By Dave Kurtz
Courtesy of PAC-10Sports.com
Revenge is a powerful motivator – but that was only part of the equation that helped Spring-Ford end Owen J. Roberts’ three-year reign as kings of Pioneer Athletic Conference boys lacrosse.
Talent, speed and work ethic trumped all of the many intangibles the Rams had in their corner Friday night when they held their own coronation on home turf at Coach McNelly Field.
Sophomore sensation Paul Major filled up the stat sheet with five goals and three assists and Spring-Ford finally got to raise its sticks to the heavens, capping an unbeaten run through the PAC-10 with a convincing 20-13 dismantling of OJR in the championship game.
Prominent in the rout were the contributions of three seniors – Brian Bock (4 goals, assist), Drew Thomas (4 goals, 2 assists) and goalie Jared Novia (7 saves) – three players who have seen the other guys celebrate too many times.
“They had three-peated on us,” said Bock. “So we wanted revenge. My entire high school career, it was the same team getting in our way.”
There was nothing getting in the Rams’ way on this night. Flashing its deep offensive arsenal, Spring-Ford blew out to a 6-1 lead just 8 minutes, 14 seconds in. After the Wildcats closed within 6-4, the Rams finished the half with another 6-1 spurt to go in front 12-5 at the intermission.
But OJR – showing the true heart of a champion – would not go down without a fight. Fueled by three goals from magnificent senior attack Kohl Batdorf (6 goals) and four picture-perfect assists from John Pennell, the Wildcats ran off four unanswered goals in the first 4:47 of the third quarter to cut the gap to 12-9.
But that’s where the rally stopped.
Major found the back of the net three times in a span of 4:34 during a 5-0 spurt that ran the lead back up to 17-9, and the party was just about to get cranking.
“We started focusing better,” said Major of the third-quarter turnaround. “We settled down, and got some offensive possession time. We did a little bit of both, getting some transition goals off turnovers, too.”
OJR would get no closer than seven goals the rest of the way.
“I felt a sense of relief,” said Spring-Ford coach Kevin Donnelly. “I knew we could do it – this has been a long time coming. These kids worked hard all year, it’s a great bunch of guys.”
Those guys were coming unglued when the Wildcats staged their third-quarter run. But Donnelly settled his troops down, and the Rams responded.
“I just told them to relax,” Donnelly said, “and play their game. That’s what we talked about – to play like we are capable of playing.”
The Rams had shown their high-ceiling capabilities earlier this season with 16-11 and 17-4 victories over their old nemesis. Friday night, they made the passing of the torch official .
“They came out strong, but our kids gave it their all,” said OJR coach Jeff Neese. “Give them credit. They’re a darn good team. They just beat us with their speed and on faceoffs.”
Bock looked like the kid who had finally decked the neighborhood bully after suffering years of abuse. The pride and satisfaction were written all over his face.
“We came out and did what we were supposed to do,” Bock said. “This year we learned from the past. The heat was under us, but we worked hard at practice and kept stepping up.”
That step landed them right on the throne.
Spring-Ford 20, Owen J. Roberts 13
Owen J. Roberts 4 1 5 3 – 13
Spring-Ford 7 5 5 3 – 20
Owen J. Roberts
Chris Antich 3g
John Pennell 5a
Kevin Higgins 2g
Dylan Swope 2a
Kohl Batdorf 6g
Nate Blevins 1g
Jake Snelling 1g, 1a
Tyler Graham 1a
Mike Lenge 1a
Gabe Szczecinski 6 saves
Drew Thomas 4g, 2a
Paul Major 5g, 3a
Zach Monzo 1g, 2a
Thomas Pham 1g, 1a
Bjorn Ullman 1g
Troy Szostek 2g, 2a
Matt Glowacki 1g, 1a
Brian Bock 4g, 1a
Jackson Ranheim 1g
Jared Novia 7 saves
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