The day every high school sports athlete dreams of has arrived for the boys varsity lacrosse team: the MHSAA State Championship. For the fourth time in just as many years, the Rangers will take the field playing for the goal they have been trying to reach all year.
For the past three years, FHC has taken on East Grand Rapids in each championship game, winning one and losing two. However, after the Pioneers fell to Forest Hills Eastern 9-6 in the State semifinals, the FHE Hawks are this year’s opponent. The Rangers and the Hawks have already played this year, and FHC took home that game easily with a 17-4 win.
In that game, the Hawks opted to double team senior Luke Majick, which opened up opportunities for the rest of the offense. Junior Jackson Clay showed what he has been capable of all season, scoring 5 goals while also dishing out 4 assists. Senior Brett Koczenasz also had a breakout game, scoring 3 times and assisting once. However, FHE did create some pressure on the FHC defense, but senior goalie Jack Nolan was there to hold them off with his 8 saves.
After falling to the Rangers, the Hawks have had mixed results. While the games were played against high-quality opponents, the fashion in which FHE lost to Hartland, Rockford, and Detroit Catholic Central is what was concerning for the Hawks. These losses were by 9, 5, and 16 goals, with the blowout losing coming against DCC, a team the Rangers defeated.
However, FHE has also added some solid wins as of late. Wins against EGR, Spring Lake, and Flint Powers Catholic were all momentum building results, and the Hawks will obviously look to use that momentum to take down the Rangers. Against East Grand Rapids, FHE’s Kevin Sprague scored 7 goals to lead them past the Pioneers, and they are looking like a dangerous team.
Unfortunately for Eastern, the team that stands in their way of a championship happens to be FHC, a squad that has gone 21-1 throughout the season and is currently ranked 9th in Maxpreps.com’s national rankings. Also, that one loss for the Rangers came against Brother Rice, who sits at 4th in the nation.
Excluding the slow start against Forest Hills Northern in the Regional finals, the Rangers have been rolling all season, especially as of late. Even in that Regional final, FHC won 17-4, proving they can pull off big results with the talent level they have. Each playoff game has been won by at least 13 goals, and the offense continues to pour in goals. Jackson has scored 5 goals in eight consecutive games, and the rest of the offense is performing well too. Luke Majick continues to produce, whether it’s with his ball movement or scoring.
The State Championship will take place today, June 8th, at 4:30 p.m. at Howell Parker Middle School, and the Rangers will be looking to take home the trophy for the second time in four years against their crosstown rival.