May 25, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Anyone that wins six consecutive Section III Class B championships, as the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team has done, finds success on the field even when some parts of the game aren’t in full working order.
For example, the 2014 edition of the Red Rams has struggled to shut down opponents on the defensive side and pick up face-offs, things that past J-D teams could count on to be there.
So when those things are a problem – as they were in Saturday’s sectional Class B final against East Syracuse-Minoa at the Carrier Dome – it helps to have an explosive attack cover up all the weak spots, which it did in an emphatic manner during the Rams’ 23-13 victory over the Spartans.
What was an exciting, back-and-forth contest turned in J-D’s favor when it reeled off eight unanswered goals in a span of just eight minutes, covering the end of the first quarter and the start of the second period.
Senior Griffin Feiner, who finished with five goals and one assist, said the fact that J-D had seen ESM’s defensive alignment twice during the regular season (both sides won once) helped them adjust and flourish in the third and important encounter.
“We knew what they had,” said Feiner. “We just had to go out and execute.”
And the Rams pulled this off even though ESM finished up winning 27 of 39 faces-offs, most of it the product of Andrew Messinger’s terrific work in the center X against whomever J-D lined up against him.
Yet, as Spartans head coach Jon McCoy pointed out, “Andrew did a great job, but we didn’t capitalize.”
Only once was the game tied, at 2-2, midway through the first quarter, and that lasted all of 17 seconds before Griffin Feiner’s goal put the Rams ahead for good, and hinted at the bigger spurt ahead.
J-D head coach Jamie Archer said his offense had sputtered at times late in the regular season, in large part because the Rams were playing several games in short order due to schedule changes.
Thus, Archer and his coaching staff didn’t have time to practice and work on refining the attack until the nine-day break between the May 13 regular-season finale and the playoff opener last Thursday, when J-D romped past New Hartford 18-7 in the sectional semifinals.
That practice would yield even more good results in the Dome, especially after Joe Rosaschi’s goal at the 7:48 mark of the first quarter pulled ESM back within one, 4-3.
It all started with Brad Carr’s goal a minute after Rosaschi converted. Then Ryan Durkin flung in a hard shot from the point. Feiner returned for his third goal of the game and then, six seconds later, Durkin, getting a rare face-off win, charged down and scored again.
So that made it 8-3 going to the second quarter, but it continued to escalate. Grayson Burns found the net, and then Feiner put in his fourth and fifth goals, all in a 40-second span, before Burns converted a second time to cap J-D’s decisive 8-0 spurt.
To its credit, ESM didn’t back down, as all the face-offs that Messinger snagged led to chances and goals the rest of the game. In fact, early in the third quarter the Spartans charged back within five, 14-9, on goals from Messinger, Kollin Diedrickson and Noah Myers.
J-D absorbed all this and then answered again with three straight goals, two of them by Griffin Johnson, that made it 17-9, a hill too steep for ESM to overcome despite all the offense it would produce.
Ten different Spartans scored, with only Corey Haynes finding the net three times. Andrew Rosso, ESM’s leading scorer this season, had just one goal, as did Tom VanDeusen, Pat Bryant and Colton Webb.
Burns, meanwhile, matched Feiner’s five-goal output, with Johnson piling up seven assists to go with his pair of tallies. Carr, Ryan McKee and Anthony DiGiovanni stepped up with two goals apiece, McKee adding three assists.
J-D now heads back into the state Class B tournament, playing its first regional game next Wednesday against Section IV champion Vestal at 5:30 at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium.
ESM, meanwhile, ended with a 15-3 mark, its best in a decade, and a remarkable turnaround from a 6-10 campaign the season before.
“These kids worked tremendously hard,” said McCoy. “It was an honor to coach this group.”