After losing 12-8 to Jamesville-DeWitt two weeks ago in the regular season, the Homer Central boys’ lacrosse team knew it could play with the eight-time defending Section 3 champions with a couple of adjustments.
Wednesday night, the second-seeded Trojans were the far superior team for three quarters, but a rally from five goals down early in that third quarter gave the top-seeded Red Rams their ninth straight sectional crown and 10th in the last 11 years with a 10-9 triumph at Liverpool in the Section 3 Class C Championship game. Ryan Archer’s man-up goal with 1:38 left in regulation was the game-winner as J-D improved to 18-1 overall as the second ranked team in New York State. Homer is ranked seventh and closed out the season at 17-2.
“We were on a man-up so I knew my hands would be free,” Archer said of the winning goal opportunity. “I just needed to know when I would get the ball. (Griffin) Cook drew my guy, I stepped into the spot, caught the ball and shot quickly.”
Archer said the Homer defense was a bit different and it created some problems.
“They were sliding to a spot earlier,” Archer stated. “Whenever cook and I would go, they were sending a guy right away. We should have moved the ball more instead of trying to force it. We corrected our mistakes and kept fighting.”
“We were in a tough spot,” J-D coach Jamie Archer, Ryan’s father, said. “They (Homer) earned it because they were outplaying us. We needed to make some big plays. We did that and the momentum started swinging our way. Our guys got some confidence and kept making the plays. It was really just one more play that we made than they did.
“We do have 22 seniors,” he added. “They have been through the grind and they expect to win.”
Coach Archer did make a critical change to help the Red Rams take control.
“We were pressing early and rushing things,” the coach said. “We did change Griffin and Ryan from running from behind the goal to being up top in front of the goal. The guys were slipping behind the goal trying to spin so we brought up top to help them keep their feet.”
For Homer coach Tom Cottrell, the answer to the J-D rally was easier to explain.
“That’s what championship teams do,” Cottrell said. “That’s why they are the defending state champions.
“Our kids did a hell of a job for all 48 minutes,” he continued. “We had some breaks go against us late and J-D did what state champions do, they found a way to win in the end.”
Jamesville-DeWitt started quickly as Griffin Cook and Joseph Kiesa scored 36 seconds apart in the second minute of play for a 2-0.
Homer never panicked and chipped away. The Trojans scored four unanswered goals to take a 4-2 lead. Dante Yacavone got the Trojans started with an assist from Jake Riley. with 6:49 left in the first quarter. Vinny Basile got an unassisted goal with 3:20 showing to tie the game and Riley put the Trojans in front 31 seconds later. The Trojan would hold the lead until the final 3:32 of the game.
Lars Roos closed out the Homer scoring in the opening quarter before Kiesa scored again with 18.8 seconds as the Red Rams trailed 4-3 after one quarter.
The Trojan defense kept J-D off the scoreboard in the second quarter as the offense scored three times for a 7-3 halftime advantage. Alex Recor got Homer going in the second quarter with his goal with 9:11 showing. Max Riley got a man-up goal with 6:43 until halftime and Basile scored on the man-up with 39 seconds left in the half.
Roos gave Homer an 8-3 lead two minutes into the third quarter, but J-D began to pick away at its deficit.Kiesa completed his hat trick with 6:20 on the clock, Nick Palin followed suit and John Kieb pulled the Red Rams to within 8-6 with 3:28 left in the quarter.
Homer pushed the lead back to 9-6 with a man-up goal by Yacavone from Tucker O’Donnell with 11:32 to go.
The final Red Rams pushed began with 5:51 remaining as Ryan Archer got his first goal of the game. Cook scored one minute later to pull the Red Rams to within 9-8. Andrew Barclay found the cage with 3:32 to play to knot the score at 9-9 and eventually leading to the winning goal by Ryan Archer.
Basile (2 assists), Yacavone and Roos each netted two goals for Homer. Jake Riley (1 assist), Max Riley (1 assist) and Record had solo goals. O’Donnell finished the game with two assists.
Along with Kiesa’s three goals, Cook (1 assist) and Ryan Archer (2 assists) each collected two goals for J-D.
Both goalies were good much of the night. The Trojans’ Mike Turck and J-D’s Bennett Chirco each made seven saves. Ethan Stiles won 11-of-22 face-off attempts which helped Homer with possession time and the Trojans were a perfect 3-for-3 on the man up.