Bulls win in double OT, ends No. 9 Severna Park’s 36-game public school win streak; Nozemack scores game-winner

by Nelson Coffin

Falling behind, 8-2, late in the first half was hardly the kind of blueprint for success the Hereford High boys lacrosse team would want to snap Severna Park’s 36-game winning streak against public school opponents on Friday night.

To make matters even more dicey for the No. 10 Bulls, their extra-man offense, including a one-minute full-serve chance, was shut out in the showdown between programs that boast a combined 15 state championships.

Nevertheless, coach Sal Picataggi’s squad found a way to get the job done by finishing the game on a 7-0 run to edge the ninth-ranked Falcons, 9-8, in double overtime.

The victory by the Bulls (4-2 overall) was also achieved after a 25-minute delay because of an injury to sophomore attackman Jake Furman, who was immobilized and carted off the field to a waiting ambulance by Anne Arundel County emergency medical technicians.

Furman’s health status was unclear, although his injury was not believed to be serious.

Fittingly, Hereford’s JD Nozemack’s fifth goal of the game — and 23rd of the season — ended the contest in stunning fashion with 39 seconds remaining in the second overtime period.

“We were trying to force the ball inside,” the Monmouth University commit said about the unsettled situation created when the Falcons’ EMO coughed the ball up at the other end and the Bulls raced down in transition. “I saw a loose ball and picked it up, and I was one-on-one with the goalie.”

Nozemack’s off-side hip shot whizzed past Severna Park freshman goalie Will Bray (11 saves) from point-blank range.

The Bulls’ leading scorer also had an assist on the game-tying goal with 58 seconds left in regulation, feeding fellow senior attackman Gavin Schattall, who had worked his way open on the doorstep after a very patient and methodical six-on-six set.

“Coach always tells us to not to force things and something will open up,” Nozemack said. “We were able to finish it there.”

As happy as Picataggi was with his offense, he was all aglow about his backline that featured three four-year performers — long-stick Scott Middleton and close defensemen Will Reott and Troy Tuveson — playing in front of fellow senior John Talbott (13 saves) in the goal.

That group was the spearhead for of a unit that blanked the Falcons (3-2) for more than half of regulation and both overtimes.

They also stymied several Severna Park man-up opportunities.

“Those are smart and athletic guys,” Picataggi said. “They are constantly knocking down passes. They ruin practice for our offense — that’s how good they are.”

Considering the kind of firepower that Severna Park displayed in the first half, it’s no wonder that Picataggi was so impressed with the Bulls ‘D.’

The Falcons, who won the past two Class 4A/3A state championships, were clicking early in the second quarter behind senior captain midfielders Chase Cope and Josh Coffman, both of whom scored twice during the opening salvo.

Senior attackman Jack Thomas, another captain, and sophomore stickman Mike Harmeyer also scored for Severna Park in the early going as the host build a 5-1 bulge before play was halted for Furman’s injury.

After senior attackman Hans Hansen scored to balloon the lead to 6-1, Nozemack made it 6-2 on a diving shot before Cope rifled in a blazer to the far post on the dead run and senior midfielder Drew Betch beat Talbott on a scorcher with one minute, 21 seconds left in the first half.

The tide began to turn, however, when Hereford senior defender Sam Wanamaker picked off a pass and found Tuveson in transition.

Tuveson’s ensuing fake-and-fire with just two seconds left before the intermission to cut the lead to 8-3 was an inspiring moment for the Bulls.

“It was straight motivation for us,” Reott said. “He put the team on his back and made a great play.”

It also seemed to motivate the defense, which was air-tight for the remainder of the game.

“We were down, 8-2, but we were shooting ourselves in the foot,” Tuveson said. “They scored two goals on failed clears. We were just playing bad ourselves. We knew if we picked it up we would get the result we wanted.”

The offense did just that on successive goals by senior Henry Traynor, subbing for Furman on attack, Nozemack, sophomore middle Cole Gibbons, Nozemack again and Schattall to send it to OT, setting up Nozemack’s heroics.

The win avenged back-to-back losses to the Falcons the past two years and sends the Bulls into the Baltimore County-portion of its season on a decided up-note.

Pictured above: (from left) Hereford’s Will Reott and Troy Tuverson anchored a defense which shutout Severna Park in the second half and through two overtimes. In addition, Tuveson scored a momentum changing goal late in the first half.

HEREFORD 1 2 4 1 – 0 1 — 9
SEVERNA PARK 5 3 0 0 – 0 0 — 8
GOALS: Hereford – JD Nozemack 5, Gavin Schattall, Cole Gibbons, Henry Traynor, Troy Tuveson; Severna Park – Josh Coffman 2, Chase Cope 2, Drew Betch, Michael Harmeyer, Jack Thomas, Hans Hansen.
ASSISTS: Hereford – JD Nozemack 2, Grafton Griffey 2; Severna Park – Josh Coffman, Jack Thomas.
SAVES: Hereford – John Talbott 13; Severna Park – Will Bray 11.