Landon had ruined one birthday too many for Georgetown Prep attackman Charlie Horning. The last time the Little Hoyas had a game on April 11 was in 2012, Horning’s sophomore season, when Landon ruined his 17th birthday with an easy win over their Bethesda rivals.

Friday, the showdown landed on Horning’s birthday once again. This time, the senior made sure his day would not be spoiled, scoring two quick goals that helped Georgetown Prep open up an early lead, then adding a key late tally that helped the No. 1 Little Hoyas hold off No. 2 Landon, 9-7, in both teams’ Interstate Athletic Conference opener.

“This feels great. We’ve had trouble with them, and two years ago it was on my birthday, too, we lost,” Horning said. “This year we were super patient on offense, went through our looks, and did a good job.”

Horning’s third goal, which came with four minutes to go, proved the final turning point in a game loaded with them. Prep (11-0, 1-0 IAC) opened a 6-2 lead midway through the second quarter, carried a 6-3 lead to halftime, then watched Landon (9-2, 0-1) charge back in the second half. The Bears’ comeback appeared complete when they took a 7-6 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

“We thought it would be a game of runs,” Georgetown Prep Coach Kevin Giblin said. “We just wanted to make sure we made the last run. They went up 7-6, we had a timeout, and we said, ‘Look, we’ve had our run, they had their run. Now we have to answer.’ ”

A hat trick by Charlie Horning powers No. 1 Little Hoyas past No. 2 Bears, 9-7. (Julian Toliver/The Washington Post)

After five unanswered goals, Horning gave the Hoyas the equalizer they desperately needed. Fellow senior Tanner Holifield put Prep ahead less than a minute later, and Horning was back on track for his birthday win.

“I think we were rushing shots,” Horning said. “We were being too aggressive on offense and weren’t really playing our style. So when we settled in in the fourth quarter, we did a good job.”

Landon’s rally was aided by faceoff man Jack Falk, who Giblin said Prep hadn’t planned for given he’d been hampered by injury all season. Falk earned several crucial draw controls, one of which he carried all the way to the goal for the Bears’ first goal seconds into the second quarter.

David Lipka backed Horning’s three-goal afternoon with two of his own, and Townsend Brown, Drew McLaughlin and Jack Olson each chipped in a goal to boost the Little Hoyas.

“This is the game that makes people tick in this neck of the woods as far as lacrosse goes,” Giblin said. “It’s the biggest game in this area. It’s the one people remember.”