PERRYSBURG — Perrysburg clinched its third straight Northern Lakes League boys lacrosse title by defeating Sylvania Southview, 15-8, during Senior Night at Steinecker Stadium Tuesday.
Despite fighting through pain from a bruised rib, Perrysburg senior attack Cameron Davidson led the Yellow Jackets with nine goals.
After Southview took a 5-4 lead early in the second quarter, Davidson scored five straight goals unanswered to push the Yellow Jackets to a 9-5 lead, and Perrysburg never looked back.
Davidson ended the second period with six goals, and all but one was scored unassisted.
“I got a new stick yesterday and it was just going into the net, so I was just making shots,” Davidson said. “I was just taking them. We really needed that three-peat.”
Davidson had taken a couple games off because of the bruised rib, including Perrysburg’s 9-5 loss to Anthony Wayne last week. He said the pain was getting to him toward the end of the game, which was played in rain, wind, and temperatures in the low 40s.
“I have a protective shirt on, but I did get poked on a couple times and it was getting harder to breathe, but I just took a moment to myself,” Davidson said.
Perrysburg coach Baily Weatherwax said Davidson was prepared to do whatever he could to make sure Perrysburg got its third straight title.
“The kid, he just has a drive to go,” Weatherwax said. “Obviously, it’s tenacious and nothing stops it.
“With that being said, other guys on the field being able to clear space out for him allowed him a lane to make his moves, be that back-up when he does miss, but the kid always seems to find the back of the net.”
Perrysburg moved to 8-6 overall and 6-2 in the NLL, winning the title outright after sharing it last year. Southview, which still had a chance to claim the title, fell to 5-8 and 4-3.
“It’s huge,” Davidson said. “I haven’t lost a single championship in high school, and this is really a huge moment for all of us. Hopefully it will give the boys more momentum for next year.”
After Perrysburg grabbed a 10-7 halftime lead, the Yellow Jackets’ defense went to work, holding the Cougars to one second half goal. Perrysburg sophomore goalie Nathan Ettore had 10 saves.
Perrysburg sophomore midfielder Zachary Schroeder added to the scoring with three goals and one assist, senior attack Evan Wolaver scored two goals, and senior attack Anthony Kovacs had one goal.
Senior midfielders Ryan Ozimek and Andrew Schmidbauer, senior defenseman Ethan Johnson, and sophomore attack Grandin LeBoutillier provided one assist apiece for Perrysburg.
Perrysburg outshot Southview, 30-26, and after winning just one of nine face-offs in the opening period, the Yellow Jackets won 12-of-18 the remainder of the way, with Schroeder and junior Alexander Birch taking most of the draws.
A pregame ceremony honored eight seniors, including three who are entering the military — two are heading to the U.S. Marine Corps and a third (Schmidbauer) to the Army National Guard after ROTC at the University of Toledo.
Davidson is heading to the Marine Corps along with Ozimek but says all eight seniors played a role in the championship.
“All the boys, I’ve been playing with just about every single one of them since fourth grade,” Davidson said.
“We’ve grown up together, we’ve just learned how to play the game with each other, and our chemistry is there.
“It’s just a different feeling out here on Senior Night with the boys I’ve been playing with forever, just watching them these last couple games and wanting to see everyone succeed before their final days on the lacrosse field,” Davidson added.
Weatherwax said, “This class has put in a lot of work for us. I’ve seen them through their freshman year all the way up to now.
“It’s a great group of young men. Nothing was given this year. Everything was earned. They knew it was a rebuilding year coming in and they took the reins on it.”
One of those seniors, Kovacs, missed the entire season because of an injury, so Southview coach Tony Hunter agreed to allow Kovacs to score a goal six seconds into the game, reciprocated by allowing the Cougars to score eight seconds after that.
“He’s (Kovacs) given nine years to Perrysburg and this program, and unfortunately in a preseason scrimmage he blew out his entire knee,” Weatherwax said.
“He wasn’t able to get any playing time his entire senior year so I try to do everything I can to make this moment memorable for everyone. He actually has his surgery on Thursday.”
Junior Justin Johnson led the Cougars with four goals, senior Seth Baden had two goals and an assist, freshman Fred McCoy and senior Alex Eichner scored one goal each, and junior Owen Miller had four assists.
Baden was the menace on faceoffs who helped the Cougars win 8-of-9 draws in the first quarter (junior Dylan Johnson won one of those draws), and junior goalie Sean Connolly had 15 saves.
Hunter says the Southview program has come a long way from past years to competing for an NLL title this year.
“We started with 20 guys and now are all the way up to 34, so we’re getting there,” Hunter said.