On paper, South Forsyth’s boys lacrosse matchup with West Forsyth on Friday night was an important one, but improving their position in the area standings wasn’t the goal that was sticking in the minds of the War Eagles’ seniors.
For the last three years, every meeting against the Wolverines ended in a loss. They had to go back to their time in eighth grade selects to remember the feeling of victory against them.
So when South ran out the clock on a 12-5 win over West on Friday night, the ensuing celebration was an outburst of relief. Players sprinted from the sidelines onto the field in a show of emotion that could have been confused for one that followed a playoff win.
“Being a senior, it means a lot,” Nolan McDonald said. “We definitely had to come out with a lot of hype to get us fired up and going.”
It took both teams some time to get going early, with McDonald scoring the game’s first goal with 4:29 left in the first quarter. Two minutes later, West (4-5, 0-2 Class 6-7A Area 6) scored when Chris Neal took advantage of a man up opportunity to tie it 1-1. South (6-2 overall, 3-2) scored two straight after that, but Ryan Dickerson made it 3-2 entering the second quarter. Ryan Lightsey scored on a Max Kane assist with a minute left in the half, but Dickerson countered with five seconds left, keeping South’s lead at just one.
“We needed a spark,” South Director of Lacrosse Bob Hamley said. “We needed to get that spread. It was a one-goal game for much of the first half, and we wanted to spread it to two or three goals so we could take it from there. We knew they were going to try to win a 6-5 game and we had to turn it on a bit.”
To do that, the War Eagles knew they had to win more faceoffs, and Ethan Duerk was put in those situations in the third to help do that. South owned possession in the second half, and the War Eagles’ third quarter essentially put the game away. They outscored West 8-1 for the rest of the game.
McDonald’s connection with Will Wychoff during that span was a very productive one, as Wychoff scored three second half goals from McDonald assists, with the last one being a nifty shot from behind the back with 1:52 to play.
“It's always been like that with him,” McDonald said. “We’ve done that since sixth grade, so we definitely know how to communicate.”
Undefeated Lambert is the undisputed favorite to win the region, but South is in the running to finish right behind them. If the second half on Friday is any indication, the War Eagles have the ability to do just that.
“Lambert's undefeated and we lost to them, so it's kind of for second or third place,” Hamley said. “We’re hoping we can keep going in the region and get second place. That's what we want.”
Josh Bell scored West’s only two second half goals. Wychoff led the War Eagles with four scores, while McDonald and Max Kane finished with two each.