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McFalls, Boyertown take down Pope John Paul II 9-5

ROYERSFORD >> It’s never easy to be the new kid on the block.

Just ask Brady McFalls.

After starting the season as a bit of an afterthought, the Boyertown sophomore has quickly submerged himself into a starting role with the boys lacrosse team. And to this point, it’s certainly paying dividends.

McFalls registered five points during the Bears’ 9-5 win over host Pope John Paul II on Thursday afternoon in a Pioneer Athletic Conference clash.

“I had to battle through some seniors and juniors to get into the starting lineup,” said McFalls, who finally broke the starting lineup during the team’s third game. “My teammates accepted me — I thought they would be a little bit mad at me taking someone’s spot. But they’ve welcomed me all along.”

With the win, Boyertown improves to 4-1 in the PAC and 7-4 overall, having now won six of their past eight games. PJP (1-4 PAC, 2-5 overall) drops its fourth straight after winning two games in a row.

McFalls looked plenty entrenched into the Bears’ starting lineup on Thursday, registering two goals in the first quarter and another pair in the fourth to seal the win. For the game, he was among the main focal attacks on offense and also added an assist on junior Mason Turner’s goal just before the end of the first half.

“We passed the ball around really well on offense and we worked it to everyone,” said McFalls. “We tried to keep a patient approach on offense.”

Along with McFalls, junior midfielder Christian Hellriegel notched a hat trick while Alex Axman and Turner each scored once. Chris Moccia, Jason Clinton and Skylar P. Wallace each came up with scores in front of Mark Fredericksen’s 10-save goaltending.

First-year Boyertown head coach Grady Wise preached defense from beginning to end.

“Our man-down defense played exceptional,” said Wise, who had spent the previous few seasons at Phoenixville. “We tell our guys all the time, it starts and ends with how we play on defense. The effort was definitely there.”

All throughout, the Bears’ defense flocked to the cage, challenging every PJP chance.

The Golden Panthers saw five different players light up the scoreboard including Kyle Donovan, Matt Cressman, Shane McConnell, Justin Kent and Ryan Kormos while Noah Balliet finished with 11 saves in goal.

The Golden Panthers’ biggest run came in the late stages of the first half. Down three goals, Cressman flicked one over Fredericksen’s right shoulder. Then, right off the draw, McConnell charged the net and fired a skipper to make it 4-3.

Boyertown answered right back, though, as Turner scored off a feed from McFalls with just 20 seconds left before the half.

“We’ve got to find our shots on offense,” said first-year PJP head coach Blase Cesarone. “Once we find our shots, I think we’ll be all right. We’ve been playing well defensively and Noah has been bailing us out all season (in goal).”

Cesarone, a 2012 graduate at Daniel Boone, went on to play collegiate lacrosse at Gwynedd Mercy. Now that his playing career is over, he admits it’s a much different view from the sideline.

“I’ve been staying in contact with my former coaches, getting some pointers,” he said. “I think we’re heading in a very positive direction toward building a good lacrosse culture here. We have three seniors right now, but we’re primarily all juniors. The future is very bright for the program.”

Stat This

Since Pope John Paul II opened its doors to start the 2010-2011 school year, the Golden Panthers still have yet to beat the Bears in boys lacrosse. During that span, Boyertown is 12-0 against PJP with a 148-53 scoring advantage with Thursday’s result included.

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