Mark Bruemmer could barely walk. His legs and calves were both shot after a long, hard-fought battle.
But the pain was worth it as the Davis High boy’s lacrosse team defeated nemesis Monte Vista — the same squad that had knocked the Blue Devils out of the playoffs the past two years — 7-6 on Bruemmer’s overtime game-winner Friday night.
With just under a minute left in the extra session, Bruemmer, who was having a relatively quiet night, found himself with the ball.
“I really hadn’t done much all game, but I figured I might as well take it and see what happens,” an exhausted Bruemmer said after the game. “I drove toward the goal, rolled under, and shot it and hoped for the best.”
Once the Devils saw the soft ripple of the net, the sideline erupted, streaming onto the field to mob Bruemmer.
But even though Bruemmer’s shot won the contest, it was goalkeeper Vikram Prathap who kept DHS in the game. Prathap made several-eye popping stops, including an almost improbable double-save to prevent the Mustangs from tying the score in the first half.
Prathap become the first goalie to hold mighty MTHS to fewer than eight goals in a game this season. Even more impressive, Friday’s contest was Prathap’s first since being out with a thumb injury.
“Vikram played out of his mind,” said Davis head coach Nick Juri. “He’s been waiting for this for two years; he showed everybody what he’s got.”
Prathap added: “I’ve spent the last two seasons kind of waiting on the sidelines. I knew that this year was going to be my year. I was a little bit iffy with the injury, but it’s my last year and I wanted to go out with a bang.”
In the first half, the Blue Devils got goals from Daniel Rowen and Kevin Willefert to take a 2-1 advantage into intermission.
However, DHS saw its hard-earned lead dissipate quickly as the Mustangs scored four unanswered goals in the third quarter to take a 5-3 lead.
“Some calls didn’t go our way,” Juri said of the scoring run. “A few turnovers got to our heads a little bit, but you know, there are things on this field that we can’t control. As long as we play our game, we’re fine.”
And when the Devils got into a man-up situation, Kian Reno and Sam Eaton took advantage. Reno drove hard to the right side of the field and passed the ball to Eaton behind the net.
Eaton wove his way between two MTHS defenders around the crease and put the ball in the back of the net to cut the deficit to one.
Liam Neville soon tied the score at 5-5 by converting on an opportunity of his own. The Davis speedster left three Mustang defenders in the dust, then whipped a wicked shot past the helpless Monte Vista goalkeeper.
But the Blue Devils still found themselves down 6-5 with less than two minutes to play, and with the ball in the Mustangs’ possession. That’s when DHS’ Jackson Herget harassed a Mustang attacker into coughing up the ball, giving the Devils one last chance to send the game to overtime.
And they converted.
Eaton ripped a one-hopper toward the goal, but it ricocheted off the post and floated in the air for what seemed like forever. The ball ended up in the pocket of Rowen’s stick and the senior coolly sent it into the back of the net to force OT and set up Bruemmer’s game-winner.
The win was sweet as Monte Vista had beaten the Blue Devils three times in the past two seasons, including twice in the playoffs, despite the presence of former DHS standouts Will McPherson, Rudy Buhlman and Mikie Schlosser.
“Whenever we hear that we lost those guys (to graduation) and people say that we’re rebuilding, we get pissed off,” Juri said. “That makes us work even harder because we know that we have the talent to be a great team. We work hard and we know we can beat teams like (Monte Vista).”