Herzog covers high school sports as a writer and columnist. His primary area of coverage is football,
When it comes to lacrosse, Long Island knows its ABCs.
Saturday's performance at the state finals at Middletown High School, a lavish facility replete with college-type press box and pro-type DiamondVision scoreboard, was letter perfect, as boys lacrosse teams from Long Island won all three state titles for the third time since the C division was created in 2000.
In Class B, Garden City won its first state crown since 2000 and fifth overall, pulling away from Irondequoit, 11-4, to complete a 22-0 season. (GC's girls team also won the state title, their seventh straight.)
In none of the boys' games was the outcome in doubt by the start of the fourth quarter. This sweep was pure domination, a coronation for three traditional lacrosse powers and three lacrosse-mad communities. And it was a message to other regions such as Baltimore, Westchester County, central New York, suburban Philadelphia, New Jersey and Massachusetts: When it comes to high school lacrosse, you are voted off the Island.
For both of those teams, the 2012 success story began after heartbreaking season-ending losses in 2011. "We did not forget that game," Garden City attack Liam Kennedy said of last spring's 8-7 loss to Jamesville-DeWitt in the state final with three seconds left in overtime. "It definitely was a motivator. We didn't want to feel like that again."
Trojans coach Steve Finnell, who won his first state title, went so far as to say, "This season doesn't happen without last year's outcome."
For West Islip, the nation's No. 1-ranked team after state titles in 2008 and 2009, last season ended with a shocking 10-9 overtime loss to Farmingdale in the Long Island championship that ended a 40-game winning streak. "They won a county championship last year but they weren't satisfied," Lions coach Scott Craig said. "We had a senior group that learned how to win."
Shoreham-Wading River's third state title, and first since 2007, was poignant because star midfielder Trevor Brosco was knocked from the game on a flagrant elbow to the head after scoring in the first 13 seconds. The penalty led to another Wildcats' goal 13 seconds later. But Brosco couldn't even watch from the sideline, as he was sent to a hospital for tests.
SWR coach Tom Rotanz said Sunday, "He definitely has a concussion, but he's home now." Brosco's championship medal was accepted on the field by the other three captains, Tim Rotanz, Chris Mahoney and Dylan Bates. "A nice touch," Tom Rotanz said.
So was this tableau: On Saturday night, when the team arrived back in Shoreham after the 2 1/2-hour bus ride, to a police escort and a waiting catered, Italian dinner at the high school, Brosco stopped by briefly to greet his teammates. Tim Rotanz, the coach's son, approached Brosco, reached out his hand and joked, "Hey Trevor, I'm Tim Rotanz." Brosco laughed and so did the rest of the Wildcats.
It was a weekend of recognition and good cheer all around for Long Island. As Garden City star attack Devin Dwyer said after the Class B championship game: "I don't even know how to act now. There's nothing to do but smile."