The Eaglecrest boys lacrosse team did the heavy lifting early in its rivalry matchup with Smoky Hill April 26 and hoisted The Hammer later.
The Raptors racked up six of the first seven goals of the game and, led by seven at halftime and invoked the running clock mercy rule in the second half on their way to a 16-3 win over the Buffaloes that kept the traveling trophy — a sledgehammer with both teams’ school colors on it — with them for a second straight season.
Eaglecrest senior Logan Wells had a hat track in the first 7 minutes, 10 seconds, of the contest and finished with a season-high six goals, while junior Aaron Weintraut, senior Preston Wakefield and junior Diego Roman accounted for two apiece. Senior Miles Hart
“Picking up The Hammer at the end of the game is something you can’t explain,” said Wells, part of teams that possessed the trophy in 2016, 2018 and now 2019.
“When I was a freshman, we hoisted it for the first time and I really didn’t know what it was, but it’s been big to win it three times in my career,” he added. “I hope it keeps going.”
Eaglecrest coach Hayden King — who used The Hammer to putt a ball golf-style before the game as his team warmed up — loved bringing the trophy back.
“It feels great, honestly; being able to win the Hammer is always fun and the kids have fun with it because its a tradition and they love seeing it every day,” he said.
With eight seniors determined keep The Hammer, Eaglecrest (5-7) came out flying.
Wells put the Raptors on the board first inside the opening minute and the lead grew to as large as 6-1.
Junior Carson Lowe scored twice in the opening period for the Buffaloes (2-10), who amped up their energy at the end of the first period and into the beginning of the second, but gave Eaglecrest three man-up chances and it converted each one.
“We played undisciplined tonight and they took advantage of it,” Smoky Hill coach Gerry McCullar said. “We’re a young squad and we’re inexperienced, so hopefully we’ll continue to grow. We started to turn the tide a little bit, but we couldn’t take advantage of it.”
Smoky Hill generated some momentum again when junior Iliah Newton scored with just 22.4 seconds left in the opening half to cut its deficit to 9-3, but junior Breandan Downing got lose and tallied for Eaglecrest with 10.9 seconds left.
Wells scored twice more in the opening minute of the third period and Roman scored both of his goals as the Raptors invoked the running clock mercy rule.
Senior goalie Miles Hart made seven saves for Eaglecrest before he was replaced by junior Ben Dobbins, who stopped all three shots he faced.
The Raptors know their RPI won’t be strong enough to quality them for the upcoming Class 5A postseason, but they hope to pick up a few more victories in their final three games of the regular season.
“A lot of us have been playing together since the sixth grade, so we’re going to play our hearts out in these last few games,” Wells said.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
EAGLECREST 16, SMOKY HILL 3
Score by periods:
Eaglecrest 6 4 6 0 — 16
Smoky Hill 2 1 0 0 — 3
Eaglecrest goals: Logan Wells 6, Diego Roman 2, Preston Wakefield 2, Aaron Weintraut 2, Breandan Downing, Caleb Hochstetler, Ben Weintraut, Ethan Yacko. Smoky Hill goals: Carson Lowe 2, Iliah Newton. Eaglecrest assists: Hochstetler 2, Aaron Weintraut. Smoky Hill assist: Josh Cutbirth. Eaglecrest saves: Miles Hart (10 shots on goal-7 saves), Ben Dobbins (3 shots on goal-3 saves). Smoky Hill saves: Jovon Hicks (34 shots on goal-18 saves)