A boys high school lacrosse game is 48 minutes long. Yet it didn't take all 48 minutes to effectively decide last Wednesday night's Section III Class B championship game at Coyne Field.
Unable to attack, or even get a sniff of possession in the first quarter, Jamesville-DeWitt fell into a hole it could not climb out of, and its reign as sectional and state champions ended in a 10-6 loss to the Carthage Comets.
"You don't know how kids will respond in a pressure situation," said head coach Jamie Archer. "Our kids played nervous, and we gave them (Carthage) too many plays."
Carthage claimed its first sectional title since 2002 -- and in the process, avenged an 11-10 defeat to J-D back on May 19, near the end of the regular season.
Following that, and a win over Whitesboro May 22, the Red Rams had to wait for more than a week before going into post-season play --which turned out to be a narrow 8-7 escape over Cortland in the May 31 Class B semifinals at Coyne.
Archer said his team may have lost a bit of the sharp focus, confidence and momentum it had gained late in the regular season by waiting so long to get into the playoffs.
"You can't explain it," he said. "Sometimes, you get out of a rhythm."
Regardless of the circumstances, though, J-D knew exactly what kind of challenge Carthage posed -- a team brimming with offensive talent and defensive prowess, hungry to end a six-year championship drought, and bent on payback against the team it had lost to 16 days before.
And from the time the Comets won the opening face-off and converted it into Zach Mulvaney's goal 46 seconds into the game, the challengers had complete control.
Mulvaney and Rob Grimm combined to win the game's first six face-offs. Once that was done, the Comets settled into a patient, possession-oriented attack, not so much to slow the game down but to keep it away from J-D's potent attack.