West York wins first YAIAA boys' lacrosse title in program history
Susquehannock's field might as well been a house of horrors before this week for West York.
Its green artificial turf and big red field house weren't exactly the cause for the Bulldogs' fright. They just never won a boys' lacrosse game there.
Not a regular-season game. Certainly not the two recent YAIAA championships.
That's why a line of seniors, led by Hunter Betz, awaited the final seconds of their 16-7 title win Thursday night vs. Susquehannock like horses at a starting gate. They couldn't wait to shoot out at the buzzer and mob goalie Cole Rinehart. This victory culminated an arduous journey of previous disappointments for a program that never won a league lacrosse title.
Dallastown in 2012.
Central York in 2013.
Betz and defenseman Tanner Hale had to watch them celebrate during their four-year lacrosse careers at West York.
"We came here and got the job done. Finally," Betz said. "Every time we played them here we could never win on this field."
Betz admitted to feeling nervous before Thursday's game. Even beating Red Lion in the YAIAA semifinals at Susquehannock for West York's first program win on this field wasn't enough.
There was plenty that could haunt the Bulldogs (14-3).
A 14-6 loss in early April came at Susquehannock (13-3) and is why these two teams shared the YAIAA's regular-season championship. Their league title game defeat two years ago against Central York was especially tough to take. The Panthers rallied to win in overtime, a fact that Betz's father and team scorekeeper yelled as a reminder from his midfield seat.
West York coach Rodney Tamblin said those factors shaped his team. He credited the 2013 senior class for their influence on Betz, Hale and others, who were sophomores at the time.
"These guys are a product of that senior class," Tamblin said. "They learned a lot from that loss as sophomores and how fast a game can change on you."
A fast start Thursday night helped.
After warming up while the Kennard-Dale girls beat Susquehannock, which found itself as host for the tournament final, West York intended to do the same to the Warriors. Betz scored the first goal just 88 seconds into the game. The lead swelled to 4-1 behind goals from Ryan McCauley and Seth Wise, two more starters in the Bulldogs' attack.
Susquehannock rallied to a 6-5 deficit at halftime, but it never got closer.
Jack Allred and Zach Orner each paced the Warriors with two goals, and Orner provided a final strike for momentum less than a minute before halftime. Tamblin wanted his team to react with an aggressive offensive pace in the third, and he received it.
Devyn Roehm scored twice, Wise added two more goals, and West York produced a third-quarter shutout. Hale watched as his teammates scored and controlled the ball, which he called a greater difference than anything happening on his side during that stretch.
"Right before the half was up, Tamblin came over," Hale said. "He was like, 'If we put five on them, we can sit comfy and keep putting it on.' That comes down to them moving the ball and doing what they do."
Betz produced match-bests five goals and three assists to make sure the offense secured the elusive title victory. He also reached 300 career points with fourth-quarter goal that pushed West York's lead to 15-7.
With those previous setbacks running his mind, Betz kept firing his lacrosse stick.
Contact Matt Goul at 771-2045.
West York 16, Susquehannock 7
West York goals — Hunter Betz 5, Seth Wise 4, Devyn Roehm 3, Ryan McCauley 2, Cameron Goodling, Trevor Sweitzer.
West York assists — Betz 3, Roehm, Wise, Cody Hopta, Sweitzer, Nicholas Cintron.
Susquehannock goals — Jack Allred 2, Zach Orner 2, Collin Riley, Aidan Kirkendall, Dorian Faster.
Susquehannock assists — Riley, Allred, Faster, Brady Gallegos.
Shots on goal — WY 32, Sus 19.
Goalies — WY, Cole Rinehart (12 saves). Sus, Shane Silk (16 saves).