McDonough players shake hands with Sparrows Point players after their Maryland 1A boys’ lacrosse semifinal. Sparrows Point won, 7-4. (David J. Kim/For The Washington Post)

The McDonough boys’ lacrosse players slowly jogged to senior goalie Camdin Edge after the Rams fell to Sparrows Point, 7-4, on Friday in the Maryland 1A semifinals. While the Pointers hurled their gear into the air and showered Gatorade on their coach on one side of the field, the Rams shed tears and embraced.

McDonough has come a long way since last season. After losing 10 players from last year’s squad, which also lost in the state semifinals, Coach Mike Ferriter admitted that he didn’t expect the 2019 team to be this competitive. But the camaraderie among the players fueled the team, Edge said.

“This is my second family,” said Edge, a four-year starter. “I love them all to death. They gave everything they had in this game and this entire season, and I can’t thank them enough for it.”

Edge, with tears in his eyes, addressed his teammates after the loss and thanked them directly. Ferriter said the Rams lose just three seniors to graduation and hope that two consecutive region titles will garner more interest in the sport at McDonough.

“Coming to these state semifinals and regionals is getting the word out in the school and hallways that we need to get more players,” Ferriter said. “We’re trying to bring some excitement into the school.”

Edge did his best to keep the game competitive Friday. He made five of his 11 saves in the first half, including two while the Pointers had a two-man advantage in the second quarter.

Feeding off Edge’s energy, sophomore Bruce Cornwell fired a rocket for the Rams’ first goal with 4:18 left in the first half to cut their deficit to 3-1. The Pointers were subsequently called for a two-minute, unreleasable penalty, but McDonough couldn’t take advantage of the extra-man opportunity.

Instead it was the Pointers who got on the scoreboard again. After making a save, goalie Zach Barnickel threw a cross-field pass to attackman Tyler Crouse, who scored. Sparrows Point (9-8) also exploited the Rams’ zone defense by constantly sending cutters to the middle.

“With only 20 players on the team, we have to play zone,” Ferriter said. “If we play man, we have no substitution. They’ll get tired really fast. For a while, it ate the clock up. They kept it close.”

The Rams (8-8) showed signs of life in the second half, with Cornwell’s second goal and senior Brady Ferriter’s behind-the-back shot. But the Pointers negated the effort with three second-half goals.

Sparrows Point will play either Smithsburg or Patterson Mill on Monday for the state title.

“McDonough lacrosse showed me that a sports team can turn into a family,” senior Alex Landicho said. “I’m extremely proud of what we’ve done.”