Panthers rout Decatur in offensively one-sided game

Panther+looks+to+pass+the+ball+to+a+nearby+teammate.+Good+team+play+and+great+defense+allowed+the+Panthers+to+decimate+Decatur+18-0+in+the+first+round+of+the+GHSA+state+playoffs.

Katie Linkner

Panther looks to pass the ball to a nearby teammate. Good team play and great defense allowed the Panthers to decimate Decatur 18-0 in the first round of the GHSA state playoffs.

Ben Barkley, Staff Writer

The AAAAA GHSA state playoffs have kicked into full swing for the varsity boys’ lacrosse team who hopes to improve upon their early second round exit last season.

The Panthers proved themselves in the first round with an 18-0 shutout against the Decatur High School Bulldogs in a game that saw the Panthers dominate offensively and defensively throughout the game.

Katie Linkner
Panther fires a shot into the net. The Panthers preached offense as they would score a third of their goals in the first quarter.

“This was a dominating game, but we still have a lot to work on in order to be successful,” head coach Jeff Schmidlkofer said.

As the game got underway, the Panthers made sure to hit the ground running as they would get off to a great defensive start highlighted by senior Ryan Cockes’ amazing defensive play. The defense would trigger into instant offense as senior Ethan Sack fired his first of four goals into the net.

The offensive showing would continue throughout the first quarter as junior Luke Garuci, sophomore Addison Long, and senior Avery Jenks would score to make the score 4-0 in favor of the Mill at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter got off to a great start for the Panthers when sophomore Garrett Meunick scored a goal off the faceoff eight seconds into the quarter.

The Panthers continued riding the offensive momentum with freshman Gabe Lopez scoring his first of three goals and Jenks scoring another goal.

The Mill would slow down on the offensive side of the ball after that, but the defensive intensity kept Decatur in check throughout the game.

The offense continued to be the dominating factor with Sack scoring his second goal of the game, and Jenks scoring two straight goals. Lopez would end the half with another goal to make score 10-0 Panthers at halftime.

“If we keep this momentum up, I think we have a really good shot at being successful,” Jenks said.

As the second half began, offense continued to be the order of the day as Sack would continue to set the tone offensively by scoring not even a minute into the quarter.

Defensively, the Panthers would continue to dominate and not give Decatur a chance to breathe.

Katie Linkner
Senior Ethan Sack plays keep away with a Decatur defender.This style of play gave Decatur no chances defensively throughout the game, while also allowing seniors Avery Jenks and Ethan Sack to combine for half of the team’s 18 goals.

Lopez, Jenks, and Sack would continue to set the tone offensively throughout the third quarter, with Jenks, who totaled five goals for the game, scoring two, making the score 14-0 at the end of the third quarter.

The fourth quarter would start with the Decatur coaches arguing with the refs about some no calls that should have been cross checks. In response to this, the refs called a penalty which resulted in no face off to begin the quarter and Starr’s Mill opening possession

Starr’s Mill would capitalize with two quick goals from senior Matthew Craig and sophomore Karsen Kalen. Long would score his second goal of the game and the last goal for the Panthers to make the final score 18-0 Panthers.

“We were tearing it up offensively and [Decatur] never really stood a chance,” Sack said.

The Panthers will continue their journey in the state playoffs on May 11 at 8 p.m. in Panther Stadium as they play host to the Blessed Trinity High School Titans in the second round of the state playoffs.