The No. 2-seeded Brighton Bengals took on the No. 3-seeded Corner Canyon Chargers Wednesday night at Charger Stadium in what was an exciting back-and-forth game.
Corner Canyon took a 4-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Chargers looked strong offensively, as they were able to work the ball around quickly and find open looks. Corner Canyon has faced some tough injuries with starting faceoff-man Dodge Anderson being out for the majority of the year, in addition to senior Jaden Kasteler who had been one of Corner Canyon’s biggest offensive producers. Early on it looked like Corner Canyon would be able to strongly contest the Bengals despite the missing personnel.
Corner Canyon dominated at the faceoff-X in the first half as Shawn Hewitt was able to control the draws to help keep Corner Canyon in the game. This allowed the ball to be kept away from the Brighton offense and gave Corner Canyon solid opportunities to score.
Brighton managed to turn things around in the second-half as they were able to practically neutralize Hewitt and turn the faceoff into scrums for the groundball.
“We knew coming in here that faceoffs were going to be an issue,” said Brighton head coach Gerrit Schafrath. “We game-planned for it. We knew our defense was going to have to step up and that we were probably going to lose the ground ball war and time-of-possession war. But we’ve been facing that all year, so for us it’s nothing new. We kind of planned for that. Owen Smith, Chandler Hobson, Blake Yates and Cole More all rotated through there and tired them out.”
Brighton’s defense looked much improved in the second quarter, limiting Corner Canyon to zero goals during the period.
Schafrath said of his defense, “In any lacrosse game, it’s a game of adjustments. For us, we read what they were doing in the first quarter which was attack our shortsticks up high with alley dodges and across-the-middle dodges. We allowed our midfielders to press out a little farther than normal and we played 4v4 basically with our long poles. We like that matchup. In the fourth quarter, they attacked us with invert dodges. The adjustment there was either switching on the invert, or sliding early on the invert. Hats off to Corner Canyon, they didn’t stop fighting.”
Brighton managed to fight off a Corner Canyon charge late to seal the victory and win it 13-9.
Brighton will face Park City in the Boys Class A State Finals on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at Skyline High School. That game will be live-broadcasted by Utah Lacrosse News and will be available for viewing on our website.
Looking towards the upcoming state final Schafrath said, “We’re happy to be here. For our parents, our board and our administration who really help us behind-the-scenes, Brighton is not successful without them. Going to three straight championships is proof that it’s not about the players, but rather the support behind this. With all the injuries earlier in the year and all the seniors we lost, I didn’t know if we would be here. It’s cliché to say, but we’re peaking at the right time.”
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