austin Myhre, and Cesar Nativi chipped in a goal apiece, while senior James Lamm had a goal and an assist.
Doyle added two goals and an assist, while senior Brian Green had two goals — including the game-tying score in which his initial attempt was blocked by Yorktown goalie Sam Ridgely, yet Green somehow managed to push the ball along the ground past the keeper.
“It was probably the ugliest goal I’ve ever scored,” joked Green.
Ugly works just fine with these Majors, especially if they keep racking up wins.
“We just never give up,” said Nalls. “We keep playing until the clock says zero or the lights go out.”