Having won state Class B championships in the past, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team knows that the only ranking that counts is the one taken at season's end.
Still, it had to be quite an honor that, in the wake of the its dramatic, come-from-behind 7-6 win at Carthage on May 15, the undefeated Red Rams moved to no. 1 in the ensuing state Class B poll.
Yet just as soon as J-D reached the top, the whole thing got thrown into jeopardy.
At a routine practice just after the Carthage game, Jake Bratek, the team's leading scorer, suffered a broken collarbone, which might cost the Syracuse University-bound senior the rest of the season.
Stunned by this, J-D had to go back on the field Tuesday night to face New Hartford. As what often happens, a team without an injured star rallied together -- and the Rams sure did so in a 24-2 romp over the Spartans.
The first half was frightening enough. Not content with the 8-1 lead it built in the first quarter, J-D set out in the second period and racked up 12 unanswered goals -- an average of one per minute -- so that it could lead 20-1 and rest the starters in the late going.
Eric DeJohn, sure to be the main focus of defenders in Bratek's absence, had five goals and one assist while Tim Edwards and McLaren Brady each had three-goal hat tricks.
Close behind them, Joe Shepard, Peter Goss and Ian Gilchriest each had two goals, while Lucas Johnson managed a goal and three assists and Cam Stone had four assists.
Ed Kiesa had one goal and two assists as Rob Elbers, Alex Hatem and Steven Aziz earned single tallies. Deke Burns added an assist.
Two nights later, J-D would try and complete an undefeated regular season at 12-3 Cortland, a good chance to find just how much the loss of Bratek would affect them against a high-quality opponent.