Georgetown Prep coach Kevin Giblin was amused at his team’s time of possession in overtime Saturday at Landon.
“We had the ball, what, four seconds?” Giblin asked.
Whatever the tally, it was enough for the Little Hoyas to fashion a spectacular fast-break goal, junior Townsend Brown scoring 1 minute, 58 seconds into overtime of an 8-7 victory on the field of their archrival.
“I think we’re like one for 12 on fast-breaks this year. It was a good time to get one,” Brown said. “Just a catch and shoot.”
It was another classic game in a series that is only 26 years old, but dwarfs all other lacrosse rivalries in the Washington area. It was the 11th time in 38 meetings that Landon-Prep was decided by one goal.
“I’ve been wanting to play this game since I was in first grade,” said Georgetown Prep junior Matt Billings who made the key defensive play which set up the winning goal. “My brother played three years at Prep and he had some of the greatest wins against Landon – so much history. Winning this game is the greatest feeling.”
Billings’ play came after Landon freshman Sam Offutt won the faceoff to open the overtime session. The Bears (7-6, 1-1 IAC) held the ball until Billings and junior Kyle Strang double-teamed Peter Laco at the point, jarring the ball loose. Billings scooped it off the turf and sprinted to the Prep end, passing to junior Colin Giblin who fed Brown for the first game-winner of his career, sparking field-storming celebration as fans poured out of the visiting stands.
“It was just surreal,” Brown said. “I’ve been part of being on the stands and running out to the guys. But I’ve never been on the field for it.”
The goal culminated a rally by Prep (13-4, 2-0), fueled by its sudden ability to score quickly. With the Little Hoyas down late in the third period, 5-3, sophomore Jack Olson (two goals) scored off a re-start feed from junior Tanner Hollifield. Then the Little Hoyas got a fast-break buzzer-beater as Brown scored off a pass from junior Brendan Collins (three goals) with one second left. The goal came after another forced turnover in the Landon end.
In the fourth period, Collins scored twice, first to tie it at 6-all. Then with 59 seconds left, he put Prep in front as he fired a low-percentage crank shot from the perimeter that beat Landon goalie Hunter Sells (eight saves).
“When I’m playing well, I start to be able to do things I normally wouldn’t be able to,” Collins said. “I felt a rush of adrenaline shoot through me and I decided to try to make a play.”
But moments later, the same rush of adrenaline fueled Landon’s Robert Dunnigan (two goals). His one-on-one burst with 12 seconds left tied it, sending the game to overtime.
Getting that far was an accomplishment for injury-riddled Landon, which has lost as many games this year as any season since the program’s infancy in the mid-1970s. The Bears were without midfielders Philip Pena (Delaware) and Austin Petty as well as faceoff man Jason Murphy.
“We told the kids all week, ‘You want excuses [or] you want to win,’” Landon coach Rob Bordley said. “But we certainly had some tired kids … I don’t think I’ve had a team that was deeper on paper and thinner on the field.”
Offutt, who won eight of 14 faceoffs, epitomized Landon’s grit. The Bears trailed 3-1 in the second period before reeling off four straight goals. When Sells made a save and threw an outlet pass, leading to a fast-break goal — sophomore Colton Rupp feeding junior Sean O’Brien (two goals) — Landon had a 5-3 lead with 3:03 left in the third period.
But in the end, Prep emerged behind the clutch work of Collins, Brown, Billings, and goalie Will Railey (nine saves).
“Seems like it always goes that way,” Kevin Giblin said of the one-goal margin. “I’m just glad it wasn’t four overtimes.”
Notes: Landon won the first 18 games of the series. But Prep broke through in 2003, beating the Bears, 8-5, then winning by the same score against Landon later that spring in the IAC title game. The Little Hoyas have won 12 of the last 20 meetings. Landon’s sweep of two meetings last year was its first over Prep since 2002.