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Central York boys' lacrosse face off get off all-star Kollin Vaught talks about taking faceoffs and how his game is aided by his teammates. Elijah Armold, York Dispatch

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There’s an old idiom which states that “possession is nine-tenths of the law.”

It’s based on an old common-sense observation that if you have control of something, chances are better than average that it’s yours.

In order to apply such a phrase to a sport such as lacrosse, however, it just needs a slight alteration.

It would read “possession is nine-tenths of the offense.”

The common-sense observation being that, if you have control of the ball, chances are better than average that you score. Especially in lacrosse, where tight, high-scoring affairs tend to be the norm among the top teams. So, every extra opportunity on offense is crucial.

Just about every lacrosse coach you talk to will tell you gaining those paramount possessions all starts with having the ability to dominate "The X."

Season of standout face-off talents: Perhaps no recent season embodies that notion more than the 2018 York-Adams League campaign. It was one that saw a pair of the area’s best players fuel the league’s top statistical offenses and lead their squads to great success.

With Central York's upset loss to Penn Manor on Wednesday in the District 3 Class 3-A first round, the area saw the completion of what many consider to be the best face-off talent to come through the league in its short history.

Senior Kollin Vaught won an outstanding 88 percent of his face-offs taken (289 of 329, according to stats on MaxPreps.com) this season, while also adding a scoring touch (16 goals) that would often see him scoop, sprint and score all on his own.

During the Y-A playoff semifinals vs. Dallastown, Vaught won the 1,000th face-off of his career — a mark that is believed to be a York County record and a feat that some speculate is rare nationally as well.

For his efforts, Vaught was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year by its coaches recently.

Central ran through the regular season undefeated at 16-0 before falling in the league title game to York Catholic in overtime. It was rematch of the 2017 title game, a year when Vaught and company ran through the regular season as well before capturing the crown.

Vaught suffered a torn hamstring early in the third quarter of the 2018 title tilt, in what was a rematch with the league’s other standout face-off specialist in the Irish’s Andrew Snelbaker. Vaught was also subsequently unavailable for the Panthers' District 3 opener against the Comets.

Those loses can’t solely be pinned on Vaught’s absence, mostly because a player of the same last name, Kollin's younger brother Brady, filled in admirably for his older sibling throughout the successful season.

Brady Vaught held his own with Snelbaker, winning four of their 10 draws, including the opener to start overtime which gave the Panthers (17-2) first crack at a county-clinching golden goal. He showed a promising future at the position by winning 60 of 84 face-offs taken during the regular season.

Snelbaker also a standout: While one of the best face-off careers in league history is wrapped up, another is still in very much in progress.

Much like Vaught, York Catholic’s Snelbaker is a reason often cited for his team going on sustained scoring sprees while capturing the league championship.

In fact, head coach Shane Harper couldn’t credit the junior enough for being the reason Catholic (16-4) earned the program’s first PIAA berth after a hard-fought 12-11 victory vs. Hershey on Wednesday in the District 3 Class 2-A quarterfinals.

Snelbaker won 23 of the game’s 26 face-offs, critical to the Irish limiting the Trojans’ attempt at a comeback. For the season, Snelbaker has won 342 of the 423 face-offs, good enough for an 81 percent success rate.  

He also has his own ability to go from the "X" to the back of the net in a blink, scoring 20 goals, pulling off the feat five times in a 20-8 win against Dallastown in the Irish’s regular-season finale — a victory that set the tone for their playoff run.

Snelbaker and Vaught provided a pair of entertaining battles on the "X" this season, each coming in games that were decided by one goal. Overall, the two plied their trades head-to-head 39 times, with Vaught’s Panthers coming away with possession 26 times.

The Irish standout was selected by the coaches as this year’s second-team face-off specialist. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Snelbaker will look to be the top pick during his senior season.

The other boys’ lacrosse team still alive in playoffs is Susquehannock, which also recently earned its first PIAA berth. The Warriors feature the league’s honorable mention face-off specialist in Ben Wilson.

Other awards: Susquehannock head coach Russ LeBlanc was named the league’s Coach of the Year. The Warriors are 15-4 and earned a spot in the league tournament after going 11-2 in league play. Susquehannock then entered the District 3 Class 2-A playoffs as the No. 3 seed, and they’ve since reached Monday’s semifinals.

Dallastown’s Steve Werner collected the other major player award, winning Defensive Player of the Year honors. Werner helped the Wildcats (13-5) secure the final league playoff spot with a victory over rival Red Lion to close the regular season. Dallastown also earned a District 3 Class 3-A playoff berth in 2018.

According to Dallastown's MaxPreps site, Werner finished the season with 59 ground balls and 47 takeaways. He also had five assists.

The rest of the York-Adams League all-league all-stars are as follows:

FIRST TEAM

Attack

Ethan Pickett, Dallastown; Cole Witman, York Catholic; Zeb Hollinger, Spring Grove

Midfield

Dimitri Amalfitano, York Catholic; Connor Hoch, Central; Alex Kilgour, Central

Defense

Steve Werner, Dallastown; Chris Brandstedter, Central; Justin Shocker, York Suburban

Face Off Specialist

Kollin Vaught, Central

Short Stick Defensive Midfield

Jason Weger, Susquehannock

Long Stick Midfielder

Nate Downey, Dallastown

Goalie

Blake Wallace, York Suburban

SECOND TEAM

Attack

Dominic Corto, York Suburban; Chandler Hake, York Catholic; Ryan Fahs, Central

Midfield

Braden Dunn, Southwestern; Adam Rebich, Susquehannock; Ryan Dodson, Dallastown

Defense

Ricky Pokrivka, York Catholic; Patrick Lichty West York; Daniel Clapp, Susquehannock

Face Off Specialist

Drew Snelbaker, York Catholic

Short Stick Defensive Midfield

Robert Pugh, Dallastown

Long Stick Midfielder

Jay Nazarenus, Red Lion

Goalie

Conner Kernan, Susquehannock

HONORABLE MENTION

Attack

Elijah Workinger, Red Lion; Ryan Kilgour, Central York; Tanner Haines, Dallastown

Midfield

Bryce Gavin, York Suburban; Ben Hornberger, Red Lion; Bryce Henise, Eastern York

Defense

Kyle Dormer, York Catholic; Tristian Brown, Dallastown; Ethan Eckert, Dallastown

Face Off Specialist

Ben Wilson, Susquehannock

Short Stick Defensive Midfield

Maddie Moore, Spring Grove

Long Stick Midfielder

Josh Hall, Delone Catholic

Goalie

Nick Race, Southwestern        

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