RED LION — On paper, Thursday night's match with Susquehannock was just another game on the regular-season schedule for the Red Lion boys' lacrosse team.
In reality, however, that would be underestimating its importance just a tad.
The truth was, the game was a huge deal for a Lions outfit seeking to extend its season into the York-Adams League and District 3 playoffs.
The significance of the contest (a win would clinch a berth in the four-team York-Adams League playoffs), combined with the added importance of Senior Night, made for a very memorable evening for the home side.
Especially those seniors.
After falling behind by a couple of goals early, Red Lion rallied back with a five-goal run that seized momentum. The Lions refused to give it back, cruising to an impressive 17-8 triumph over the Warriors.
Susquehannock (9-2 overall and 9-1 league) suffered its first league loss of the season. The Lions (11-2, 8-2), meanwhile, clinched that coveted league playoff berth.
The joy of knocking off the top team in the 12-team league was especially meaningful to seniors such as Tanner Reif, who missed some games early in the season. Losses earlier in the season to Dallastown and West York forced the Lions into catch-up mode and they've responded.
"We had a rough start to the season," said Reif, who finished with two goals and three assists. "But we've all played together and picked it up. We never quit."
That was also the case in the early going, when the Warriors raced out to a 2-0 lead just a few minutes into action. But it was junior Jac Gemmill (two goals, two assists) that sparked a 5-0 blitz by the home side that got the Lion fans and players alike pumped up.
While Gemmill started the blitz, it was ultimately sophomore Sam Emig who proved to be the big difference maker on Senior Night. The Lion attacker shredded the Warrior defense for six goals, including a trio in the third quarter, when the Lions all but put the game away.
Emig's six tallies pushed his season mark to 54.
"Sam is a heck of a player," Reif said. "He means everything to us. He's the third man on the attack and it's great to have a young guy come up the ranks and perform."
Another youngster on the Red Lion side is goalie Nick Serrano. Just a freshman, Serrano (10 saves) came up with some big stops.
"Our goalie played fantastic tonight," Red Lion coach Stefan Striffler said. "He gave up those two goals early but he definitely helped out a lot."
Striffler, who noted that his team had some injury woes earlier in the season, feels that his team's confidence level has grown along with its health.
"When we get on a roll, we're tough to stop," he said. "And tonight we were on a serious roll and we can just pump them in."
The setback marked the second loss in a week for the Warriors, who have a huge contest against Dallastown next Tuesday. Susquehannock coach Russ LeBlanc was not pleased with his team's defense at all Thursday. The 17 goals allowed were the most his team allowed all season.
"Tonight really came down to our team defense," LeBlanc said. "We had multiple breakdowns. I didn't think that we made the plays that we needed to make tonight."
Jack Allred led the Warriors with three goals while teammate Aiden Kirkendall chipped in two goals. Goalie Shane Silk, who faced 35 shots on the night, recorded 17 saves.
OTHER BOYS' LACROSSE
West York 19, Spring Grove 11: At West York, Hunter Betz and Devyn Roehm each had four goals and two assists to lead the Bulldogs. Seth Wise added four goals and one assist, while Tanner Brannon collected two goals and two assists and Nick Cintron chipped in two goals and an assist. Bryce Kephart led the Rockets with three goals and an assist. Dylan Griffiths and Tanner Bolton each added three Spring Grove scores. Cole Rinehart made seven saves to get the win in goal. Landon Ballou had eight saves for the Rockets.
Eastern 17, Kennard-Dale 1: At Wrightsville, Dom Particelli and Conrad Rhein led the Golden Knights by each scoring three goals and adding five assists. Also for Eastern, Brian Lehman had four goals and one assist, Tate Adamson had two goals and one assist and Nate Smith and Jimmy Kurnik each scored one goal and added one assist.
Central York 14, New Oxford 6: At Central York, the Panthers got four goals from Connor Hoch to cruise past the Colonials. Katon Yantek added a pair of goals and a pair of assists to the victorious cause. New Oxford's John Wilson scored three goals and added an assist.
York Suburban 10, Dallastown 9 (overtime): At Dallastown, Collin Mailman led the Trojans by scoring three goals and adding one assist. Also for Suburban, Joseph Sadock scored three goals, while Michael Sipes scored two goals and had one assist. For the Wildcats, Cade Gold scored three goals, Braven Morris scored two goals and Brian Prats had one goal and one assist. Suburban improved to 6-3 in the league and 8-4 overall, while Dallastown fell to 8-2 and 11-2.
York Catholic 14, South Western 9: At Hanover, Stevie Brenneman led the Irish by scoring four goals. Also for the Irish, Jacob Norton had three goals and two assists, Tommy Bowser had two goals and two assists, Tanner Yanick had four assists and Eddie Smith had two goals and one assist. For the Mustangs, Anthony DeVincent had five goals and one assist.
Kennard-Dale 24, Eastern York 5: At Fawn Grove, Morgan Day moved over the 400-goal mark for her career with an eight-goal, two assist performance. The senior now has 405 goals in her career. Lyndsey Duty (four goals, assist), Gillian Zimmerman (two goals, two assists), Emmie Dressel (three goals) and Maggie Biedermann (goal, two assists) also excelled for the winners. Riley Toomey had two goals and an assist for Eastern. K-D improved to 12-0 overall and 10-0 in the York-Adams League.
Susquehannock 20, Red Lion 2: At Glen Rock, Gena Speights (six goals, two assists), Ashley Valway (five goals, three assists) and Katelyn Welsh (four goals, four assists) powered the Warriors, who improved to 11-1 overall and 9-1 in the York-Adams League. Amber Orner made five saves to get the win in goal. Taylor Griffith made eight saves for the Lions.
Dallastown 18, Northern 9: At Dillsburg, the Wildcats dominated both halves, doubling up the Polar Bears in non-league play. Alyssa Layton's six-goal effort led the way for Dallastown, while Amber Dubois chipped in with four goals and an assist.
York Catholic 14, South Western 5: At York Catholic, a strong defensive effort in the second half by the Irish led them to a bounce-back victory over the Mustangs. Lindsey China had a five-point night for York Catholic, scoring four goals and adding an assist, while Shannon Moore continued her impressive senior campaign with a three-goal and three-assist performance. Lauren Schmidt led South Western with three goals, while Erin Brown and Gabriella DiRienza each added one.
West York 15, Spring Grove 5: At Spring Grove, Ally Williams turned in a four-goal, two-assist effort in leading the Bulldogs to victory. Teammate Amanda Lehman chipped in with three goals and an assist. Marisa Landaverde and Casey Franklin each scored two goals for the Rockets.