In the final game of the night at Skyline High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, the No. 1-seeded Park City Miners were able to come away with the 7-6 victory over the No. 2-seeded Brighton Bengals.
The game came down to the final play with Brighton on offense. Peterson inbounded the ball, and drove to cage. He fed Chase Ebeling, who shot, but missed cage wide right. That sealed the victory for Park City as time expired.
“We knew that they were a little susceptible as off-ball defenders. As on-ball defenders, they are unbelievable. They almost play on islands. They hardly slide. We knew that was going to be a challenge to hit off-ball skips and crease looks. We didn’t really all game. But we knew on that last play if we drew it up we could get it, and we did. It was just six-inches wide. That’s life,” Brighton head coach Gerrit Schafrath said.
“Brighton is a remarkable team that we just played. They got a great look. They just couldn’t bury it. We just got lucky. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” Park City head coach James Meyer said of the play.
It had been the Beau Pederson show for the Miners’ semifinal game against Juan Diego, but this time it would be sophomore Dylan Bauer who would lead Park City’s scoring charge. Bauer finished with four goals on the day. Pederson finished with one goal.
Senior Justus Peterson opened scoring for all players, who bull-dozed his way through multiple defenders to score the game’s first goal. Peterson, the Utah-commit, had Brighton’s first four goals on the night before other Bengals got involved in the offense.
Schafrath was pleased with Peterson’s performance. However, he would have loved to have seen more of his players get involved.
“When one person has four goals, that’s great. But we hope that we get other guys who can get that as well. Today, we had a couple guys that played well and a couple guys that grinded through the entire game,” said Schafrath.
Park City would emerge the victor, however. Meyer paused to reflect on what made his team so special.
“I’ve been coaching lacrosse my whole adult life, and this is the most fun team I’ve ever been a part of. They love each other, we love them, and they’ve worked their a—- off all year. It wasn’t always pretty and it’s never easy, but I’m proud of what they have been doing,” Meyer said.
Meyer also praised some of the behind-the-scenes supporters of Park City Lacrosse for the excellent job they have done for the year.
“Our assistant coaches Brian Bills, Steven Chen, Elias Fairman and the work they did, along with the Park City lacrosse board’s support this year was remarkable,” said Meyer.
Fairman actually coached in his second championship of the day, as he helped the Park City women’s lacrosse team to a 10-7 victory over the Herriman Mustangs.
When asked what these wins meant for the Park City program, Meyer responded by saying, “It’s been the culmination of a lot of years by a lot of people working really hard. We had a huge disappointment last year and we got the monkey off of our back this year with the win over Juan Diego on Wedneday. This is validation for the hard work the kids and the coaches have put in. It’s a fun night for Park City.”
Park City went undefeated in the regular season, both in and out of state. The Miners finished with a 19-0 record.
“It speaks to the kids and how hard they work and how much they care about the sport. We just felt that if we did it tonight we would have one shining moment. Undefeated, 19-0, and no one can ever take that away from us,” Meyer said.
Schafrath was nothing but complimentary about his team in the loss.
“At Brighton we have the luxury of a lot of players. Every year we graduate a bunch. It’s always hard because we’re nervous about how we’re going to reload from a leadership perspective and experience perspective. I had so much faith in these guys coming in, I scheduled 20 games. That was a credit to what I knew about them in character. We faced a lot of injuries, but I never let them quit and they never let the team quit. That’s all you can ask for. The leadership on the field, the effort and the attitude, they brought it everyday. I never had to worry about this group,” Schafrath said.
Park City won their second state championship after making their fourth championship appearance.