Several hundred spectators gathered at Ron & Mary Brown Stadium on Friday evening to cheer on the Davis High varsity boys lacrosse team and, in particular, its upperclassmen, as they took on Granite Bay in their annual senior night game.
The crowd’s support was rewarded with a spectacle not easily forgotten.
Playing under the lights at Halden Field one final time, the Blue Devil seniors made electrifying plays in every area of the game to lead their team to a 10-7 victory over the Grizzlies.
In the process, DHS improved to 11-0 in Sacramento Valley Lacrosse Conference play (15-3 overall) and clinched the SVLC title. The locals now have won league titles two years in a row, with last year’s coming in the Bay Shore Athletic League.
Neither title would have been possible without the efforts of graduating players like Mikie Schlosser. Schlosser, who is set to play lacrosse for the University of Michigan next fall, scored five goals on Friday night to go along with his usual free safety-like presence in the middle of the field.
“His shots were just on tonight,” DHS head coach Nick Juri said. “The guy is unstoppable. The other team game plans for him. They know he’s going to be there and yet he still finds a way to be open.”
Goalie Will McPherson, another Michigan-bound senior, made several impressive saves and kept the Grizzly offense at bay when it mattered most.
“The guy’s a beast,” Juri said. “That guy should be an All-American goalie. I nominated him for it, we’ll see what happens. He played lights-out tonight. He stopped every single ball that he should’ve. He’s just a wall.”
Two more upperclassmen, Willie Hawkins and Kevin Klenzendorf, got the Blue Devil offense rolling in the early going. Klenzendorf slashed inside and scored off a pass from Hawkins to tie the score at 1-1 with 6:37 left to play in the first quarter.
“I’ve had Kevin — or ‘Mouth,’ as I affectionately call him — for four years now,” Juri said. “It’s been great. He’s a great player, he’s got a ton of enthusiasm, (and) he just loves the game. And he’s quick. He’s one of the fastest guys on the team, if not the fastest.
“With every single game, (Willie Hawkins) is becoming a smarter lacrosse player. It’s (been) great to watch (him) grow over the last four years that I’ve had him. When (Klenzendorf and Hawkins) work together and hook up on goals, it’s nice to see.”
Moments after Klenzendorf’s goal, Schlosser spun around one defender and slipped through another two before scoring in an almost nonchalant manner. The shot gave the Blue Devils the lead for good.
Schlosser followed it up with another goal in the second quarter, this one coming when he streaked down the middle of the defense and found the net on a bullet of a shot.
He added his third goal several minutes later, and Kian Reno added another score to put the locals up 5-2 at halftime.
In the second half, Reno, Mark Bruemmer and Ryan Amesbury each had goals to go along with Schlosser’s two.
The Blue Devils honored all 11 of their seniors in a pre-game ceremony. Schlosser, McPherson, Hawkins, Klenzendorf, Grant Rose, Kelby Spore, Rudy Buhlman, Yuto Okamoto, Steven Orr, Patrick Zhu and Gus Realyvasquez walked under a tunnel of lacrosse sticks with their parents and received a few words over the PA system.
“These guys have put in a lot of work for this team. They deserve this win tonight. They deserve this league championship,” Juri said. “We’re going to miss them next year.”
However, the sun has yet to completely set on the seniors. DHS will attempt to go undefeated in league play when it travels to Lincoln for its final regular-season game. After that, the locals will turn their attention to the North Coast Section playoffs.
— Reach Will Bellamy at firstname.lastname@example.org