Falcons edge Cougars for place in group title game

The defenseman didn't hesitate.

When asked Wednesday how a season-ending loss to bitter rival Kettle Run would feel, Kenny Palmer dismissed the notion.

"Not happenin'," the 6-foot-1 senior said as he sipped his milkshake.

Palmer's team proved his confidence a day later. The Falcons defeated the Cougars 7-6 in the Battlefield Group semifinals on the road Thursday.

The win completed a 3-0 season sweep of Kettle Run and clinched two things for Fauquier (7-4) a championship game at Culpeper and a regional playoff berth.

"It feels better than anything in the world," Palmer said. "There are a lot of emotions out there.

"There's always a lot of talk between coaches, parents and on the field. Everything you'd think is possible goes on."

Neither team appeared inspired in the first frame. Of the 21 combined shots, only eight went on goal.

The Cougars held a 2-1 lead after the period on goals from Tate and Adam Donaldson.

After Andrew Bierman's second goal knotted the score at 3-3, Kettle Run seemed to take control.

Cougars junior Colson Jaynes and senior Morgan Ledden tallied and closed the half with a 5-3 lead.

Palmer brought Fauquier's defense on the field with one plan force the Cougars to shoot from outside.

The Falcons' size and strength advantages helped them execute.

They held Kettle Run (9-4) to one goal in the second half.

Junior Dom Scott and Briar Thomas tied the game 12 seconds left in the third at 5-5.

Midfielder Brett Brunsink put Fauquier ahead for the first time with 8:43 remaining.

Despite Coach Eric Morrison's pleas to hold the ball, the Falcons fumbled away possession as the clock ticked down to the two-minute mark.

With 2:08 left, Ledden knotted the game at 6-6.

Scott quickly silenced the home crowd's celebration.

After Thomas' faceoff win, Scott saw his mismatch. The speedy midfielder beat his man to the net and scored.

"I thought, 'it's a goal'," Morrison said of the moment he recognized the matchup.

Scott's goal came just 26 seconds after Ledden's.

"I took it behind and I knew I had my man beat," the junior said. "It felt great. We swept them. Best season of my life."

One of the county's fiercest rivalries fit the bill this season. Fauquier's three wins came by a combined four goals.

"It's tough, especially when they're your rival," Chambers after the season-ending loss. "It's tough coming face-to-face with them and losing. We just couldn't finish."

Morrison said he and his assistants started texting game plans Thursday morning at 5:30 a.m.

The second-year coach slept little since his team's quarterfinal win over Brentsville on Monday.

"Today was the longest day of my life," he said. "It's insane."

Overcome with excitement after the one-goal victory, Morrison was informed his team clinched a regional playoff appearance.

"Did we really? I had no idea," he said.

The Falcons travel to Culpeper to face the Blue Devils on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

> Please, send sports news items and/or photos to Sports Editor Mark Trible: Sports@FauquierNow.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.