Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/20/14
Hero award winner Cody Mazurek scored four goals and Zach Drake had three as La Salle opened its season tonight with a 13-7 win over DeMatha (MD) in the 5th annual Fallen Heroes Game at at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Md.
The game honors the memory of two true American heroes: First LT. Travis Manion (La Salle), who died in Iraq in 2007; and his best friend and roommate from the US Naval Academy, Navy SEAL, Lt. Brendan Looney (DeMatha), who died in Afghanistan in 2010.
Aidan Kerrigan and Brett Baskin each added two goals for the Explorers, who led just 8-7 after three periods but pulled away in the final quarter.
Kevin Lacon and Chris Hladczuk each scored once and Anthony Giuliani won 16 of 25 face-offs while goalie Conor Scafidi made 10 saves.
DeMatha fell to 2-3.
Mazurek was awarded the La Salle “Hero Hustle Award” that typifies the great spirit and skills of the two fallen heroes. Besides his goals, Mazurek, a junior, stood out on the face-off wing and an defensive midfield who also playing on man-up and man-down situation.
“I thunk we played like a Philadelphia team that hadn’t had a game yet against a Baltimore team that had played five games,” said La Salle coach Bill Leahy. “We looked to be in scrimmage mode in the first half and they looked like they were in game mode. It was our first time out, but once we got to the second half and got our act together we played harder and Anthony started to control the face-offs.”
Leahy said the teams always stand side by side, alternating players by team, before the game. The captains honor the families of Travis and Brendan with flowers and a student sings the national anthem.
This year’s game had extra emotion because just last month Brendan’s mother, Maureen, died after a lengthy bout with cancer. Travis’ mother, Janet, died 3 years ago.
“Both of the boys’ mothers have passed away from cancer; now you have two schools that didn’t really know each other are intertwined by the loss of their heroic sons and passing of their moms,” Leahy said.
When Travis died he was originally buried in a family plot near his hometown. However, after Brendan passed away, the decision was made to bury both men side by side at Arlington National Cemetery. The decision to do this made national news and was covered by all of the major networks.
The first “Fallen Heroes Game” game was played in 2011 at the Naval Academy. Game two was held in 2012 at La Salle, in 2013 the game was held at Catholic University in Washington D.C. and last year the game was held at Penn University’s Penn Park.
Travis played lacrosse in high school and wrestled at Navy. Brendan played football and baseball at DeMatha. At Navy, he played football and lacrosse, and was a key member of the Navy team that went to the National Championship Game in 2004.
La Salle now leads the series, 4-1.
La Salle 3-3-2-5- 13
DeMatha 3-2-2-0- 7
Tags: La Salle