After losing 13 seniors from last year’s team, A.C. Flora lacrosse coach Mickey Purdy needed a big year from Sam Duffie, and he got one.
Duffie had a record-breaking senior season in helping the Falcons to their first Class 4A state championship appearance. The Brevard signee scored a school-record 58 goals and tied a school-mark with 42 assists.
Duffie earned first-team all-state honors and was named The State’s Midlands Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.
“Sam knew he had to be a leader on the field and off, and he delivered in every way,” Purdy said. “He is everything you could ask for in a player.”
Purdy said Duffie’s 100 points were impressive considering the Falcons played just 18 games. He said Duffie had the ability to score at will but his 42 assists stood out.
Duffie had no bigger assist than the one against Christ Church in the Class 4A Upper State championship when he delivered the pass to freshman William King for the game-winning goal with 20 seconds remaining.
“The upper state title game was the most nerve-wracking game with the biggest crowd, and it came down to the final seconds,” Duffie said. “ William King did tremendous this year, and he is going to be an all-star. That was the biggest game of my career for sure.”
That win meant Duffie and his Flora teammates had to miss their prom because the championship game was the same evening. But the players didn’t seem to mind though the Falcons lost to Bishop England in the championship game.
“Once the guys realized what the state championship meant, prom kind of fades way,” Duffie said. “And after a second game, we beat state runner-up Fort Mill, and we knew we had something special and could go a long way. Everyone wanted it just as much as the guy next to him. Couldn’t have asked to do it with a better group.”
Duffie didn’t start playing lacrosse until he was a freshman. He also swam but gave that up to play lacrosse when his brother George joined the team as a junior.
Purdy said Duffie’s hand-eye coordination helped him develop into one of the best players in school history. He played on the junior varsity team his freshman year and had 28 goals as a junior before his record-breaking year.
“We tell our players when they are getting started that to get better you’ve got to hit the wall with the ball consistently every day. And Sam hit the wall and never looked back. He took that information and got better and better,” Purdy said. “Sam had the devotion and drive to make him into the player he is today. I think the same is going to happen in college and at higher level of play.”
Players of the Year
Throughout the next five weeks, The State will release its players of the year and all-area teams for spring sports. Here are the dates the stories will run.
Sunday: Boys and girls lacrosse
June 18: Baseball and softball
June 25: Boys and girls soccer
July 2: Boys golf and tennis
July 9: Boys and girls track