By Andy Durham
Tallahassee, FL — Chiles High Lacrosse pulled away from crosstown rival Lincoln High on Tuesday night for an 8-4 victory at Gene Cox Stadium. Rain came and went throughout the game, and referees ended up calling the game with five minutes left in the fourth quarter due to an extended lightning delay.
Lincoln got on the board early with two first quarter goals from Senior Justin Johnson and held the lead until midway through the second quarter. Sophomore Kaison Durham struck first for Chiles in the second quarter with an assist from Reece Forbes. Senior Sam Hartman followed up a few minutes later with a left-handed rocket to even the score. Senior Ashton Way scored on an assist from Aiden Melendez with 1:35 left in the quarter to give Chiles its first lead of the game.
The story of the game was the masterful goalkeeping by Senior Carson Hough for the Timberwolves. Hough stymied Trojan scoring attempts all night with several point-blank saves. The Chiles defense was also able to contain Lincoln senior standout Morgan Bell, holding the Belmont Abbey College commit to just one score on the night. Chiles Junior Jackson Sytsma continued his impressive season on defense with several ground balls and forced turnovers.
Chiles opened the second half with a 15-yard laser from Senior Spencer Brenneman to take a 4-2 lead. But with less than five minutes left in the quarter, Bell stole the ball from Hartman at midfield and fed Junior Caleb Washington for the Trojan goal. A minute and a half later, Bell darted through the Chiles defense on a restart and sniped a shot past Hough to tie the game at four apiece.
On the next possession, Lincoln was charged with a two-minute, non-releasable penalty for unnecessary roughness. The Timberwolves took advantage of the man-up offense with another fireball shot from Brenneman to retake the lead. Chiles then scored early in the fourth quarter with a dink shot by Durham from a Hartman assist.
Sam Hartman took over the game after that, whipping a 15-yarder past Lincoln goalie Blair Bentley to make it 7-4 Chiles. Minutes later, Hartman intercepted an attempted clear from Bentley and scored again for a hat trick and a four-goal lead over the Trojans. The 16 goals on the season for the senior Rollins College commit leads the District.
Referees suspended play with 5:00 left in the game because of a lightning strike. With no improvement in the weather, the game was officially called 30 minutes later for an 8-4 Chiles victory. Chiles also won the Junior Varsity game against Lincoln earlier in the evening 13-2.
With the win, Chiles remains undefeated in Class 2A, District 1. This was the second victory of the season for the Timberwolves over the Trojans after beating them 8-5 at Chiles High School on February 26. Controversy surfaced before the Tuesday night game after a disagreement between the two schools regarding District play. Chiles claimed that the February 26 win was the official District matchup, with the Tuesday night game a non-District contest. Lincoln contended that the March 3 game was for the official District standings.
Lincoln goes on the road Friday to Gainesville for a District game against Buchholz High School. The Trojans are 1-4 on the season with a 1-1 District record. Chiles hosts Orange Park powerhouse Fleming Island on Saturday, March 7 in a non-District matchup. The Timberwolves improve to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the District with wins over Leon, Lincoln, and Niceville.