W.T. Woodson senior attacker Davis Mayberry could have found motivation in his team's chance to capture their first-ever Patriot District title. Or that they could avenge an 8-6 loss to Annandale from earlier in the season.
Instead, the first team all-district attacker thought about a verbal barb thrown at his team earlier in the year before the Patriot District boys' lacrosse finals against Annandale on May 14 at Robert E. Lee High School.
"In the fall tournaments, we lost to Annandale by one goal," he said. "A parent said, 'Welcome to the Patriot District.'"
With a chip on their shoulders, Mayberry and his teammates didn't just win the school's first Patriot District lacrosse title they sent a message back to the Annandale faithful.
"We're telling them this is our district now," he said.
W.T. Woodson defeated Annandale 13-10 in a rugged, see-saw battle where isolated thunderstorms added to the drama.
Just how much drama? Well, about four hours worth.
The first whistle blew at 5:30 p.m. to start the district final.
Woodson gave up an early goal to Annandale, but then took over the momentum and sprang to a 4-1 first-quarter lead. As Annandale began their comeback in the second quarter, thunder clouds drifted over Lee High School.
With the score at 6-5, referees spotted lightning and sent the players and their handheld lightning rods inside for cover.
"It was difficult going in [because of weather]," W.T. Woodson and first team all-district goalie Brian Beatson said. "You get out of the focus of the game."
After 45 minutes, the referees rushed the players onto the field to start the game again at 6:45 p.m.
The third quarter began with Woodson scoring a flurry of goals, spreading their lead to 9-6, but once again, thunderclouds started to drift toward the field.
Minutes after the fourth quarter began, lightning struck and the players were back inside with just 9:20 left to play.
For Woodson, the second rain-delay might have been a blessing in disguise. When the referees postponed the game, Annandale had brought to score to 9-7 and appeared to have slowed down the Cavaliers offense.
"It was good and bad," Woodson senior attacker Clayton Wainer said. "But I just wanted to go out there and win the game."
The Woodson boys spent their time in the locker room staring out the window at rain falling horizontally and debated if they were even going to play the final quarter.
At 8:50 p.m., referees sent word to the coaches that the game would resume. The Cavaliers, who had been praying for the game to end, returned to the field charged up to play.
"Everyone was running in saying, 'It's on,'" Mayberry said. "So we came out really sharp and we tore it up."
Woodson opened the remainder of the fourth quarter with a three-goal run, courtesy of defender Donde Fell, Mayberry and Wainer, and held off another Annandale goal-scoring surge to win 13-10.
The time of the final whistle: 9:30 p.m. The girls' final, which was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., was pushed to 10 p.m. because of the boys' delays.
Woodson head coach Jon Fitzgerald said the game was one of the longest he has been involved with in his 23-year coaching career.
"It just goes to show how mentally tough both teams have to be," he said. "It just was a test of how strong a team could be mentally over a long period of time. Thank goodness we could get in the whole game."