East Coweta boys able to capture 'Coweta Cup' trophy
by Chris Goltermann
One of the lacrosse trophies for this year’s Coweta Cup went ‘home’ on Thursday. The other may have to sit in storage a bit longer.
Either way, East Coweta boys still had to truly earn its award before ringing the victory bell at Garland Shoemake Stadium following an intense 21-16 victory over Northgate, which managed to come away with a split in Thursday’s doubleheader.
The Lady Vikings dominated a 15-4 victory over the Lady Indians behind Kayla Bedwell’s seven goals, the first of which tied the game at 1-1 off a free-position play.
Girls teams from Northgate and Newnan will now decide this year’s trophy along with county bragging rights in a doubleheader scheduled for today at Henry Seldon Field. Today’s forecast, however, is set for rain and thundershowers.
The boys trophy, however, wasn’t going to be let out of East Coweta’s sights after a well-played back-and-forth contest predicted by both teams’ coaching staffs prior to the game.
“This is the type of lacrosse game that people around here need to see,” said Indians lay coach Tom DeBole afterward. “It could have gone either way [Thursday].”
The Indians didn’t find their second win nearly as comfortable as Tuesday’s dominating effort over a injury-plagued Newnan lineup.
Against Northgate, however, East Coweta needing a 10-goal outburst in the third quarter led by Bryce Durden to finally hold off a determined Viking team that capitalized with goals on its first three man-up situations to take a 4-1 lead early in the second period.
Durden, who went scoreless in the first, went on to finish with nine goals and an assist in a career performance for the attackman.
Long-pole Gage Wozniak gave Northgate an early boost with an end-to-end rush for a goal with 2.4 seconds that bounced past East Coweta goalie Brian DeBole.
It didn’t stay that way for long on a night where teams combined 15 goals in the third quarter alone.
Trailing 8-7 at halftime, East Coweta’s Durden opened the third quarter with three unanswered goals, the first off a Northgate penalty to tie the game, before taking passes from teammates Conner McMeen and Jay Godfrey to give the Indians a lead for good en route to an eight-goal performance for the senior attack.
Durden’s three goals — with a group of ECHS fans chiming “Bryce, Bryce, Baby” after each of his tallies — came over a span of 37 seconds.
Rallying behind junior midfielder Jake Smerka’s seven tallies, Northgate stayed close, pulling to within one on a three-goal surge midway through the third on goals from Mitchell Hutton, his third, Smerka and Casey McClendon.
Smerka added three assists for the Vikings, who had seven players record goals in the game.
But the Indians quickly countered with three of its own, two from junior attack Lee Steed, who scored in the first minute off the opening faceoff of the game.
Indians sophomore Sterling Tyson set up Steed from behind the net to put East Coweta ahead 14-12 before McMeen fired a laser from up top a minute later.
The following faceoff, won by East Coweta, saw Steed come through the middle with a shot for his third goal of the game, pushing a 16-12 advantage with 3:30 left in the third.
From there, DeBole held his own in goal for the Indians while making a point-blank stop to his left on a shot from Smerka at the 2:35 mark.
McMeen finished with four goals and four assists in the midfield. Carter Byrum also added two goals and an assist while Tyson had a goal and two assists.
Godfrey added a goal and an assist in the win.
Cole Johnson had two goals for the Vikings in the loss.
GIRLS – NORTHGATE 15, EAST COWETA 4
The Lady Vikings quickly bounced back from an early goal by East Coweta’s Ciara Centenera, scoring six times unanswered in the first half, including three straight from starting midfielder Allie Brock over a seven-minute span.
Savannah Steffens set up Brock for the go-ahead tally before scoring twice unassisted. Stephens later put Northgate ahead 6-1 with 7:38 left in the first half.
Bedwell took over the scoring after halftime for Northgate, scoring five of her seven goals over the final 25 minutes. Brock and Steffens combined for the other three.
Senior Cheyenne St. Germaine led East Coweta with two goals and an assist. Yehong Zhu had the Lady Indians’ other goal.
Katie Hester made several key stops in goal for Northgate in the victory.