Boys Lacrosse: Eaglecrest keeps Hammer with win over Smoky Hill

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Eaglecrest senior Jordan Oliver (22) brings the Hammer to his teammates after the Raptors' 11-6 boys lacrosse win over rival Smoky Hill on April 13, 2016, at Stutler Bowl. Eaglecrest won the sledgehammer that serves as a traveling trophy in the rivalry for the second straight season after the Buffs had custody of it for six straight seasons. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Eaglecrest senior Jordan Oliver (22) brings the Hammer to his teammates after the Raptors’ 11-6 boys lacrosse win over rival Smoky Hill on April 13, 2016, at Stutler Bowl. Eaglecrest won the sledgehammer that serves as a traveling trophy in the rivalry for the second straight season after the Buffs had custody of it for six straight seasons. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

GREENWOOD VILLAGE | For Eaglecrest boys lacrosse coach Austin Lanpher, the Raptors’ annual Hammer game against rival Smoky Hill hit the nail on the head.

Coming off an uneven opening to the season and with a Centennial League gauntlet ahead, Lanpher knew a matchup with the rival Buffaloes — with the Hammer, a sledgehammer painted with the colors and logos of both schools that serves as a traveling trophy, at stake — would be the jolt his team needed.

Eaglecrest responded in a big way Wednesday night at Stutler Bowl, playing its most complete game of the season in an 11-6 victory over Smoky Hill. The Raptors kept the Hammer for a second straight season after they snapped a Buffs’ eight-season run that stretched back to 2006. (The Hammer history from 2006-16, here).

“This is just what the doctor ordered,” said Lanpher, whose team improved to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the Centennial League ahead of Friday’s game at Cherokee Trail.

“We’ve been struggling, so it was really big for our guys to get this win going into the meat of our district,” he added. “We’ve got a lot of tough games ahead of us and this is humongous for our confidence.”

Coach Gerry McCullar’s Smoky Hill team saw a three-game winning streak come to an end after it lost its first three games of the year. The Buffaloes got single goals from six different players as they dropped to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in league play with a road contest upcoming against Arapahoe on Friday.

Last season’s game was a low-scoring affair that ended with Jordan Oliver’s goal with 4.2 seconds remaining in a 3-2 Eaglecrest victory, but the Raptors offense matched that entire total in just one period this season.

Junior Oliver Hart and senior Parker Loyd scored three goals apiece and senior Isaac Towner and sophomore Adam Weintraut added two apiece for Eaglecrest, which turned in a game was its best of the season “hands down” according to Lanpher.

Loyd — who notched his second three-goal game of the season — noted a different feel to this game than any other, including the Raptors’ previous effort, a 16-1 loss to Mullen on April 8.

“I love my team and we have a lot of faith in each other,” Loyd said. “I think that’s what pushed us to this win today.”

Lanpher gave a nod to the senior class for its intensity and leadership in a game that was tight all throughout the first half — Eaglecrest’s largest lead was only two goals in the opening two quarters — and the Raptors only got separation in the third quarter.

Smoky Hill showed signs of life in the second half, but missed some prime scoring opportunities and had a few good chances stopped by Raptors’ goalie Miles Hart.

“They went 100 percent for four quarters tonight,” Lanpher said. “We’ve been looking for a complete game all season long and we finally got it. I wish there was a Hammer for every game.”

There is only one Hammer, however, and Loyd was glad to hold it again in his final game in the rivalry.

“I’m really excited to go back-to-back and it’s great to end it in my senior year like this,” he said.

Note: Aurora’s only other traveling trophy in lacrosse is the Predators Cup, which debuted in the series between Grandview and Cherokee Trail in 2014. The Wolves have won the matchup both seasons and aim for a third when they face the Cougars on April 27.

EAGLECREST 11, SMOKY HILL 6

Score by quarters:

Eaglecrest   3  3  3  2 — 11

Smoky Hill  2  2  0  2 —  6

Eaglecrest goals: Oliver Hart 3, Parker Loyd 3, Isaac Towner 2, Adam Weintraut 2, Thomas Logan. Smoky Hill goals: James Bowers, Dakota Downs, Grant Foerester, Lucas Kalschuer, Sam Nobil, Caleb Parros, Michael Sobczak. Eaglecrest assists: Hart 2, Weintraut 2, Jordan Oliver, Towner. Smoky Hill assist: Nobil. Eaglecrest saves: Miles Hart (17 shots on goal-11 saves). Smoky Hill saves: Joe Whitmore (23 shots on goal-12 saves)