GRATERFORD >> The Spring-Ford boys lacrosse team showed up to Perkiomen Valley eight days earlier and never managed to shed sheep’s clothing.
Thursday night, with the same matchup now boosted with a league championship in the balance, Spring-Ford had no use for a deceptive costume, no interest in acting like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Spring-Ford was all wolf.
The Rams made Perk Valley their prey in every phase, a sharp attack and transition game coupled with a defense that didn’t allow a goal for the game’s final 45 minutes on the way to a 13-1 victory that delivered Spring-Ford its second straight Pioneer Athletic Conference championship Thursday night at Perk Valley’s Thomas J. Keenan Stadium.
It’s the start of a new streak for Spring-Ford (16-3 overall) and its PAC-best 12 league titles after running off eight straight from 2012-19.
The attack got four goals apiece from senior Justin Wixted and sophomore Brady Welsh, senior Will Fish had four assists, and Colin Song netted a pair.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Wixted said. “All the hard work our team put in paid off. It’s nice to see all the guys (celebrating), knowing all the work we put in meant something.”
Final: Spring-Ford 13, Perkiomen Valley 1, PAC boys lacrosse championship 🏆
A total clinic from the Rams who go back to back pic.twitter.com/ZGPK0zLx0N
— Austin Hertzog (@AustinHertzog) May 12, 2023
The Rams’ transition game was impeccable, as was their defense, led by senior goalie Charlie Power and senior captain Brandon Solomon. Power made 12 saves and Spring-Ford kept Perk Valley scoreless after the 9:12 mark of the first quarter (goal by Bryce Coletta).
“Holding someone in the finals to one goal was incredible,” Fish said. “Charlie had about five one-on-one saves on the doorstep, which was huge. Our defense played outstanding.”
“Charlie was a significant piece today,” Wixted said. “He saved us a bunch of times. He’s done it throughout the year. He holds us together and is the heart of the team.”
The game had very little resemblance to eight days prior when the Vikings (11-8) held the Rams scoreless in the fourth quarter and came back to win 11-10 and run the regular-season table in the PAC.
The uncharacteristically undisciplined performance gave Spring-Ford plenty of motivation to right that wrong in the PAC’s biggest game.
“We came to play. They got us the first time. We knew they were going to be a tough team so we had to bring our best,” Wixted said. “We came as hard as we could and got a good outcome.”
The all-around display was everything head coach Kevin Donnelly, in his 20th season guiding the Rams, could have hoped for.
“It’s great to see the guys come together at the right time and play so well. That was the best part,” Donnelly said. “There’s always been buy-in, but we stumbled a bit last week. I thought we got up-tight in the second half and I think they learned from it. It was great to see them support each other and play like we know they can.”
It was anything but a rout after the first quarter which had S-F narrowly ahead 2-1. But the Rams started to roll midway through the second quarter, a four-minute span bookended by a pair of Welsh goals with a brilliant individual goal by Wixted and one-on-one save by Power in between that grew the lead to 6-1.
The backbreaker arguably came with 3.7 seconds until halftime when a loose ball in front of the PV goal trickled out to Lance Terrizzi, who made a quick pass across to Colin Song for the finish and 7-1 advantage.
Colin Song capitalizes on the scramble in closing stages for Rams 7th, 9.7 2Q
Halftime: Spring-Ford 7, Perkiomen Valley 1 pic.twitter.com/w1E891gOmG
— Austin Hertzog (@AustinHertzog) May 11, 2023
Third-quarter goals came from Wixted, Song and Welsh, whose solo take grew the lead to 10 and effectively killed off the contest.
“Coming into the game, I knew we were all going to play really hard,” Solomon said. “There’s a bunch of factors, the crowd, the emotions of the game, the other team is hungry, though we wanted it more tonight obviously.”
The Rams might say they were “Hungry Like The Wolf”, like the Duran Duran song that has become a staple of their season. The origin came from Solomon jokingly making the 1980s classic song a daily fixture on a preseason ski trip alongside Fish, Terrizzi and Logan Galster, but it stuck.
“After all of our big wins, “Hungry Like The Wolf” gets played,” Fish said.
It fittingly played Thursday in the stadium during the postgame celebration, commemorating a performance that was all wolf.
NOTES >> Also on the scoresheet for Spring-Ford were Ian Evans, Hayden Wedemeyer and Mike Bendowski, who each scored goals. PV goalie Sam Dogonniuck made 10 saves … Spring-Ford is positioned at No. 4 in the District 1-3A rankings and will earn a first-round bye. They will host the winner of the Nos. 13/20 matchup on Thursday, May 18. Perkiomen Valley is currently situated at No. 14 in District 1-3A. The Vikings will host a first-round game on Tuesday, May 16.
Spring-Ford 13, Perkiomen Valley 1
Justin Wixted 4G, 1A
Brady Weish 4G
Colin Song 2G
Ian Evans 1G
Hayden Wedemeyer 1G
Mike Bendowski 1G
Will Fish 4A
Lance Terrizzi 1A
Charlie Power 12 saves
Bryce Coletta 1G
Sam Dogonnuick 10 saves