Nation Ford players lift goalie Josh Miller up to celebrate after winning against Mauldin for their third consecutive Upper State title.

The Nation Ford Falcons boys’ lacrosse team held off a fervent rally by the Mauldin Mavericks for a 10-8 victory in the 5A Upper State Championship Tuesday evening.

Nation Ford will meet the Wando Warriors for the third consecutive year in the 5A state championship Saturday, April 27 at Irmo High School, as the two teams have split the past two years in the finals.

“We have to play a perfect game,” said Nation Ford head coach Cory Turner. “A little luck goes a long way.”

Mauldin outscored the Falcons 5-2 in the second half Tuesday, but could not complete the rally.

“We like to keep it close,” Turner joked after the game. “The kids fought hard. We have to clean up penalties in the second half.”

Mauldin won the first two face-offs of the game and took advantage of the first opportunity scoring 32 seconds into the game.

When Nation Ford got their first offensive attempt, they also took advantage as Josh Ameo scored for them. Trevor Keaton came right back for the Falcons about a minute later and put Nation Ford ahead.

The Falcons seemed to play with a strong confidence as they controlled possession early in the first quarter. Keaton would add to the confidence with his second goal just under six minutes in the opening period.

Mauldin picked up opportunities as the first quarter wore on scoring again with 2:49 left in the quarter.

Ameo got things shifted back to the Falcons as he started the second quarter scoring just 22 seconds into the quarter. Keaton and Ameo were a two headed monster against Mauldin as they continued to push the pace for the Falcons. The two of them combined for four consecutive goals in the second quarter.

Hunter Nickola made it five in a row for Nation Ford with 5:20 left in the half as he put the Falcons up 8-2. Mauldin did score right before the half with 19 seconds remaining.

The two teams traded goals to start the second half as Keaton got goal number five. Mauldin kept chipping away scoring three goals in the third quarter as Nation Ford led 9-6.

The Mavericks kept their momentum rolling scoring about 1:15 into the fourth quarter. Mauldin scored four straight between the third and fourth quarters to pull within one.

Nickola scored for the Falcons with about four minutes left to give Nation Ford some breathing room as that put them up by two. Nation Ford would hold on for that two-point win as they won their third consecutive Upper State Championship in the sport improving to 13-6.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

Nation Ford’s Trevor Keaton led the Falcons with five goals in their win against Mauldin.