GREENVILLE – The Nation Ford Falcons weathered storm by the JL Mann Patriots to win the 5A Upper State championship on the road at Slaton Field in Greenville.
Nation Ford beat the Patriots 12 to 7 with Josh Ameo leading the charge and scoring six goals. Nation Ford will have a 5A state championship rematch against Wando, which beat them last year. The game is scheduled for Saturday night at Irmo High School. Nation Ford is now 16-3 on the season.
“All year has been the Nafo revenge tour,” said Falcons head coach Cory Turner. “We knew if we played our game we would like where we finished. This is a special team. This playoff run, they have been ready.”
The Falcons were led by three players with multiple goals. Owen Ameo had a hat trick and Luke Letterhos had two as well.
Trailing to open the second half, JL Mann scored 30 seconds into the third quarter to continue their rally which started in the first half.
Josh Ameo dampened that rally scoring for the Falcons on their next possession bulldozing his way down the field for the hat trick.
The Patriots continued to push the pace and scored the next two goals to get within two at 8-6 with seven minutes left in the quarter.
Josh Ameo would give the Falcons some breathing room heading to the fourth quarter scoring his fourth goal of the match with about 38 seconds left in the third quarter.
Both teams played the fourth quarter with a sense of urgency, knowing they needed to score. Both teams scored one goal in the first four minutes of play.
The Ameo brothers each scored for Nation Ford to hold the Patriots at bay.
Josh Ameo would add two goals in the fourth quarter to lead the Falcons.
Nation Ford came out wasting no time scoring three early goals in the first seven minutes of the match with two of those coming from Letterhos.
Josh Ameo scored his second goal of the first quarter with about three minutes left in the quarter.
The Falcons were able to control possession most of the time in the first quarter, despite the Patriots getting a couple shots on goal.
Owen Ameo opened the second quarter scoring a goal to extend the Falcons lead just 62 seconds into play.
Tyler Kell added a goal for nation Ford less than a minute later and Owen Ameo would score again was about eight minutes left before the half.
JL Mann’s defense played better in the second quarter, despite nation Ford continually finding ways to score. The Falcons did not take as many shot attempts in the second quarter as they did in the first quarter.
The Patriots made a small run in the second quarter. JL Mann got on the board with 3:30 left in the first half score on their first goal of the game. They added another goal 41 seconds later and scored a third goal all within 90 seconds.
JL Mann would use the scoring spurt to go into the half with momentum, despite trailing 7-3.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @fortprep