The number one high school team in the nation came to Baltimore on Friday afternoon to face off against the country’s No. 3 squad, and the top-ranked Haverford (PA) Fords prevailed over St. Paul’s, the reigning MIAA A Conference champ, 10-9, in a Brooklandville thriller.

“I can’t remember the last time we won down here,” said Haverford coach John Nostrant.  “We got down 5-3, and we got a big goal right before the half to make it 5-4, and we opened it up a little in the third quarter and had a lot of good possessions.”

Haverford’s Matt Walters, who will play at Syracuse next season, scored that goal for the Fords with 1:05 to go in the half, after the Crusaders built two early two goal advantage.

“My goal was on a man-up,” said Walters.

After trailing by a goal at the half,  Walters said that coach Nostrant told the team to play their game in the second half.  “We stepped it up, and got the win.”

A see-saw first quarter ended tied at three. Haverford led 1-0 on a quick goal by Grove Stewart at 8:48, but Taylor Michel tied it for St. Paul’s 35 seconds later.  Brendan McGrath put the Fords ahead 2-1 at 7:14, before Jay Carlson made it 2-2 at 5:15.  It was the first of four goals on the day for the University of Maryland bound Carlson.

Carl Walrath made it 3-2 Fords at 2:22, and Robby Maddux tied it again with a goal for the Crusaders at 1:01.

The second quarter belonged to the Crusaders. Michel and Carlson put coach Rick Brocato’s team up 5-3 before Walters got his late first half goal for the Fords.

The Fords took control during the first five minutes of the second half, as Walters and Walrath tallied for Nostrant, but Carlson’s goal at 8:09 allowed St. Pauls to even the score again at 6-6.

Brent Tomlinosn put the Fords up 7-6 before Will McNamara  got two goals in two and a half minutes for the Fords to give them a 9-6 advantage.

“He (McNamara) scored two big goals,” said Nostrant. “He was playing Parks with a pole, and he scores with a short stick. The kid’s a warrior.”

“It was a key moment,” said McNamara.  “I do whatever I can do for the team. St. Pauls is a good team. That was the first time that we beat them on this turf.”

Brocato said that the Crusaders came real close to tying the game.

“The kids kept fighting, and we’re proud of them for that,” said the Crusader head coach.  “We made some mistakes in the third quarter. In order to beat a good team, you’ve got to be razor sharp for four quarters.”

Carlson pulled St. Pauls to within two with five minutes to go, and Spencer Parks cut it to one at 3:38. Hup Hupfeldt gave the Fords some breathing room at 3:01 when he scored, but St. Pauls would not go away.

Mac Hall got a huge goal with nine seconds left to make it 10-9, but a last ditch effort to tie the game fell short.

“I thought we were going to get a shot at the end,” said Hall.  “Spence (Parks) came up with a great ground ball, we used double shorters on the wings to see if we could get a last second chance.

“I was really glad to see us get a last second push.”

Nostrant praised St. Pauls.

“They’re a great team; very well coached. Defending tem is a challenge, and I thought we did a little better job in the second half.”

Haverford (PA) 10, St. Paul’s 9
St. Paul’s32229
Walters 2, McNamara 2, Walrath 2, Stewart, Tomlinson, Hupfeldt, McGrath; St. Paul’s: Carlson 4, Michel 2, Maddux, Parks, Hall.