Southern Durham’s Xavier Proctor knew he was a marked man when the school considered starting a lacrosse program. Proctor, who teaches civics at the school, had played lacrosse in high school in Maryland.
“I had the most knowledge of anybody about the sport, so I knew they’d want me to coach,” Proctor said. “But I was all for it. Football is my favorite sport, but lacrosse is a great sport and I want to see it grow.”
Proctor has had to start with basic fundamentals as the Spartans try to improve enough for their first victory of the season.
“We have about four for five freshmen from Neal Middle School that start and have helped us,” Proctor said. “We’re a very, very young team that is competing against experienced players. But we have guys who are playing hard and scoring goals. It’s matter of time for us to learn the game, build some chemistry and a culture.”
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One of those freshmen playing a major role this season is Jamae Blank, a 6-foot-1, 170-pounder that played JV football and some varsity games last fall. He began playing lacrosse in seventh grade at Neal as a form of discipline.
“I was a knucklehead,” said Blank. “I didn’t do anything bad, but I was one of those kids talking too much in classes. They sent me to one of the coaches, and he made me sign a contract.”
The coach was Eric Lockard, and the terms included giving lacrosse a try. It wasn’t long before Blank picked up the sport.
“I love the contact and the finesse of the game,” Blank said. “I played defense in middle school, but I’m playing midfield now. Football is still my main sport, but I plan to keep playing lacrosse.”
The Spartans need his scoring if they’re going to win their first match. He lifted Southern Durham to a 3-1 lead over Southeast Raleigh in the Spartans’ best chance this year, but once he left the game with a knee injury Southeast Raleigh rallied for a 5-4 victory.
“I want to see this program grow,” Proctor said. “We’re taking on lumps, but if we stay with it we’ll be the team giving the lumps. I tell the kids we’ll get better. We’ll rise.”