Nation Ford’s Owen Ameo runs down the field during the second half of the 5A state title match against Wando.

IRMO – Despite a confident and consistent first half, the Nation Ford Falcons fell to the Wando Warriors giving up 10 unanswered second half goals to lose 21-9 in the 5A state championship Saturday.

The Warriors held a slim 11-9 lead at the half, but then came out and shut down Nation Ford in the second half winning nearly every face-off and scoring five goals in both the third and fourth quarters. Nation Ford finished their season at 19-1.

“They (Wando) are an incredible team and very well coached,” said Nation Ford head coach Cory Turner. “We lost our pole right before half time and I think that took a lot out of them. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have it in the second half. The kids kept fighting. We need to work on some things and next year we will be back.”

Turner said he felt like losing face-offs in the second half was the main thing that really hurt the Falcons.

“They were getting every possession and we were getting gassed,” he said. “It hurts. It stings. We showed up and gave all we had.”

The Falcons were looking for their first state title in the sport having lost in 2017 falling 19-9 to Wando in their only other state finals appearance.

Nation Ford was led by Owen Ameo, who scored five goals, and Tyler DeMarco, who added three goals, in the finals.

Nation Ford started off in the first quarter strong with DeMarco and Ameo scoring back-to-back goals to open the game and put the Falcons up 2-0 within in the first three minutes. Wando came right back and scored four consecutive goals to take a 4-2 lead.

The Falcons hung with the Warriors for the majority of the quarter as Luke Letterhos scored to pull Nation Ford within one at 4-3. The two teams would trade goals and Wando would add one more goal with 10 seconds left before the end of the first quarter.

A scary moment at the start of the second quarter as Nation Ford’s Ben Walczak was knocked out about midfield and had to be taken off the field in an ambulance to a local medical facility. Missing Walczak’s presence on the field was a big hole to fill, Turner said.

“He is an All-State player,” he said. “There is a reason he starts for us.”

The incident seemed to motivate Nation Ford as DeMarco and Ameo came right back and scored consecutive goals to tie the game at 6-6. Wando would again add two more goals to pull away some before DeMarco got a hat trick with his third goal of the first half.

Wando would then rattle off three consecutive goals to go up 11-7 before Ameo would keep the Falcons in the game with two more goals in the final two minutes of the half to send Nation Ford into the half trailing at 11-9.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

Nation Ford’s Tyler DeMarco was a key factor for the Falcons all season and didn’t disappoint in Saturday’s 5A state championship.