By Jason Klaiber and Chris Wood
Managing Editor of Promotions and Editor-In-Chief
As spring arrives, we welcome warmer temperatures and the smell of freshly-mowed grass. The springtime also sees the annual return of lacrosse sticks and eye-catching hairdos at Jamesville-DeWitt High School.
Last year’s J-DHS Varsity Boys Lacrosse team worked wonders, losing only two games during their season. Since then, the Red Rams have undergone quite the sea change. They’ve lost 17 of their players who graduated last year. The team doesn’t have as much collective experience, with this year’s roster being comprised of only seven seniors. The total number of team members has also diminished to 27, as opposed to the more than 30 players on last year’s roster. “We definitely miss the depth that we had last year,” says senior and team captain Griffin Johnson. Johnson adds that even though this season’s schedule isn’t as challenging due to the addition of Chittenango to the league, longtime rival West Genesee as well as Fairport will be “tough tests” due to their consistently strong lacrosse programs.
These obstacles haven’t disturbed the team’s ambition. Despite a smaller, less experienced group of players, Johnson believes that the team is full of talent and will steadily improve as the season goes on. “We’ve got high hopes and I expect a lot out of this team,” he says. “We have a great team and great senior leadership,” says senior Brad Carr; “Overall we’re a pretty young team but we’ve got high expectations for this year. With this team, the coaches we have, and the players we have, we set our goals super high. We believe we’re the best team and no one can beat us.”
Even though the team lost such playmakers as Jordan Evans and Scott Firman, who are both now playing for the Syracuse University lacrosse team, senior Jason Alweis believes his team can “go on a good run this season and hopefully go undefeated.” Sophomore Grayson Burns believes that if the team works together efficiently, they’re capable of winning their first state title since 2011. “We’re gonna keep working on getting better everyday,” says junior Ryan Durkin; “We’re excited to make a run at (the state championship) this year and we’re hoping for the best.” Senior Kyle Glauber believes that the team will “go far” this year. “We look very talented,” says Glauber; “Hopefully we’ll get to the place we need to be, which is a state championship.” Head coach Jamie Archer believes that if the team can patch things up on defense and become even stronger on offense, the same goals and expectations will be put in place. “We want to win sectionals and go as far as we can,” he says.
In order to maintain the team’s level of success, Coach Archer intends on implementing the same core coaching techniques and drills as previous years. Besides this, the team has been successful in filling in the gaps left by last year’s seniors. “It’s difficult losing guys who have been on the team for the past four years but it gives an opportunity for new people to step up as captains and take control of the team,” says Glauber; “people are finding the right places on the team.” Johnson has adapted to his role as captain by becoming more vocal and encouraging players to stay focused while being a motivator during practices and games. “High intensity is always good,” says Johnson, “so anything I have to do to get that going is what I have to do.” Senior and captain Ryan McKee feels that his job as captain includes leading by example in big games.
Furthermore, defensive coordinator Jeff Ike, who replaced Coach Bob Elmer this year, is seen as a helpful addition to the team. “He seems to have picked up the knowledge pretty quickly,” says Johnson; “he’s brought a lot to our team and he’s a great motivator.” Johnson also says that Coach Ike helps the inexperienced members of the team’s defense with their skills and positioning. “He brings in discipline and conditioning to the team,” says Burns; “We all came in as if we run Section III, but I think Ike brings us back down to earth and lets us know that we have to come out to play everyday and come out with 110 percent.” “He brings discipline, excitement, and intensity to the team and I think he’s a great addition,” says Durkin. Carr and Alweis agree that Ike gets them “pumped” and “ready to play.” Having coached football, boys basketball and girls lacrosse at J-DHS, Coach Ike is knowledgeable about fostering a successful defense. He also has a well-established reputation for being loud in his coaching, which balances out with Coach Archer’s “more reserved” approach. “Anyone who’s out there playing or standing near me on the sideline knows I’m with them from start to finish,” says Coach Ike; “I think they appreciate knowing that every second of the game sees my intensity even though I’m not playing.”
The team’s current overall record is 3-1. So far, they’ve defeated Chittenango, Whitesboro, and Fulton. They lost their second game of the season in a matchup against East Syracuse Minoa.