It looked like it was anyone's game for three quarters of the Douglas County-Highlands Ranch April 11 boys lacrosse game. It was a hard-hitting, physical game, with players from both teams hitting the turf as a result of hard collisions or hard checks. The Falcons got an early goal but every scoring spurt was countered by Huskies' goal-scoring so Highlands Ranch usually held only a one- or two-goal lead. But a fourth-quarter scoring explosion was the difference as Highlands Ranch won, 16-9
“I thought we played pretty tough for three quarters but our roster is a little thin, so I think we sort of ran out of gas late and they kind of took it to us in the fourth period,” Huskies coach T.J. Braun said after the game. “We had a smaller turnout than we expected so our roster was fairly small, then it was thinned when we lost some guys to injuries. But that is to be expected this time of year because lacrosse is a very physical game.”
He said he has a few seniors who are leaders, but the Huskies have a lot of young players the team relies on, which is good for the future of the team.
The first-year coach said the focus is building the program.
“We have come a long way as a team since the start of the season,” he said. “We installed some things when I got here that were mandatory steps to help us play better lacrosse. The kids bought into our program, they are working hard and that is all a coach can ask.”
Highlands Ranch pulled out in front quickly and led 2-0 at the end of the first quarter. Douglas County responded with three goals by Mike Blais to make the score 4-3 at halftime. The seesaw scoring battle continued through the third period and the Huskies trailed 8-7 going into the final quarter. That was when Highlands Ranch put on the scoring spurt to win the game, 16-9.
The Huskies took 19 shots on goal and scored nine times. Blais was the leading scorer with six goals, teammate Connor Bullock had one goal and one assist and Chase Rodine scores a goal for his team.
Denton Skelton was in goal for the Huskies and he made 16 saves. Bullock took a total of 25 faceoffs and he won 15 of them.
They said it
Blais is this season's leading scorer for Douglas County, and with the goals tallied against Highlands Ranch he has scored 36 goals and made 11 assists in 10 games.
“I started playing baseball when I was younger, I got bored so I started also playing lacrosse and eventually I gave up baseball to focus on lacrosse,” the Douglas County senior said after the game. “I got encouragement to stick with lacrosse from my dad's business partner's son, who played lacrosse at DU. They got me my first set of gear, I started playing lacrosse and really liked the sport.”
He said playing attack he always looks for openings to get off good shots or for the opportunity to pass the ball off to a teammate who has an opening for a good shot.
“My favorite shot is to start low and shoot the ball high toward the top area of the net,” he said. “This season I just want to work hard to do all I can to help my team and I want to continue to improve as a lacrosse player and as a student.”
Blais said his lacrosse career will continue after high school graduation as he expects to be playing lacrosse for Colorado Mesa University next season.
Douglas County's overall record was 6-4 and league record was 1-2 after the Highlands Ranch game. The 1-2 mark put the Huskies in fifth place in the Douglas County Lacrosse League. There were four games left in the regular season after the April 11 game and Douglas County's last regular season is scheduled April 28 against Rock Canyon.