"We definitely came out not knowing if this was going to happen, but we never had a thought in our mind that we were going to lose this game," French said.
While many of the variables were things the Firebirds (16-4) have become accustomed to, their play in the first half, and even the opening minutes of the second, was unfamiliar.
Lacking pace and a solid first touch, Holy Ghost was only a shell of its usually disciplined and tactically sound self against Lower Moreland (10-8) at Council Rock North.
"This is a team that we beat twice during the season, but we couldn't look at this game as just another win," French said.
"It's a whole different circumstance, whole different situation. We knew we had to take this game seriously."
Calling Michael Kirby's pass "the perfect ball," French scored in the 71st minute, burying a shot past the goalkeeper after Kirby, a junior, had gotten to the outside and beaten a defender on the flank.
"We just didn't give up," French said. "We kept taking shots, getting chances. We had some chances where it didn't work out, but I knew we were going to get one."
After the whistle sounded and the Firebirds received their medals, French took the trophy, put it over his head, and shook it.
It wasn't the first time he had the opportunity to celebrate like this, but there is one thing he'd like to experience for the first time - a state championship.
The state tournament begins Tuesday.
Lower Moreland 0 0 – 0
Holy Ghost Prep 0 1 – 1
Goal: HGP-Tim French.
Saves: LM-Phil Madden 6; HGP-Matthew Lingerman 1.