EMMANUEL College's unbeaten school football run is over after falling short in the Herald Sun Shield semi-final.
The Warrnambool-based team was just six points down against Ballarat-based St Patrick's College at three-quarter-time on Wednesday before being overrun in the final term.
Coach Chris McLaren lauded his players' performance in the 10.7 (67) to 5.6 (36) defeat at Craigieburn's Highgate Recreation Reserve.
"I couldn't have been prouder of them, to be honest," he said.
"I thought their effort was unbelievable."
Emmanuel College, which booked a ticket in the Herald Sun Shield competition after winning the School Sport Victoria premier boys' grand final, was three points up at quarter-time courtesy of two Curran O'Donnell goals and a Mitch Lloyd bomb from the pocket.
Koroit's Connor Byrne kicked its second-quarter major as St Pat's took a one-point buffer into the main break.
A clever sidestep from North Warrnambool Eagles' Judah Greene gave Emmanuel College its fifth goal in the third term.
Warrnambool's Ethan Boyd was a rock in defence for the school while South Warrnambool's Luamon Lual and Koroit's O'Donnell were also effective.
"You are playing a school that has scholarships for footy and any kid who can play footy they'll take to the school pretty much, so it's a huge ask to go up against a boarding school like that," McLaren, who coaches Hampden league club Koroit, said.
"I think we gave them a real fright.
"We had periods in the game where we had them under a bit of pressure and probably couldn't capitalise.
"They got us on a few sling-shot goals. You can tell the way they play that they win a lot.
"They're on the move forward early around stoppage and congestion.
"It is high-risk a little bit and difficult to stop and we did a bloody great job for a long time, we just couldn't quite maintain it."
Powerhouse St Patrick's College advanced to its 12th consecutive Herald Sun Shield grand final and will play Whitefriars in next week's decider.
Whitefriars thumped Christian College Geelong in the other semi-final which was also played at Craigieburn.
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