If Heritage’s run in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A boys lacrosse playoffs had to end, it was likely going to end against a state championship contender. By the third round, that’s most of the teams left including host Middle Creek on Tuesday night.
Middle Creek’s 17-5 win was inevitable. The Mustangs jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the first quarter and coasted from there.
“Their goalie (junior Blake Glenn) is really good. We knew that going in,” Middle Creek coach Nicholas Holota said. “What we really wanted to do was get him moving a bit, left to right, just so he wasn’t comfortable and take good, angled shots.”
The Mustangs (18-3) were led by Owen Caputo’s six goals and two assists. Jake Caputo, Noah Clinton and Nate Post (one assist) added two goals each. Charlie Doetzer, A.J. King, Augy White, Tanner Patrick and Jimmy Slaight had one goal apiece.
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Jared Medwar had four assists.
Middle Creek will go to Wilmington to play Hoggard, which beat the Mustangs earlier this year. The winner will play either Leesville Road or Cardinal Gibbons for the right to play for a state title.
“The best thing we can do is have a couple of great days of practice,” Holota said.
Heritage (9-9) was making its first trip to third round in school history. Wins against J.H. Rose (Greenville) and New Bern pitted the Huskies in a round filled with teams who have experience getting to the state’s quarterfinals and semifinal rounds with regularity.
The Huskies might be that team one day as their program continues to grow. Seven of the team’s players were freshmen. Just two seniors who received regular minutes, five total, are graduating.
“We’re just young. My message is that the new season starts basically tomorrow. We’re going to work really hard this offseason,” first-year coach Cameron Ferguson said. “Next year, years to come, we can be right there with (Middle Creek), we’ve just got to work hard.”
Keelan Seneca led Heritage with two goals while Evan Savage, Colby Potwin and Anthony Murphy (one assist) each had one goal.
“This year we took it up to the next level as far as what they were believing in themselves,” Ferguson said. “I think we’ve got a stong future at Heritage lacrosse.”