Cicero Earning back-to-back state Class B championships was an extraordinary accomplishment - but a third consecutive state title proved out of the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team's reach.
The Red Rams' quest ended Wednesday night when Irondequoit, the Section V champions, beat them 8-5 in the state Class B semifinals at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium.
What it came down to was a simple question of possession. Irondequoit, by claiming a majority of the face-offs and patiently working the ball around without turnovers, dictated the game's pace much of the night, a fact that J-D could not overcome.
"You've got to cherish your possessions," said Red Rams head coach Jamie Archer. "We gave it away too many times. Every time we made a mistake, they capitalized on it."
This was a familiar foe for the Rams. Irondequoit had reached the state semifinals in both 2010 and 2011, and both times J-D beat them en route to the big prize. Archer said those defeats gave the Eagles plenty of motivation.
"They (Irondequoit) were hungry, and played like they were hungry," he said.
What made the Eagles' effort more impressive was that J-D did start fast. Mike Engstrom scored 25 seconds into the game, and Lucas Johnson followed with a tally at the 3:07 mark to put the Rams in front 2-0.
And that was J-D's last goal until McLaren Brady converted in the waning seconds of the third quarter. All told, the Rams were shut out for more than 32 minutes of game time, a drought it had not gone through in a long time.
Much of that could be attributed to Irondequoit gaining the face-offs. Once it did, the Eagles were content to hold the ball for long stretches of time, forcing J-D's defense to work hard and keeping it away from the Rams' potent attackers.