Saving his best for last: Indians senior goalie leads honorees
All-County Boys Lacrosse
by Chris Goltermann
Holding an opponent to just under nine goals in a game doesn’t sound impressive. In boys high school lacrosse, however, it’s a tougher feat than you’d think.
And who was in goal at East Coweta High this spring was just important to the Indians’ continued success as the folks who were putting balls in the net during another trip to the GHSA Class AAAAAA state playoffs.
In 10 of 16 games this year, East Coweta held opponents to single digits en route to again claiming local bragging rights by holding on to its Coweta Cup title and returning to the postseason after battling three tough opponents from Cobb County in Area 1-AAAAAA.
It’s a big reason why the Indians lead the 2014 Newnan Times-Herald All-County team with eight selections including our Player of the Year in senior goalie Brian DeBole.
With DeBole in the goal, East Coweta finished 9-7 and held on for the No. 3 seed in 1-AAAAAA behind Harrison and Hillgrove.
One of his top performances against Kennesaw Mountain helped the Indians overtake the Mustangs for third in the division. A 11-8 win featured DeBole stopping 70-percent of his shots on goal.
Moving on to play at Division II Brevard University, the East Coweta senior stopped 55-percent of his shots on goal, an above average number for high school lacrosse while stopping 157 of 284 attempts.
Even in games that got away, DeBole tried to stand his ground. He made 17 saves in a loss to 1-AAAAAA champion Harrison and helped the Indians hang around with Hillgrove after trailing by five at halftime in a game that ended in a heartbreaking loss in overtime.
All three local programs, however, are well represented with Northgate netting six players on the All-County team following a 7-11 campaign. Newnan had four players honored during a 4-13 season.
It comes after several standouts were named to this year’s All South Metro Boys Lacrosse Team, comprised of programs from south Fulton County, Fayette and Coweta.
Along with DeBole, who was an honorable mention on the South Metro squad, East Coweta relied heavily on its senior class on both ends of the field during a season where three players all scored 38 goals or more.
On attack, Bryce Durden led Indians scorers in 2014 with 52 goals while repeating All-County honors. He added three assists and eight ground balls while named to the All South Metro Second Team.
Teammate Connor McMeen was East Coweta’s top set-up man and one of its most versatile players while able to play either on attack or at midfield. Despite missing time to an injury, he finished with 45 goals and 22 assists while expecting to move on to play at the Air Force Academy. McMeen also had 35 ground balls while among leaders at both positions while named to the All South Metro First Team.
Along with Durden and McMeen, teammate Lee Steed created a three-headed monster for East Coweta on offense. The second team All South Metro selection finished with 38 goals and six assists but equally came up big against top competition. Steed scored three goals in an 11-8 win over Kennesaw Mountain and had a pair in the Indians’ 11-10 overtime loss to Hillgrove.
Senior defensemen Logan Wilson and Jay McKnight also represented East Coweta on the All-County team. Also expected back next year for the Indians are junior attack Carter Byrum and junior midfielder Adam Cahir, whose top efforts included a hat trick against Newnan and two goals in the Indians’ state-playoff loss at Roswell.
While a dozen upperclassmen dominate this year’s All-County lineup, Northgate sophomore Clayton Francisco provided an immediate glimpse toward success going forward into 2015.
The Viking middie hardly came off the field while leading Northgate with 65 ground balls and 20 assists while earning a selection on the All South Metro First Team.
Benefitting heavily from Francisco’s stickwork were four teammates that posted at least 20 goals. Senior attack Mitchell Hutton led the team with 50 goals while earning All Metro First Team honors. He added seven assists and 23 ground balls.
Pealor, a fourth-year starter, was moved from attack to the midfield for his defensive skills. He posted 21 goals and eight assists to go with 34 ground balls and a selection on the All Metro Second Team.
Both senior midfielder Chandler Warren and junior attack Christian Lowery also finished with at least 20 goals. Warren finished second on the team with 36 while Lowery had 20 goals and 12 assists in addition to tying Francisco for the team lead in ground balls with 65.
Also earning a selection to the All-County lineup from Northgate was defenseman Alex Rose. The hard-working senior posted 32 takeaways while scooping up 30 ground balls in his final varsity season.
Newnan struggled through a four-win season, but will have a large nucleus of returners including three of its four All-County selections returning in 2015.
The Cougars’ lone senior honoree was co-captain Spencer Smith. The Newnan middie posted 11 goals and eight assists while also posting multi-point efforts in both Coweta Cup contests. Smith also had 36 ground-ball scoops and led the team with nine against teams that reached the postseason.
Junior defenseman/long-pole middie Mike McMahon earned his third consecutive All-County selection for Newnan while continuing to showcase his stick skills. The Cougar co-captain led all of this year’s honorees with 119 ground balls. He was also selected to the All South Metro First Team while adding eight goals and five assists.
Also expected back next year are leading scorer Austin Ohliger and goalie Jordan Surrett, both juniors.
Ohliger, who missed most of his sophomore year to an injury, had team highs of 22 goals and 19 assists while accounting for 45-percent of Newnan’s offensive production in 2014. The co-captain also had 29 ground balls from his attack position.
Surrett put together a strong season in goal while playing behind a defense that included several first-year players. The junior made 171 saves including 71 against eventual state-playoff teams.
In all, the Cougar goalie finished with a save percentage of 53.9 for the season while adding 54 ground balls and earning a nod as an honorable mention on this year’s All South Metro team.
Player of the Year - Brian DeBole, Goalie, East Coweta, Sr.
157 saves, 284 shots, .553 save percentage
All County Team
A Carter Byrum East Coweta Jr.
M Adam Cahir East Coweta Jr.
A Bryce Durden East Coweta Sr.
M Clayton Francisco Northgate So.
A Mitchell Hutton Northgate Sr.
A Christian Lowery Northgate Sr
M/D Mike McMahon Newnan Jr.
A/M Connor McMeen East Coweta Sr.
D Jay McKnight East Coweta Sr.
A Austin Ohliger Newnan Jr.
M Jason Pealor Northgate Sr.
D Alex Rose Northgate Sr.
M Spencer Smith Newnan Sr.
A/M Lee Steed East Coweta Sr.
G Jordan Surrett Newnan Jr.
M Chandler Warren Northgate Sr.
D Logan Wilson East Coweta Sr.
Honorable Mention — Newnan: Chris Mapel, Attack, Jr.; Caleb McHugh, Midfield, Jr; East Coweta — Ty Hagar, Midfield, Jr.; Frasier Hutchinson; Sterling Tyson, Midfield, Jr,.; Northgate — Joe Henry Long Stick Midfield, Sr.; Dylan Roach, Defense, Sr., Garrett Klone, Attack, Fr.; Jeff Sargent, Attack, Jr.