All in all, it was a great day to be red.
Shut out of state championships for more than two decades, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team put an end to that drought Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse, beating John Jay-Cross River 13-11 to climb to the top.
"It's an awesome feeling, I can't even describe it," said senior defender Brian Karalunas. "There's nothing like bringing this championship back home."
None of the current Red Rams players were born in 1986, the only time the school won a state title. Yet head coach Jamie Archer said the team was more motivated by its early departure from the 2006 post-season at the hands of New Hartford in the Section III Class B final.
"Losing in that final stayed in their heads," said Archer. "And these guys have worked from day one and dedicated themselves to erasing that memory. This is their reward."
It was a great accomplishment for both teams to be in the final. John Jay (21-3) had defeated Huntington, the two-time defending state champions, and snapped that team's 63-game winning streak.
J-D had knocked out Geneva in its state semifinal, marking the second time the Rams had appeared in the title game in three years.
The large crowd at Bragman Stadium enjoyed a state final that was exciting, competitive, and hard fought -- but in the end, went in J-D's favor.
John Jay controlled the first period and cruised to a 4-1 lead. The Indians took advantage of its size, setting screens and breaking down J-D's defense with high percentage shots that led to scores. John Jay had a balanced offense that allowed four different players - Brian Douglas, Kevin Stockel, Kevin Drew, and Chris Bocklet -- to score.
In the second period, J-D rose to the challenge and fought back. Archer said that he told his players not to be intimidated of John Jay's size and to keep attacking, and it worked.