Deering High senior Nate Richards could not imagine a better beginning to his Class A North boys’ lacrosse quarterfinal Wednesday.

The fifth-seeded Rams, who had lost by eight goals to No. 4 Cheverus in late April, scored on five of their first six shots. More than halfway through the second quarter they found themselves with a seven-goal cushion.

“We had it right there,” Richards said. “It was a blessing in dis–, well, it was a nightmare in disguise, really. You start to see kids (thinking), ‘Oh, we’re up by seven. We can pull our foot off the gas.’ ”

In a stunning turnaround, the Stags poured in four goals in the final 1:05 of the half and surged to a 15-12 victory Wednesday night. Cheverus (10-3) advanced to the regional semifinals Saturday against top-ranked Brunswick (14-0).

“I’ve never been down that much and come back,” said Cheverus Coach Bill Bodwell.

“It’s kind of neat to experience that at a young age and persevere. You don’t get a lot of opportunities in life to do that.”

Colby Anton gave Cheverus its first lead at 11-10 with 2:10 left in the third quarter and a Deering defender serving a penalty.

Anton finished with seven goals and the Stags went 5 of 5 on man-advantage opportunities, all but one in the second half.

Deering was 0 of 1 while a man up.

“We kept telling each other to stay in it because there was still some hope,” Anton said. “Then we just sparked and it all came together.”

Cheverus goalie Sean Walsh, who didn’t stop a shot in the first quarter, lit the fuse with three tough saves in the second quarter. Richards (five goals) and Omar Contreras (four goals, two assists) seemed to be scoring at will for Deering, and Rams goalie Tanner Nussinow (10 saves) made a point-blank save on an unguarded Michael Hatch.

“They came out ready to fight and we didn’t,” Walsh said. “We acknowledged that and said, ‘You know what, it’s our turn.’ ”

Max Coffin scored for Cheverus to make it 8-2 and the Stags killed off a one-minute roughing penalty largely because Walsh, after straying far from his crease, raced back to make a diving save on a seemingly open net.

Finn Cawley scored with just over a minute left to make it 8-3. Thirty seconds later, Coffin popped from behind the net to make it 8-4.

Matt Verrault, who helped Cheverus earn a 21-11 edge in faceoffs, regained possession. Hatch converted a man-up goal with 12.5 seconds left and Anton, improbably, flicked home a bouncing ball with 4.6 ticks remaining to make it 8-6.

“That really picked us up,” said Verrault, occasionally spelled on draws by Kevin Ly. “Those last three, four goals right before the half really kept our momentum into the second.”

Cheverus finally tied it at 9 but Nick James gave Deering its final lead at 10-9. Anton delivered three straight to make it 12-10 heading into the fourth and Cheverus maintained its lead to the end.

“Coaches usually make up stories,” in an attempt to overcome huge deficits, Bodwell said. “But now I’ve got one that’s actually factual.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

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