BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - When he was a freshman, Chris LaPierre figured his high school career would never end.

"I remember when I was a young pup, I thought my senior year would never get here," LaPierre said.

LaPierre did some amazing stuff during his four years at Shawnee. He set records on the football field. He set a standard on the lacrosse field.

But no player can stop time.

It ran out on one of the top athletes in South Jersey history yesterday in the Group 3 state championship game.

LaPierre generated two goals and two assists, but his remarkable career came to a close as Shawnee dropped a 11-6 decision to Ridgewood.

"It hasn't really sunk in," LaPierre said. "Maybe on the ride home I'll be reflecting. Right now, I still can't believe it's over."

Shawnee coach Tim Gushue was prepared for this moment. He was LaPierre's coach for four years in football and lacrosse.

Still, Gushue was a little overwhelmed by the realization that LaPierre won't wear Shawnee blue again.

"You know how they say you don't totally appreciate somebody until they're gone?" Gushue said. "I hope that's not the case because I know how much we appreciated everything Chris did.

"The legacy he left, in both sports, it's going to be tough for somebody to match that.

"Maybe there was some young guy out there watching No. 37 and saying, 'I want to be like that.' "

In football, LaPierre rushed for 4,722 yards and 84 touchdowns. He led Shawnee to back-to-back Group 3 sectional titles. Last season, LaPierre set state records for touchdowns (44) and points (272).

It always was funny to go to LaPierre's football games and see football people - many of whom have little knowledge or interest in lacrosse - shake their head and wonder how such a dominating running back could be committed to that other sport.

But LaPierre made a decision to attend Virginia on a lacrosse scholarship when he was a junior. To lacrosse people - of which there are more and more every year - he was a sensational midfielder who also did pretty well on the football field.

LaPierre's lacrosse career coincided with an explosion of the sport in South Jersey. It was totally fitting that by his senior year, both Shawnee and Cherokee were in the state finals.

"Shawnee was everything to me," LaPierre said. "My teammates and coaches did everything for me. If I have half as much fun in college as I did in high school, I'll be happy."