The Wando Warriors won their third straight boys’ state lacrosse championship in impressive fashion beating the Nation Ford Falcons 19-9 at Chapin High School Saturday afternoon.
It was the Warriors' fifth state title in six years.
Two and a half weeks after their last meeting, – which saw the Falcons fall 11-7 to the Warriors – both teams were back at it in the most important game of the season.
Some might find it hard to imagine they would meet again in the state finals, but w
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Nation Ford – inspired by the motto of "One Team, One Mission" – got into the playoffs as the 16th and final seed and put together a run that would make any March Madness team proud.
"I couldn't be more proud of our team," said Nation Ford head coach Brian Holland, whose Falcons finished with a 7-11 overall record. "They worked hard and fought. We had to win and play well just to get in the playoffs. Our guys gave everything they had."
In Saturday’s rematch, Wando scored a goal just 46 seconds into play. The Warriors stayed on the throttle and scored again 32 seconds later and then 28 seconds after that to go up 3-0.
The Falcons struggled to establish much offense in the opening quarter as three turnovers gave Wando even more chances to score. The Warriors took advantage as Logan Mitchell scored his second goal of the first quarter off the third turnover.
Nation Ford stopped the bleeding some after a timeout as midfielder Jack McCullough scored to put the Falcons on the board. However, Mitchell came back to get a hat trick 22 seconds later putting Wando up 5-1.
The Falcons' Vinny Catan scored 39 seconds into the second quater. But Wando responded with a goal late in the quarter for a 6-2 lead heading into the break.
Just as he did in the second quarter, Catan scored for Nation Ford just 20 seconds into the third quarter. However, Wando came right back to score goals 12 seconds apart both from Sam Weis, which gave him a hat trick in the game.
Trailing by seven, Falcons midfielder Zach Skidmore with about 10 minutes left in the third quarter. Nick Catan also scored in the third for Nation Ford.
Once Wando figured out the Falcons' defensive adjustments in the second quarter, the Warriors extended their lead through three periods.
"Wando is a great team," Holland said. "They got a lot of horses. We knew they would come out ready. In the long run, we wore down and we aren't as deep."
Nation Ford adjusted its defense about midway through the first quarter, which helped to stop the Warriors’ onslaught. The defensive adjustment worked only so much until Wando found other avenues to score.
Vinny Catan scored three goals to lead the Falcons, while McCullough and Skidmore added two goals apiece. Wando was led by Mitchell with six goals and Weis with four.
Wando 19, Nation Ford 9
Nation Ford 1;1;3;4;-;9
Wando: Logan Mitchell 6, Sam Weis 4, Ethan Hennessey 2, Cline Marno 2, Thomas Marcoon 2, Riley Seay, Joe McInerney, Cole Hartley
Nation Ford: Vinny Catan 3, Jack McCullough 2, Zach Skidmore 2, Nick Catan, Nick Lynch
Wando 14-4; Nation Ford 7-11.