High School Lacrosse

Indians storm back against Hillgrove, fall in OT

by Chris Goltermann

Cobb County lacrosse teams have been a thorn in East Coweta's side since the program's inception roughly six years ago.

And for two quarters, Hillgrove boys stayed directly to that script.

The Indians, though, weren't about to go quietly this time around.

Storming back from a pair of five-goal deficits, East Coweta put a Stephen King sized scare into an undefeated Hawks team, forcing overtime and coming a shot away from bumping off the state's No. 11-ranked lineup in a heartbreaking 12-11 loss in overtime.

Looking little like a team that left the field at halftime with its helmets pointed to the turf at Garland Shoemake Stadium while down 8-3, the Indians found a way to rally when the game seemed all but lost.

The Powder Springs school entered Thursday's game having outscored its first three Area 1-AAAAAA opponents by a combined score of 60-2 and hadn't allowed more than three goals in a game all season.

But after outscoring Hillgrove 8-3 over the final two quarters of regulation, East Coweta grabbed possession of the faceoff in suddendeath overtime and managed to get a high shot that was stopped by the Hawks' goalie.

Regaining possession, Hillgrove called timeout. Starting play from behind the goal, Riley Callaghan made a move to the right of the net for a shot that beat Indian senior goalie Brian DeBole.

It left a sour ending after DeBole and fellow seniors Bryce Durden and Conner McMeen helped fueled the comeback. DeBole again came up big with more than a dozen saves while Durden and McMeen added five goals and three assists, respectively.

Hillgrove (9-0, 4-0) pushed ahead by as many as six goals after returning from the break with the first tally of the third quarter, only to watch East Coweta find its third and fourth winds.

The Indians, who finally got on the scoresheet with three straight goals in the second, added three consecutive in the third before closing the game with five unanswered in the final 5:21 of play.

After pulling within a 5-3 deficit with three unanswered goals in the second quarter, the Indians were able to complete a comeback with four straight with 3:44 to play.

Down 11-9, Ty Hagar's incredible individual effort while pushing past four defenders and a pair of slashing penalties from midfield brought the Indians deficit to one with 1:11 to go in addition to giving East Coweta an ensuing two-man advantage. Despite killing off the penalties, play continued inside the Hawks end as both players were released, long enough for Durden to get off the gametying goal with just 9.1 seconds left in the game.

The standout attackman finished with five goals, including consecutive tallies to close the third quarter that pulled East Coweta back to within range, down 9-6 after three quarters.

All three of McMeen's assists came in the final five-goal surge in the fourth quarter. Twice he found teammate Lee Steed on back-to-back passes that eventually pulled the Indians to within an 11-8 deficit.

Carter Byrum also had a pair of goals, including one on a feed from Steed in the third quarter that put East Coweta back in the right direction, down 9-4.

HAWKS 12, INDIANS 11 Hillgrove 4 4 1 2 1 - 12 E.Coweta 0 3 3 5 0 - 11 Goals: East Coweta - Bryce Durden 5, Carter Byrum 2, Lee Steed 2, Sterling Tyson, Ty Hagar.

Saves: East Coweta - Bryan DeBole 17.

TUESDAY'S GAMES NEWNAN BOYS 14, PEBBLEBROOK 3: The Cougars jumped on Pebblebrook for five unanswered goals from five different players and dominated the Area 1-AAAAAA victory.

Austin Ohliger, George Coria, Caleb McHugh and Mike McMahon each scored twice in the victory.

McMahon added two assists and led Newnan with 11 ground balls.

Spencer Smith, Chris Mapel, Noah Morris, Jake Quick and Travis Greene also scored for Newnan. Ohliger, Smith and McHugh also had assists.

KENNESAW MOUNTAIN 14, NEWNAN GIRLS 5: Savannah Ohiliger got the Lady Cougars off to a promising start with the opening goal of the game, only to see Kennesaw Mountain quickly respond 52 seconds later on one from Megan Dreyer.

Dreyer then gave the Lady Mustangs a lead for good with 16:30 left in the first half as the team scored seven unanswered goals to take command of the game.

Sable Hawkins had three goals to lead Newnan while Dakota Overton added one in the second half on an assist from Ohliger.

Courtney Darrow had a teamhigh five ground balls for the Lady Cougars. Emma Dougherty finished with six saves in the loss.

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