YARMOUTH—Outside of a brisk wind that cooled things down, the weather could not have been better for Saturday’s boys’ lacrosse game between the North Yarmouth Academy Panthers and the Scarborough Red Storm on NYA’s synthetic surface.
The upper lawn was filled with lawn chairs while burgers and dogs were being cooked on the grill, but there were also other, more poignant things going on.
This game was a benefit for the Wounded Warriors Project. There was a small cannon on the NYA sidelines and before the game Chris Tyll, owner of Pat’s Pizza in the Old Port, addressed the crowd not as a candidate for state Senate for District 11, but as a former Navy Seal.
“Statistics have shown that over the last 10 years, less than one percent of our country has served (in the military) since 9/11,” said Tyll. “That one percent has borne over 100 percent of the sacrifices so that we can rest easy at night, enjoy a great spring day and watch some great lacrosse.
“Wounded Warriors is a great program that I hold dear to my heart. If you look at the (Wounded Warrior Project) logo, the soldier being carried is wounded and obviously needs help. Now, let’s look at the soldier on the bottom (carrying the other soldier). This soldier has probably been deployed two to five times in a combat zone. He carries 35 pounds of armor, 50 pounds of ammunition and supplies and selflessly removes his comrade from the battlefield. They probably both suffer from TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTS (Post Traumatic Stress). The guy on the top needs our help, but the guy on the bottom needs our help as well. The PTS he has is not a disorder, it’s a wound that we have a responsibility as a nation to help heal. Get involved and help turn this from a bumper sticker to a movement.”
Tyll encouraged the players to embrace that warrior spirit.
“Hit hard, get back up, only to do it again,” he said. “If you play inside the confines of the rules of this game, you’ll learn lessons from that type of effort.
“It’s my hope that this generation does not have to face the horrors of war. By continuing to embrace such a great sport and work hard in your studies, I feel confident we’ll have another breed of warriors if we have to call upon you.”
The event was put together by longtime NYA assistant coach Bruce Myers.
“I can’t take any credit for this,” said NYA head coach Chris Carpentier, of the benefit. “The credit for all of this goes to Coach Myers.”
“It’s a popular cause and it should be at the time of war,” said Myers, who coordinated the events, including the color guard on hand to present the nation’s colors, the tie-in with the ship USS Michael Murphy and Tyll’s speech. Myers’ son is currently in the Navy, and Myers himself worked for the Navy for years.
“I think a lot of people look at it as though the soldiers are at war and America’s at the mall,” Myers said. “It’s good for kids to go out and do something for someone else. We live in a world of instant gratification, so any time they can go out and do something for someone else, it’s good for them.”
As for the game, after goalies from both teams matched each other early with tough saves, NYA got on the board first with a goal by Oliver Silverson to take a 1-0 lead, which is how the first period ended.
NYA added to that lead quickly in the second period, as Jacob Scammon scored 31 seconds in to extend the lead to 2-0.
Still, Carpentier thought the team’s energy and focus was a little bit underneath its normal standards.
“I was a little worried last night about (them being caught up in the pregame ceremony)”, said Carpentier. “That’s another reason we do stuff like this, so that they’ll have this experience in bigger games down the line.”
NYA’s defense gave Scarborough a tough time early, but with 7:24 remaining in the first half, the Red Storm finally cracked the scoreboard, as junior John Wheeler shot one past NYA goalie Weston Nolan to cut the deficit in half, which is how the first half ended.
Scarborough head coach Joe Hezlep felt it took his team awhile to get into a groove.
“For us, we’ve had this game on our calendar for awhile, not only for the benefit, but because this is the first real big game we’ve had on our schedule for quite awhile,” said Hezlep, who was wearing a desert camouflage sunhat, in honor of his friend, who was injured in Iraq. “It was tough for our guys to respond to someone playing tough defense, or guys carrying the ball and holding it on offense. We hadn’t seen that in a couple weeks and it took us until late in the second quarter before we started to get comfortable, stopped throwing the ball away and stopped missing assignments. It was great for our guys to go up against someone who played up to their level.”
Scarborough tied it up at 2-2 with 5:05 left in the third period when sophomore Cam Loiselle took a pass from Wheeler and got it past Nolan, who finished with nine saves on the day.
NYA retook the lead to make it 3-2 with 1:09 left in the third when Scammon fired one by Scarborough goalie David Pearson, who had 11 saves for the game.
Scarborough tied it up again with 9:04 remaining in the game, as Loiselle and Wheeler connected again. The goalies again exchanged tough saves, but Wheeler found the back of the NYA net off a pass from junior Trevor Murray with 3:04 remaining to put the Red Storm ahead for good.
NYA had a late chance to tie things up, but a shot went off the side of the net with under 30 seconds to go and a long shot at the buzzer fell short of the goal.
“We’re not very good at picking up ground balls or maintaining possessions,” said Myers. “Once we maintain our possessions, we’ll be where we want to be.”
The Panthers (1-3) are back in action Tuesday when they host Fryeburg.
The 5-0 Red Storm welcomes Deering Wednesday.
Scarborough’s Garret Hazelwood fights off NYA defender T.J. Daigler.
Scarborough senior Andrew Jones keeps a close eye on NYA junior Elliott Wellenbach.
Scarborough’s Jon Blaisdell leaps in an attempt to get off a shot, while NYA goalie Weston Nolan stands tall.
Scarborough’s Brendon Smith defends NYA’s Forrest Milburn.
Saturday’s contest between host North Yarmouth Academy and two-time defending Class A state champion Scarborough was much more than just an early season boys’ lacrosse showdown. It was also a benefit for the Wounded Warrior Project and players dressed the part. Junior Oliver Silverson and the Panthers wore camouflage tops, while goalie David Pearson and the Red Storm wore camouflage shorts. Scarborough won the game, 4-3.
More photos below.
NYA senior Charlie Gerrity displays his team’s uniform during Saturday’s game.
Scarborough, decked out in its camouflage shorts, gets instructions from coach Joe Hezlep during Saturday’s game.