Coach B. Powless
We started on the cold half frozen parking lot at LaFayette HS in the first week of March. Snow banks lined our parking lot field as we started out with high hopes for the season of a Sectional title and onto a State Championship. But to get there we needed to work together. The boys from the nation included seniors Derek Bennett and Gehnew Printup, juniors Miles Thompson, Shaye Thomas and Tim Printup, sophomore Lyle Thompson and freshman Austin Cavender who were among the 24 players to put forth the effort in those first cold weeks to become a winning team.
The season started with an early test to how well we worked to become a team as we faced last year’s sectional B champion Jamesville Dewitt. There was a large crowd to watch the much anticipated opening game of the revamped Lancers. Derek and Austin were returning players from the 2008 squad but this year they would be joined by Tim, Shaye, and the return to LaFayette of Gehnew and Miles and Lyle. The Lancers jumped out to an early 3-1 first quarter lead and at half were up 6-1. The effort led to the team’s first win, 8-4 over JD, with Miles leading the way with 4 goals and 2 assists. But the team was wasn’t satisfied with the effort. They boys could work harder, and they did.
Soon the Lancers were tearing through the season knocking off all opponents. The other schools in the state began to take notice as the Lancers began to rise in the state and national lacrosse rankings. Yet, the boys kept the goal in site of winning a sectional title.
As it often does, history repeats itself and the Lancers found themselves on a 19 game winning streak and facing Ron Doctor’s Skaneateles Lakers for the Class C title. A few weeks ago, the team traveled to Skaneateles and pulled out a fourth quarter rally to defeat the Lakers 13-9 in very heated and contested battle. The Lakers came to the title game to try to avenge their only loss of the season by defeating LaFayette. But this time the Lancers would not need a forth quarter rally to win this on as Lyle won the draw and raced down to score seconds into the game. By halftime the Lancers were up 7-2 and despite a Skaneateles rally, would win 14-10. Paced by Miles’ 5 goals 3 assists, Lyle’s 4 goals and 4 assists and Gehnew’s 2 goals, the Lancers were Sectional champions and were off to meet their next foe, Salmon River.
Miles and Lyle provided the scouting report for the Shamrocks as last year both played for Salmon River. It was good to see so many friends and cousins come down from Akwesasne for another much anticipated game of two undefeated teams. As the LaFayette bus pulled in, we were greeted by waves and the smells of barbeque as the Mohawks were ready for the game and so were the boys. Lyle won the first three face-offs and within 45 seconds, LaFayette had a 3-0 lead and didn’t look back. By the end of the first quarter, the score was 10-0. With the 21-10 win over Salmon River, it set up a State semi-final with another similar foe, Penn Yan.
The semi-final was held in Rochester where the Lancers were to meet Penn Yan who is coached by former Redhawk Brian Hobart (from the old ILA days) and his Penn Yan team is a very disciplined team. But for the third game in a row the LaFayette Lancers were able to build a lead and went into the half with a 8-3 lead. Penn Yan rallied but the Lancers were up to the task winning 10-6 and off to the State Championship game.
There the upstate champion meets the downstate champion which this year meant the LaFayette would play the Manhassett Indians for the tile, again. In 2005, the two teams met in a great game which the Lancers went up early only to see the Indians tie if up late before the Lancers were able to score a goal in the closing seconds to win the title. This year the game was different. Mahassett went out to a 5-0 lead and it wasn’t until a few minutes into the second quarter did the Lancers scored their first goal of the championship. At the half, the Lancers were down 8-4 and it looked like the game was to be out of reach as the Indians built a 12-4 lead in the 3rd quarter. But the team who worked so hard since those opening weeks on the frozen parking lot didn’t quit. The Lancers then rallied scoring the next six goals to take momentum and bring the crowd to its feet screaming for a comeback. Unfortunately the rally fell short as Manhassett scored the next 4 before the Lancers scored one to end the game with a 16-11 loss.
Although the final goal of winning a State Championship was a few goals short, this team accomplished a lot. They had the longest winning streak in the State with 21 wins and they tied with the second best record in LaFayette’s 50 year history of lacrosse. And although we are losing a great senior class, it has given the underclassmen the fire to get back to next year.
Bennett, Derek- 1st team All League defense, 3rd team All CNY, and defensive MVP Senior game.
Cavender, Austin – Honorable Mention Midfield
Printup, Gehnew – 1st team All League attack, and 2nd team All CNY
Tim Printup – Started 5 games, .657 save percentage
Thomas, Shaye – 14 goals & 5 assists
Thompson, Lyle – 1st team All League midfield and 1st team All CNY
Thompson, Miles- All American, 1st team All League attack, and 1st team All CNY.