By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/26/09
Curtis Case remembers that his son, Andrew, immediately fell for the sport of lacrosse.
“From the first day he picked up a stick, he was a natural,” Case said. “He always knew how to play; you didn’t have to coach him. He became one of the best players around here.”
Andrew Curtis Case, 17, was one of two teenagers killed Monday night in a two-car crash on Rt. 724 in East Coventry Township, Chester County. A junior at Pottsgrove High School, Case was a standout lacrosse player whose goal was to play at the college level.
Police continue to investigate the cause of the accident, which also claimed the life of Pottsgrove student Michael Cantamaglia, 16, of Barto. Four other teens were injured in the crash, three serously. The driver of the second car received minor injuries, police said.
The accient occurred when a Honda SUV containing six teenagers veered off the road, went up an embankment, then flipped over and collided with the oncoming car.
Mr. Case first began playing lacrosse at the age of 8, his father said. Mr. Case enjoyed swimming, football and baseball, but quickly settled on lacrosse as his passion. He enjoyed playing attack and scoring goals and earned a strong reputation while playing for the Pottstown Vipers (U-15 level), the Philadelphia Youth Lacrosse All-Stars (PYLA), and Team Philly.
“He adored it,” Case said. “It gave him the freedom to do what he wanted to do; he could move how he wanted to move. He made up his own shots, and he had a wide variety of shots.
“He could use his physical ability to push people and he had a lot of speed and finesse. I would see him score when shooting behind his back, between his legs, or spinning his stick and doing a 360 while bumping it with his other hand, with his back to the goalie.
Case said his son was a bit of a pioneer in the Pottstown area, where boys’ lacrosse has only recently become a big sport. He and his younger brother, James, now 15, played all the time.
“When he was 11 years old, I bought a lot behind the house and put in a lacrosse field,” Case said. “It was a half field, and, brother, they loved it back there. We had a rebounder, backstops and multiple goals and they just lived back there.
“He (Andrew) took kids and taught them how to play lacrosse. He gave his own gear to little boys. This house was always open to kids. They didn’t bring a football or a baseball, they played lacrosse or they didn’t play. He had gear for everybody.”
Andrew Case was not just a giant on the lacrosse field. He had a heart of gold to all people.
“I can’t tell you what he’s meant to so many people,” his father said. “If someone wanted to fight him, he’d hug him until the kid gave up. Little kids followed him around. If others tried to pick on them, he wouldn’t let them.
“I’m his dad, but he was the most beautiful person. He had long blonde hair, a baby face and he smiled all the time. He was always polite. He was a free spirit and all he wanted to do was have fun, and for everybody around him to have fun.”
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral Mass for Andrew Curtis Case, 17, of Lower Pottsgrove, in St. Basil The Great Catholic Church, 2300 Kimberton Road, Kimberton, on Friday at 11 a.m. (see obituary).
Curtis Case said that his son’s casket is to be carried by members of the Pottsgrove lacrosse team.
“The whole lacrosse team will be pallbearers,” he said. “All the people that played with him are asked to wear their uniforms; from the Vipers to the PYLA to Team Philly to Pottsgrove.
“I have had people call me from all over the country. I have been blown away by the (support); it’s unreal. The whole school has been closed for the week (for parent conferences), but people have been there all day and all night. There will be a candlelight vigil for both boys (lost).”
Case said Andrew had helped Pottsgrove gain respectability in lacrosse. He was unable op play as a freshman because of major surgery due to a growth plate in his arm, but last year he was the team’s top scorer and earned all-Pioneer Athletic Conference Honorable Mention honors. He was hoping to play lacrosse in college at Division III power Salisbury.
“The year before he played, Pottsgrove was winless, but last year they won four games,” Case said. “In one game against Perkiomen Valley – one of the better teams in the league – Andrew scored six goals and had the game-winner in overtime.
“When he started with the Vipers, they hadn’t won anything. Now, they’ve won so many championships they tried to kick them out of the league. He made kids go to camps so they could get better. When we put him in the casket, he’s going to have his lax gear, so he can play in heaven.”