After a close first meeting between the rivals, the Nation Ford and Fort Mill boys’ lacrosse team geared up again for the regular season final as the Jackets came away with the Region IV title in the 19-12 win.
Both teams will open the playoffs in the coming week as Fort Mill finished the regular season at 7-6 and Nation Ford finished at 7-7. Fort Mill will open the playoffs hosting Riverside, while Nation Ford will play at Byrnes. Both first round games are April 17. The only way both teams would meet again this season would be in the state finals April 28 at Irmo.
Fort Mill was led by several players against Nation Ford, including Jack McGuire, who scored seven goals in the game for the double hat trick. The Jackets also had Trenton Wylie score four goals and Zach Terry and Ben Elia each got a hat trick as well.
The Jackets led from the opening whistle and despite the game getting aggressive between both schools, Fort Mill never gave up the lead.
“Our guys had a simple game plan,” said Fort Mill head coach Parker Thomas. “It’s tough when you play an emotional game like this.”
The Jackets struck first as they scored about two minutes into the game as Wylie scored. Fort Mill kept the pressure on winning the face off and scored a little over a minute later taking a 2-0 lead off Elia’s goal. Fort Mill went a man-up about midway through the first quarter to give them an advantage against the Falcons. That gave Wylie the opportunity he need as he would put the Jackets up 3-0 with his second goal of the game and roughly five minutes left in the quarter.
Nation Ford would finally get on the board as Vinny Catan would score for the Falcons with 3:55 on the clock. Fort Mill would come right back to score a minute later as McGuire would find the back of the net to extend the Jackets lead.
Wylie opened the second quarter for Fort Mill by clinching the hat trick as he scored 22 seconds into play giving the Jackets a 5-1 lead. Terry pushed their lead to 6-1 just 27 seconds later after Fort Mill won the face-off. The Jackets winning possession led to them controlling the game during the second quarter as Nation Ford struggled defensively to stop them.
Despite the deficit, the Falcons kept bringing the battle to Fort Mill as Alex Ramadanovic would score about 9:20 left in the half. The offense for both teams slowed down as the second quarter wore on. Elia scored his second goal of the game about midway through the second to extend the Fort Mill lead and stopped the scoring drought. Terry would also add another goal, his second, before the end of the half.
Nation Ford would add two goals, one from Zach Skidmore and one from Jack McCullough, before the half to cut into the Fort Mill lead. The Falcons came out in the second half winning the face off and scored a minute into play as Catan got his second goal of the game. Fort Mill bounced right back as Elia got a hat trick with his third goal of the game less than a minute later. McGuire would get a hat trick for himself about 40 seconds later for the Jackets as Fort Mill kept Nation Ford at bay.
Things got chippy between the rivals midway through the third quarter as the refs brought over both coaches and talked to them about their team’s aggressive play, as Nation Ford went two men down. McGuire would continue to take advantage for Fort Mill getting his fifth goal of the game and putting the Jackets up 13-5. Nation Ford would rally some before the end of the third as the Jackets would lead 15-9 heading into the fourth quarter.
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @MacBanksFM