Leading for nearly the entire meet, the Perryville boys track and field team found themselves trailing entering the final event to be cored – the triple jump.
Fortunately for the Panthers, they had Brian Matthews.
Matthews, an accidental triple jumper of sorts, leaped 45-5.5 on his final try to win the event and clinch a second straight state title for the Perryville squad.
Teammate Nate Cardinale also came through in the event, placing fifth to help Perryville outscore second place Boonsboro 95.5 to 90.
"I didn't see this coming in a million years," Perryville coach Jake Moore said.
Track coaches use past results to predict big meets. Moore thought the Panthers would finish third while one local coach forecast a fifth place finish.
Matthews had other ideas. The senior also won state titles in the long jump and high jump and teamed with Ethan Griffin, Asa Driscoll, and Tyrell Hollingsworth to place second in the 4 x 200 relay.
Darryl Johnson captured the shot put (48-1.5) for the second straight season and was second in the discus.
Adam Thornton (3200) and Taylor DiMauro (pole vault) each had a third place finish.
Russell Bowman placed fourth in the shot pout and fifth in the discus. Matt Owens was fifth in the shot put.
Eric Barton was eighth in both the 1600 and 3200.
Saturday was an up and down day for the Panthers and Boonsboro had a strong performance to overtake Perryville heading into the triple jump.
Matthews had been practicing the triple jump a little throughout the year and got the call in the region meet where he also produced a victory.
Earlier Saturday, he had foreshadowed his dramatic triple jump performance following his win in the long jump where he won on his final jump for the second straight year.
"That's just kind of like the athlete I am," said Matthews. "When I'm under pressure and when I really need to perform, that's when I bring out my best attributes. It's brings out the best in me. That's just how I am."
OTHER CECIL COUNTY RESULTS:
The Perryville girls finished eighth in the team standings.
Kaylee Haberkam was sixth in the high jump and seventh in the 3200 meter run. She combined with Sierra Montz, Tori Antoshak, and Sam Leonard to place fourth in the 4 x 800 relay.
Molly Crothers was third in the pole vault and Megan Harnish finished fifth in the triple jump.
Taesha Andre, Keanna Stinson, Angelica Conway, and Harnish teamed to take fourth in the 4 x 200 relay.
Bo Manor freshman Ty Franks turned in an amazing performance of his own. Franks won both the 1600 and 3200, was fourth in the 800, and helped his team to a sixth place finish in the 4 x 800 relay.
North East's Godfrey Durham won a state title in the 2A shot put.
Rising Sun's Dominic McAnulty was eighth in the 2A 400 meter dash.