Along the way to a second state Class B championship in four years, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team had a fair share of setbacks, especially with key injuries late in the season.
But it never lost.
Perfect right to the end, the Red Rams sealed that unbeaten 22-0 mark for all time Saturday at Stony Brook University's LaValle Stadium, toppling Garden City 11-5 to earn the biggest prize possible.
Right after J-D toppled Irondequoit in the state semifinals on Thursday, the team boarded a bus Friday morning for Long Island, expecting a steep challenge.
Garden City's defense had been shutting down teams all season, a real concern for someone as potent as J-D was. To that end, head coach Jamie Archer and assistant Bob Elmer plotted to go right at the Trojans, and see if it worked.
Still getting used to the unfamiliar opponent and turf, J-D actually trailed, 2-1, midway through the first quarter before Eric DeJohn tied it, signaling the start of the Rams' dominion over Garden City.
It began, again, on the back line. Defensive MVP Dima Bakrukov joined Mac Feiner and Matt Firman as, together, they kept the Trojans off the board for more than 19 minutes, a drought that stretched from the second period until the start of the fourth quarter. Dan DiStefano made key early stops on his way to seven saves.
By then, it was all decided. J-D used a well-balanced attack to streak out to a 6-3 lead, then got further momentum when freshman Jordan Evans connected on a shot one second before the halftime horn.
That 7-3 margin grew to 10-3 in the third period as Alex Hatem scored twice in that frame. Garden City's drought finally ended in the fourth quarter, but J-D, with this big lead, could afford cool patience the rest of the way.