Casey Fox has been shouldering the pressure for more than a month. After starting goalie Shane Carr tore his meniscus in April, the Severna Park junior started the previous 12 games while allowing just five goals per game, with one shutout.
When he stepped on the field Wednesday at Paint Branch in Burtonsville for the biggest game of his career — the Maryland 4A final against Howard — he felt a different type of pressure. But Fox kept his nerve when it counted most, making three of his six saves in the final period in the Falcons’ 9-6 win over the Lions. His performance guided the team to its fourth consecutive state championship and ninth overall.
“I still remember the day when I heard him being out for the rest of the year. I had butterflies in my stomach for the rest of the day,” Fox said. “Replacing Shane is very, very nervous. I knew I had to come to the challenge, but I feel like I did it.”
Replacing Carr, a senior captain and Michigan commit, has not been an easy task. The Falcons (19-1) did not lose a game that Carr had started in his career. Fox admitted this season has been a grind.
“Casey, he’s the man,” Carr said. “He stepped up when he wasn’t expected to. I have full confidence that he’s going to do well next year.”
In his 13 starts, Fox saved nearly 65 percent of opponents’ shots. With his steadfast presence in the net, the Falcons’ offense freely executed its scheme.
Severna Park scored three consecutive goals, including one by sophomore Colin Shadowens, who won a faceoff and took it to the goal and scored in just five seconds. Junior Michael Harmeyer scored three of his four goals in the first half. Harmeyer finished the season one goal shy of 100.
The Lions (13-6) fought back as senior Henry Frazier scored four goals to keep the Lions in the game, and freshman Nathan Boone’s goal knotted the score at five in the third. After both teams scored, the Falcons poured in three straight, two of them by junior Connor Panebianco, to seal the win. Howard was held scoreless in the final 10 minutes.
“I was very jittery today,” Fox said. “I had to face adversity. They made couple shots in the beginning, and it was tough to come back, but when I came back, I made a few stops, and the defense helped seal the game.”
It’s the first time both the Severna Park boys and girls won the state title in the same year since 2007.