Nation Ford’s Owen Ameo shoots during the Falcons game against Riverside Saturday afternoon.

A second half surge which resulted in five consecutive goals lifted the Nation Ford Falcons boys’ lacrosse team to the 5A Upper State championship match next week.

Nation Ford beat Riverside 11-7 Saturday to improve to 18-0 on the season and put them hosting the Upper State title game at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 26 against JL Mann.

“We need the Fort Mill community to show up and help give us a real home field advantage,” said Nation Ford head coach Cory Turner.

The home field advantage was helpful Saturday as Riverside gave Nation Ford fits in the early going, despite the Falcons holding a slim 6-5 halftime lead.

In the second half, Riverside opened the third quarter scoring a goal in the first minute of play to tie the game. Once Riverside tied the game at 6-6, Owen Ameo scored his third goal of the game to give the lead back to Nation Ford, who would then score four more goals to take a comfortable 11-6 lead with about 1:45 left in the game. Ameo led Nation Ford with four goals, as Ashton Tauzin and Luke Letterhos each added a hat trick in the game as well. Tyler DeMarco added the other goal for the Falcons.

Turner said his team didn’t play their best in the afternoon match, but found a way to win.

“We have got to play a better entire game,” he said. “We are a three-quarter team. We didn’t play great. We were forcing stuff. If we get four quarters together, we are going to do something magical.”

Riverside opened the game up scoring about 94 seconds into the first quarter. Ameo came back with two goals of his own to give Nation Ford a 2-1 lead. Riverside then scored the next two goals to regain the lead before Tauzin netted his first goal of the game to end the first quarter with a 3-3 tie.

The second quarter saw the Falcons regain the lead and rattle off three consecutive goals to go up 6-3 before Riverside would again close the gap with two goals in the last six minutes of the first half.

Coming out of the locker room for the second half, Nation Ford was able to use their experience and started pulling away by controlling possession more and winning faceoffs after scoring.

On Tuesday, JL Mann, with a 12-3 record, will come to Nation Ford. In the Lower State championship, Wando will host St. James, who upset Chapin Saturday. The 5A state championship is Saturday, April 30 at Irmo High about 30 minutes after the girl’s state championship match which starts at 11 a.m.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

Luke Letterhos looks for running room for the Falcons as he makes his way past the Riverside defense.