“Freshman yr, nobody knew what was going to occur [when former head coach Andrew LaValle stepped down],” Wakefield senior captain Jake Dubiel stated.
“Coach [Johnson] actually picked up the place we left off. He taught us about enjoying the sport the way in which it’s presupposed to be performed. And when he introduced in a member of the [Mohawk tribe], it opened our eyes up that that is greater than only a sport, it’s an escape, and it helped the group dig somewhat deeper to search out which means.”
Wakefield completed the 2019 season with a shedding report, and with the cancellation of the 2020 season, needed to wait one other yr to search out momentum. However the Warriors showcased their rise final spring with a 9-8 win over Melrose to qualify for the Middlesex League Match closing, and a 10-9 thriller over Billerica within the Division 2 North semifinals to advance to the second sectional closing in program historical past.
This yr, the Warriors (7-1) have been honoring lacrosse custom through the use of a standard Mohawk saying (Skatne Te Wa’ Shaste) which means “We’re stronger collectively.” The slogan, emblazoned on the backs of their observe jerseys, is an apt description of their team-oriented strategy.
A two-year captain, Dubiel is Wakefield’s main scorer and essential playmaker out of the midfield. He was taking the vast majority of faceoffs final yr till Bobby DeFeo jumped into the faceoff X to spark a 9-6 win over Lexington through the ML Match.
With DeFeo profitable 75 p.c of faceoffs and Dubiel round 70 p.c this season, each gamers have stayed contemporary on offense, the place Dubiel has compiled 19 targets via six video games, together with 5 targets in a 7-6 double-overtime win at Lynnfield final Thursday.
“When you consider the specialty positions, each coach will admit that faceoffs are key,” Johnson stated. “So rotating two guys like Jake and Bobby as our most proficient gamers, it frees one in every of them as much as concentrate on offense, and doesn’t put on them down. You then add Danny Mailhoit, who’s profitable 60 p.c of his faceoffs, and you’ve got the arrogance to present anybody a break.”
Johnson additionally has confidence in his protection and his son, junior goalie Kaiden Johnson, who’s sporting a 64 p.c save price this season and made a pair of point-blank stops to arrange Dubiel’s winner within the thriller towards Lynnfield final week.
Kaiden stated his curiosity within the custom of lacrosse elevated after he made a visitor look with the Highway Warriors Membership — which is generally comprised of gamers with Iroquois or different native heritage — in a match in Lake Placid, N.Y. earlier than his freshman yr.
Whereas his son has been enjoying goalie since third grade, Johnson picked up the game in school after lettering in soccer, basketball, and observe at Wakefield. He fell in love with the sport throughout a niche yr at Bridgton Academy, then went on to a four-year profession on the College of New England.
He coached in Kennebunk, Maine, earlier than returning to Lexington, the place he has spent 24 years a full-time firefighter and paramedic, additionally serving 16 years as an ER nurse at Boston Medical Middle and Melrose Wakefield Hospital.
“[Lacrosse has] by no means left my blood since 1988 and I want it was longer, as a result of it’s such an amazing sport. I’ve made so many pals via it, some actually good pals who’re Native Individuals, and actually taught me what the game is about,” Johnson stated.
“It was used for territorial battles, video games with no finish time that might go on for days,” the coach continued. “At occasions, I prefer to instill that mind-set and inform the youngsters we’re going to struggle for 48 minutes, and we’re going to win, or study. I’ve tried to take what the native tradition has taught me thus far and assist us turn into a greater program.”
On Thursday, Wakefield and Melrose engaged in one other territorial battle, the fourth assembly between the Middlesex League rivals since final season, and a second consecutive picture end. With Dubiel inactive due to a concussion, Wakefield trailed, 8-5, early within the fourth quarter, however Kaiden stored his group within the sport with 19 saves, whereas Joey O’Brien picked up the slack on offense with 5 targets.
DeFeo received 13 of 20 attracts, scored with 2 minutes remaining, and assisted John Regan’s extra time winner after Joe Colliton tied the sport, 8-8, with 12 seconds remaining in regulation.
“I sort of stood on my head to maintain us in there, however it was an all-around group effort,” Kaiden stated. “We get into wars with [Melrose] on a regular basis. Final yr, it was nearly the identical state of affairs, and with Jake out, it made us work somewhat tougher. All people stepped up and that is going to organize us for extra battles going ahead.”
▪ Scituate had an eventful week with a three-goal comeback to earn a 9-8 win over Hanover to advance to the championship sport of the Chowda Cup championship, the place the Sailors topped Marshfield, 14-6. On Tuesday, Scituate fell behind, 6-5, within the fourth quarter at Silver Lake earlier than sophomore middie Jake O’Malley scored the tying purpose and Charlie Hartwell potted the winner with 1:30 remaining. Quinn Gannon went 28 for 37 on faceoffs within the wins over Hanover and Silver Lake, and the Sailors obtained balanced scoring from freshman Will Robertson, senior Joe Cahill, and others, with groups locking off James Sullivan.
“It’s been an attention-grabbing week to say the least,” Scituate coach Mark Puzzangara stated. “We had shut video games and had been capable of simply make just a few extra performs than the opposite groups to get the win. It’s been thrilling, somewhat tense, however thrilling.”
▪ Franklin bounced again from a last-second loss to top-ranked St. John’s Prep with a 13-12 win over Norwell Tuesday . . . Nauset prolonged its promising 7-1 begin to the season with wins over Bristol-Plymouth and Barnstable by a mixed rating of 48-1 . . . Needham coach Dave Wainwright earned his three hundredth profession win when his Rockets topped Brookline, 20-7, Thursday.
▪ Former Studying star Kevin Tobin, a grad pupil at UMass, handed former Billerica star Jeff Trainor (’21) as the best scoring midfielder within the historical past of the lads’s lacrosse program along with his 152nd level . . . Burlington alum Mitchell Maida reached 100 profession factors simply 21 video games into his school profession at Mass Maritime, with 33 targets and 25 assists thus far this season. “I’m not shocked,” Burlington coach Brendan Maney stated of his former participant’s success. “It appears to suit his sort of service-first perspective. Nearly as good as he’s, and proficient as he’s, as good as he’s, it’s at all times in service to some larger trigger, some larger good.”
Video games to observe
Friday, Franklin at Lincoln-Sudbury, 5 p.m. — The Panthers dropped a 14-13 heartbreaker to St. John’s Prep final Saturday, then held on for Tuesday’s win over Norwell. In the meantime, L-S edged Hingham, 8-7, Saturday to win the Coaches Cup Match.
Saturday, Nantucket at Martha’s Winery, 12 p.m. — The Island Cup takes to the lacrosse pitch to shut out April, with Nantucket hopping on the ferry over to its neighboring rival.
Tuesday, Chelmsford at North Andover, 6 p.m. — The Scarlet Knights have an environment friendly offensive system led by brothers Jack and Brian Ferullo. Chelmsford is younger, however proficient, on protection.
Thursday, Acton-Boxborough at Harmony-Carlisle, 4:30 p.m. — The highest groups within the Twin County League tangle in a rivalry that’s made even fiercer now that Harmony-Carlisle is in Division 1.
Thursday, Natick at Needham, 6:30 p.m. — The Rockets have been dealt 4 losses to nonleague foes, however stay undefeated within the Bay State Convention. Needham took down Natick, 11-8, within the BSC closing final June.
Correspondent Ethan McDowell contributed to this story.