HIGH SCHOOL LACROSSE - River Bluff outlast Lexington in OT to claim region/district title
Lexington and River Bluff have played numerous sporting contests since the rivalry's inception in 2013.
Wednesday night at Wildcat Stadium, the two adversaries waged argubly one of its biggest contests again each other in boys' lacrosse.
At stake was the Region 5, District 3 championship and an opportunity to have homefield advantage through the first 3 rounds of the Class 5A playoffs.
After 4 periods of regulation play, it took just 49 seconds in sudden-death overtime to decide the winner. With one quick toss into the net, Nick Petta gave the Gators the 8-7 victory over the Wildcats.
"It's the biggest game in both franchises' history," said Petta before he was doused with water by teammates. "It was for the region championship."
River Bluff held a 3-2 halftime lead and asserted control in the third quarter with goals by seniors Dillon Marchant and Austin Outman. The 2 teams exchanged goals before the start of the 4th quarter with the Gators up 6-3.
Trailing 7-4 with less than 4 minutes left, the Wildcats mounted a furious rally. They scored 3 unanswered goals in a span of 3 minutes, capped by a score by Kyle Zuba with 51.2 seconds left to deadlock the match at 7-7.
"Same thing happened last year," Petta said. "We were up by 3 and they came back. So we all knew that it could have happened. It happened and, not going to lie. (I was a) little bit worried. We just back the ball back. It's overtime, so we just settled in."
River Bluff managed to gain possession in overtime and waited patiently to set up Petta's goal. Once it cleared, the team bench stormed the field in celebration.
"Hats off to Lexington," River Bluff head coach Gordie Howe said. "They're a great program, a great team. That's the kind of championship game you want to play right down to the bitter end."
River Bluff will open the Class 5A playoffs April 16 versus Chapin in The Swamp. Lexington will play host to Socastee.