In early September, while most area soccer teams already were weeks into preparation for the 2013 season, Andre Ferguson visited the Crossland High School cafeteria every day for a week looking for soccer players. He knew that’s when he could get his message out to the most kids, which was simple: Ferguson was a first-year soccer coach looking to build his team from the ground up at Crossland.

“I had to announce that I’m the soccer coach. I’m looking for people, I’m looking for people,” Ferguson said. “But I knew what it would take to build a 3A strong enough to compete with a 4A.”

Eventually Ferguson had a team of about 15 kids, about half with club soccer experience and half with little experience at all. The experiment of sorts has worked for Ferguson, who was understandably emotional Tuesday night as his team narrowly lost 2-1 to 4A champion High Point in the Prince George’s County title match.

The middle of the field at Largo had been reduced to dirt by the awards ceremony after the match, in which Ferguson and his players lifted the 3A trophy. The Cavaliers were so much more this fall. Ferguson’s team may have been the best surprise in the area, going 11-1, with an undefeated mark in league play. Crossland scored 66 goals in 12 matches, allowed just six goals, and recorded clean sheets in seven of its last nine games. It also produced two double-digit scorers in the talented duo of Rodney Ngoh (16 goals) and Ricardo Garcia (10 goals). Ngoh scored the first goal of the night Tuesday in the first five minutes against High Point (10-1-2).

“He’s pretty good,” High Point forward Jairo Martinez, who scored two goals, said of Ngoh. “At the beginning they played good. . . [but] they got tired, and we started pressuring them more and that’s how we got the two goals.”

Ferguson changed his defense in the second half using a 4-4-2 formation to clog the middle and disrupt the talented front of High Point, which has earned a top seed in the Maryland 4A South playoffs next week. It worked for long stretches, Ferguson said, but his team didn’t have the depth of its opponent.

What it does have, after a wild season, is a top seed in next week’s Maryland 3A South bracket, meeting the winner of Thursday’s match between Westlake and Lackey next week.

“I’m very proud of the guys. I told them that if they believed in themselves at the beginning of the year, that they could get to the state championship,” Ferguson said. “They believed in me and took the ride.”

The Post Top 10

Daniel Kwon scored three goals to give Severna Park an undefeated regular season and an Anne Arundel County title with a 3-2 win over Broadneck Tuesday night. . . . Graham Guidry scored his 23rd goal of the year to help St. Stephen’s/St.Agnes to a 5-1 win over Episcopal. The Saints will play for a regular season IAC title Friday against Georgetown Prep. . . . DeMatha continued its dominant month Tuesday with a 5-0 win over McNamara. The Stags have now won nine straight matches, including their last four by a combined score of 25-0.

1. Marriotts Ridge (13-1)

2. Severna Park (12-0-2) LW: 3

3. Reservoir (11-2-2) LW: 2

4. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (13-2-2) LW: 5

5. Sidwell Friends (11-3-1) LW: 4

6. River Hill (13-1) LW: 7

7. DeMatha (10-4) LW: 8

8. Georgetown Prep (9-2-1) LW: 6

9. Blair (10-2) LW: 9

10. High Point (10-1-2) LW: NR

Dropped out: Clarksburg (7-3-2) LW: 10

Bubble: St. Albans (7-3), Blake (11-2)