Traditional Power Mahopac vs. Upstart Mamaroneck

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So, 10th-sseded Mamaroneck High (9-10) is the only thing standing between No.4 Mahopac (11-7) and its first Section 1 repeat since 2002. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s exactly one decade since former head Coach Joe Corace’s Class A Indians were cast as a dynasty, winning three in row from 2000-’02.

We all know what’s gone on since: Mahopac threw a token title out there in 2004 and then lost the 2005 championship to Yorktown before freefalling into oblivion from 2006-2010 without so much as a whiff of a championship game, let alone a title. It was an embarrassing period for anyone living in Mahopac who gave a rat’s rump about lax (or anyone with a husband or wife that went to Mahopac High).

But 2011 All-American TJ Foley and company changed the tenor of the program last year in a two-goal championship win over Lakeland/Panas, whom they dispatched of in last Thursday’s Class A semifinal. Mahopac senior middie James Schiera picked a fine time to play the best game of his career for the reigning Section 1 Class A lacrosse champion Indians in last Thursday’s 8-6 Class A semifinal victory against the top-seeded host Rebels (11-7). Schiera, a stubborn, resilient wing on face-offs, picked up a GB and roared his way up field in the game’s opening moments, scoring the first goal of the game just 54 seconds in while setting a tone the Indians would never back off of.

Schiera (who had a hat trick) followed Patrick Donahoe’s diving goal with another tally with 3:45 left in the first quarter for a 3-0 lead and then hit again for a 5-1 lead with 1:16 left in the first, and the Indians were well on their way to Wednesday’s Section 1 championship at White Plains against Mamaroneck (8:00 p.m.). The mantra — “We’re going to the ship” – coined by New England Patriots wing nut TE Rob Gronkowski; was repeated over and over.

“I just love playing with these guys and I’m not done playing yet,” said Schiera, who called a meeting among the coaching staff and the seniors while the Indians were in the midst of a five-game losing streak back in early May. “We didn’t want to play another game with them where it was close like the last time (a Lakeland/Panas overtime win). Everybody just came out and clicked today. We got together (at that meeting) and said this season is going to be whatever we make of it. We have a chance to make our own legacy like last year’s seniors did, and that’s always been our goal.”

That goal did not come true for a crew of Indians from 2006 to 2010, whichPutnamCountyfolk refer to as the dark ages of Mahopac lacrosse. The 2012 unit can truly make amends with an encore performance against a Mamroneck Tigers team that nobody thought we be where it is.

The Paper Tigers have suffered losses to subpar programs like Pelham,New Rochelle, Eastchester andScarsdale, yet they are being fit for a Class A glass slipper as we speak. What does that tell you about the level of play in Class A this season?

“We figured something like this would happen in Class A,” Mahopac coach Mike Haddeland said when asked about the prospects of a No.4 meeting a No.10 in the Class A championship, something that rarely, if ever, happens in Section 1 lacrosse. “That’s a pretty good 10-seed, so we won’t sleep on them. Class A was open from the start and we knew that, so we’re back in the finals and we’ll be ready forMamaroneck.”

Cinderella Mamaroneck, which has never won a Section 1 championship, was to make its first trip to finals since an 8-1 loss toYorktownback in 1988. The Tigers are 0-3 in championship games while Mahopac is 9-5 since 1989, so the only one’s sleeping onMamaroneckare the traditionalist who enjoy seeing Lakeland/Panas against Mahopac in the Class A final.

Cinderella should be overmatched in this one if the Indians really plan on Going to the Ship. It says right here in this space that Mahopac middie Anthony Berardis will have a career game; a hat trick in fact, and LSM Brendan Hynes will own the X-wings and his own zone. Mahopac wins by five!

Note to Lakeland/Panas underclassmen: Please take a moment to make a mental note of the dog pile Mahopac displayed at the Hive last Thursday after winning A SEMIFINAL GAME! It’s one thing to dog pile after a championship win, it’s another thing to allow your chief rival to dog pile in the semis on YOUR field when the Rebels could have and should have done something about preventing it over the course of 48 minutes. But L/P played so poorly for three quarters; it simply looked overwhelmed by an Indian team it had beaten in OT just a month ago.

“The reality is the effort was embarrassing,” L/P Coach Jim Lindsay said. “The execution was embarrassing for 40 minutes. We got outplayed, we got outhustled, we got out-ground-balled. Things we talked about all year – shot selection, location, clears, ground balls – we did none of it. We didn’t deserve to win this game and I take my hat off to Mahopac and to Coach Haddeland. They deserve to be there. I’m embarrassed for the program, the alumni… that’s just the bottom line, a total lack of effort.”

A total lack of effort that led to an Indians dog pile on Lakeland’s spiffy stadium, and if you sophomores are as good as your parents say you are then you really ought not to let that happen again. Just my two cents!

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