The Cedar Ridge-Carrboro state playoff lacrosse contest felt like two different games on Friday night.
The final phase was the one that Carrboro controlled, rallying from an 8-2 halftime deficit to score the last seven goals and defeat the Red Wolves 10-9 in the 1A/2A/3A state quarterfinals at Red Wolves Stadium.
Sophomore midfielder Julien Gaut notched the game-winner with 5:20 remaining as the Jaguars (14-1) avenged their only loss of the regular season.
Cedar Ridge, which went to the East regional final last season, ended its season at 15-4 after winning 13 in a row.
At halftime, that seemed like the last result imaginable for the Red Wolves.
Jack Widman dominated faceoffs, winning the first seven. Carrboro went more than 19 minutes and 35 seconds without scoring. Red Wolves attacker Sean Tobin scored a hat trick in the first half.
Even midfielder Demetrius Lyles, who scored only two goals all season, tallied a Hail Mary from 45 yards out with 0.9 seconds remaining in the second quarter to put Cedar Ridge ahead 8-2.
“They were just so worried,” said Carrboro coach Ron Mitchell. “I think they played tight in the first half because this was the only team that beat us in the regular season. This has been a long-time rivalry. Cedar Ridge has a really good lacrosse team. I think our kids thought the game was over, they relaxed and they began to loosen up and they played great from then on.”
Then came the second phase of the game, which started when Widman was ejected along with Carrboro’s Chase Bolesky. Without Widman’s ball-controlling presence, Carrboro went from 13 shots in the first half to 27 in the second. The Jaguars won three faceoffs in the first half. In the second, they won eight.
Cedar Ridge scored one goal in the second half.
“He’s our most valuable player,” said Cedar Ridge Coach Patrick Kavanaugh. “His loss hurt us a lot,”
Carrboro’s Brandon Richardson jump started the comeback with a man-up goal with 10:34 remaining in the third quarter after an offside penalty against Cedar Ridge’s Landen Williams. It was the first of four Carrboro man-up goals in the stanza. Jack Meville scored on an assist from Sean Ross to bring the Jaguars with 8-4.
Tobin scored the Red Wolves’ only second-half goal with 7:35 remaining in the third. Then Carrboro scored three goals in a span of 25 seconds, one from Ross and two from Richardson, who finished with four goals.
Sophomore Luke Rice tied the game at 9-9 with 8:19 remaining on an assist for Melville. It was only his second goal of the season.