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Lacrosse: South's historic season ends in Elite Eight
Photo courtesy David Uidel

By Noah Rubin 

For the Forsyth County News

When an incredible run comes to an end, it’s always a bittersweet moment.

Playing the furthest into the state tournament the program had ever been, South Forsyth's boys lacrosse team fell Friday to Centennial, 15-11. 

Despite the loss, South head coach Steve Hurlbut was proud of his players.

“It wasn’t the coaches,” Hurlbut said. “It was the players. It was the seniors trying to rally the others guys. Ethan Duerk really did a great job of that. Just getting everybody to give it their all and leave it out on the field, and I’m so proud of this group for doing that. They fought to the end.”

Fighting until the final horn in an elimination game isn’t easy. Every time it seemed like the team would roll over, the War Eagles turned the momentum back around. 

The Knights struck first in the game, jumping out to a 6-1 lead early in the second quarter. After Zach Layne scored the lone goal for South in the first quarter, Andrew Canaway, Ryan Lightsey, and Clay Walsh each scored a goal before halftime to cut the deficit to 7-4.

Hurlbut credited the energy of the Knights as the main factor in the game.

“They just kind of out hustled us,” Hurlbut said. “It took us a little bit before we could make some adjustments. We just ran out of time. We were putting something together at the end, but it just didn’t work out our way.”

Centennial took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring South 5-1 in the period. Layne’s second unassisted goal of the game was the only score for the War Eagles in the quarter.

After the Knights scored two more goals early in the fourth quarter, South finally started to get its offense rolling. 

The War Eagles scored six goals in the final 10 minutes of the game, including a stretch late in the period where they scored three goals in 35 seconds. 

Layne and Lightsey each scored two goals in the period, and Canaway and Walsh each added another goal in the quarter.

While their season may have ended, Hurlbut, who will coach next season at East Forsyth High School, had a bigger picture attitude about what the team could take away from the game and the season.

“It didn’t go the way you want, but that’s high school sports,” Hurlbut said. “That’s part of the lesson you learn, is that sometimes in life things aren’t going to work out the way you want it. Even if you work hard, you put in all this time, that doesn’t mean things are going to go your way. The good guys don’t always win.”

It’s that type of leadership and desire for his players to grow that made Hurlbut beloved during his time with South Forsyth. The impact he’s made on the program since he joined it in 2005 was displayed by the players, fans and alumni after the game ended.