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n Defeats Northern in region final, heads to states

By MICHAEL REID

Staff writer

Philip Brown scored with about three minutes remaining to lift visiting Huntingtown to a dramatic 2-1 win over Northern in the Class 3A South Region boys soccer championship game on Tuesday.

“It’s unbelievable, really,” said Huntingtown senior Zach Nega, who opened the scoring in the 70th minute. “It’s been awful. Still now, I can’t believe we’ve finally gotten over this hump. We’ve gotten here so many times and always lost.”

The second-seeded Hurricanes (13-4 overall) will host Reservoir of Howard County, the 3A East Region champion, in their first-ever 3A state semifinals at noon Saturday at CCBC-Essex in Baltimore County. Urbana of Frederick County, the 3A West Region champion, will battle North Harford of Harford County, the 3A North Region champion, on the other side of the bracket.

“It’s definitely a rivalry and it’s renewed every time we play,” Huntingtown head coach Rob Martin said of the battles against the Patriots. “If we had one win against Northern this year, it had to be this one in the region. Being on the sidelines for the last several years, we’ve seen [leads evaporate] against Northern. We were up late [in the Patriot Classic, an eventual 2-1 loss on Oct. 13] and they scored two late, so no lead is safe against them.”

It is Huntingtown’s first states appearance after reaching at least the regional semifinals the last six seasons. Huntingtown had been to the final three times, including last season, but was forced to play bridesmaid each time. Each of Huntingtown’s playoff losses over that span was by one goal.

But Brown changed all that after a free kick got away from Northern goalkeeper Zach Dunn and Brown maneuvered around a defender and scored.

“It was a great ball by Devin [Rediker],” said Brown, who came into the game late in the contest, “and I just thought, ‘I have to put it in the back of the net.’

After 69 scoreless minutes, the two teams scored three times over the last 11.

Nega opened the scoring, but Northern’s Ryan Phelps netted the equalizer just two minutes later on a low shot that took an unlucky bounce.

The top-seeded Patriots (14-2-1) had defeated Huntingtown twice already in the regular season, including once in the final of the Patriot Classic, by 2-1 scores.

“Huntingtown’s a good team and they played well tonight,” Northern head coach John Rossi said. “They’re very strong in the air. Our guys played well, it’s just a classic rivalry and a classic match and we fell on the short end of it. Not a great feeling, but the guys, I’m proud of them. They played hard and it was a great season for us.”

mreid@somdnews.com

Huntingtown 2, Northern 1

Huntingtown 0 2

Northern 0 1

Goals: Huntingtown (Nega, Brown); Northern (Phelps)

Saves: Huntingtown (Richardson 5); Northern (Dunn 8)