Red Lion remains in playoff race
A look at the league's power structure. (Teddy Feinberg/GameTimePA.com)
The Red Lion boys' lacrosse team had to win Tuesday night against Dallastown.
For one, it had to do with the longstanding rivalry between the two schools, on senior night at Horn Field no less. On top of that, this was a critical game in the YAIAA standings.
The Lions delivered — albeit in nail-biting fashion — with an 11-10 victory over the Wildcats.
The win allowed the Lions to keep pace in the YAIAA standings. Red Lion and Dallastown are now each 9-3 in league play. Ditto for Susquehannock, which beat Dover 18-6 on Tuesday.
Central York has already clinched the YAIAA's top seed in next week's tournament, while second place York Catholic sits at 9-2 in league following its 25-8 win over Delone Catholic on Tuesday.
Red Lion and Susquehannock square off Thursday, as does York Catholic and Dallastown.
"It's our rival, it's senior night for a reason," said Red Lion head coach Stefan Striffler. "On our home field, under the lights. It's a big deal for us. A really big deal."
Added Striffler on the Lions' YAIAA tournament spot: "We're not locked in. But we're really, really close. We want to win against Susky obviously on Thursday, and obviously they want to beat us."
The Lions certainly let the Wildcats hang around during Tuesday's contest.
Red Lion took a 5-3 lead at intermission on the strength of two Ben Hornberger goals, while Dallastown accidently put one in its own net just before the break.
Hornberger immediately came out and finished another to start the third period — he had four tallies on the evening — and the Lions appeared to be in control. They handled Dallastown throughout the night on faceoffs, and in turn held favor in tempo, time of possession and on the scoreboard.
Things turned on a dime, however, with the Wildcats scoring four goals in the final six minutes of the third period. Tanner Haines and Ser Greene each found the back of the net. Red Lion put one in on their own goal as well, and Dallastown finished the scoring run when Ethan Pickett fired one home with under a second remaining in the third period. The Wildcats had the momentum, and a 7-6 advantage.
Red Lion subbed goalies at halftime — junior Nick Serrano came in for freshman Quintin Lyons — and Striffler said the team had to shuffle the lineup throughout the contest to make up for the absence of attackman Trevor Rider.
Midfielder Mason Gaunt added the team was trying to force the issue on offense instead of taking what the defense gave them while holding a three-goal lead.
"We should have just worked it around and stopped forcing it on the inside," said Gauntt, who scored two goals while controlling draws throughout the contest.
The fourth period was back-and-forth. After tying the score, Red Lion eventually went ahead 9-7 before Dallastown answered with two goals of its own. Sam Emig scored to put the Lions back ahead 10-9, yet Pickett answered once again at the 2:45 mark to tie things up 10-10.
The Lions called a timeout and eventually got things together, getting nice passing from Emig, to Elijah Workinger, to Zach Mentzer, who finished at the 1:42 mark to put Red Lion ahead for good.