BALTIMORE — When Brunswick soccer player Kamron Harris got the ball about 30 yards in front of the goal, he considered shooting.
Under the circumstances, this seemed like a sensible plan.
The final seconds were ticking down in the first overtime period of the Class 1A state championship match, easily one of the biggest games in Brunswick boys soccer history, and scoring chances like the one Harris pondered had been somewhat rare for the Railroaders during the extra period.
The only thing was, Harris knew junior Logan Malone, Brunswick’s top scorer, would be open for a better shot on goal from the right side of the net if Harris could somehow send the ball his way.
So, Harris dribbled and threaded a throughball — the very kind he and teammates had been working on since summer — to Malone.
Malone, a natural left-footed kicker who had been asked more than once by his coach to shoot with his non-dominant foot, then used his right foot to score with six seconds left in overtime to give the Railroaders a thrilling 2-1 win over Fallston in the title match on Thursday at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex.
Malone’s goal, his second of the night, triggered a celebration by the Railroaders, who battled back from an early 1-0 deficit and withstood tough late pressure on the goal from Fallston to earn their fourth state crown and first since 2014.
“I know I’m never going to forget this moment,” Malone said. “I’m so happy for our team, too.”
Malone’s game-winner also left Fallston players, who figured they’d have a chance in the second overtime to get the elusive second goal past tough Brunswick keeper Finn McGannon (11 saves), stunned. Several of them had hands over their eyes as they laid on the turf field.
“With six seconds to go, you’re thinking, ‘All right, let’s get ready for the next overtime,’” Fallston coach Christopher Hoover said. “And hey, 21 [Malone] comes back up to kind of bite us again and finish the ball well. So my hat’s off to him, my hat’s off to Brunswick.”
Like Hoover, Brunswick (15-3-1) coach Shawn Baker figured another overtime period beckoned.
“I was getting ready for the second overtime until the ball came across, and Larry [Malone’s nickname] put one in with his right foot,” Brunswick coach Shawn Baker said. “I’ve been telling him to use that all year.”
Malone figured most of the goals he scored this year came off his left foot. But getting the ball on the right side made him opt for his right foot, and there was no one between him and keeper Cason Donahue when he fired a close-range shot to the far post.
“All I really remember is the ball coming in, I don’t remember anything before that,” he said. “All I was thinking was to calm down, to just tuck it away. So I kept my composure and just put it away.”
Harris had no reason to regret passing up a shot opportunity.
“I was thinking of shooting, but I knew Larry would be wide open to hit it,” he said. “So I dribbled across, hit Larry for a throughball, and we’ve been working on that since the summer.
“We’ve been going to Othello Park, we’ve been working on our throughballs to each other,” Harris said. “Who would’ve thought that throughballs we worked on would’ve won us a state championship?”
Entering the second half locked in a 1-1 tie, Fallston (13-5-1) enjoyed the bulk of the prime scoring opportunities for the remainder of the match. But McGannon turned in another double-digit save outing, and the Cougars’ only goal came when Ethan Salsa blasted a 23-yard shot in the net for the match’s first goal in the 10th minute.
“We had our chances in the match,” Hoover said. “If you don’t finish your opportunities, sometimes you regret those, which is what we’re doing right now.”
McGannon’s play thwarted several promising attempts. One of his toughest saves came with a little over 30 seconds left in regulation, when the keeper dove to his left to block a hard, close-range shot by Devin Reddel from the right side.
“He made a crazy save, and that kind of just brought their tempo up,” Salsa said.
McGannon braced himself as the play unfolded.
“He hits it, and it goes bottom left. And I’m just like, ‘I’ve got to get that ball,” the keeper said. “The game’s on the line, I’ve got to get it.’ I just go for it and make the save ... it feels like the blink of an eye.”
Less than three minutes after a Fallston goal was wiped out by an offsides call, Malone tied the match with 20:06 left in the first half. From just inside the 18-yard box, he kicked a ball that glanced off the hands of a diving Donahue and into the net.
“We kind of knew going into it that it was going to be a battle,” Baker said. “But all playoffs, we’ve been battle-tested. And we gave up a goal early and we responded very well.”