(Photo Credit: Kyle Hess/Marietta Daily Journal)
It’s January, which means lacrosse season is right around the corner. In the many southern states, the high school lacrosse season is a month away or sooner, especially this year.
The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) is currently set to begin play on February 8th. The state title games are currently set for May 15th.
With the high school season just right around the corner, here are a few superlatives from around the Peach State heading into the 2021 spring season:
Team Most Likely to Win a State Title:
There are multiple teams across A-5A and 6A-7A that could be put in this spot. But ultimately it came own to three programs: Lambert, Lassiter, and Walton. All three have the talent to make a title run, but I’ve gotta go with the Lassiter Trojans here. They last won a state title in 2017 and are always in the mix amongst the top teams in the state. During the shortened 2020 season, they went 5-0 and defeated their opponents by an average of 14 goals per game.
2021 will feature a pretty talented Lassiter squad, especially on the offensive end. The Trojans will be lead by a star-studded trio of senior attackmen in Andrew Atchison (Denver commit), Braden Erksa (Maryland signee), and Ethan Cox (Utah signee). Senior Dylan Hunt (Palm Beach Atlantic commit) should be one of their top poles and a leader on the back end for the Trojans. This team simply has talent all over the field and if their impressive start last season was any indication of where this squad is heading, they should make some serious noise here in 2021.
Team To Watch:
Another team that had an impressive start to the shortened 2020 season, the Buford Wolves went 7-0, which included wins over strong teams in Mill Creek and McCallie (Tenn.). Coming into 2021, the Wolves do loose some good talent, but return a whole heap of it as well. Senior attackman Mikey Canavan (Belmot Abbey Commit) will be one of the key veteran leaders on offense, while senior Defemsenam/LSM Davis Peak (23GB/10CT), who is one of a number of dual-sport athletes on the Wolves’ roster, will be one of the leaders on the back end.
In addition to the strong upperclassmen talent, sophomore attackman Nash Perry is one of the top 2023 players in the state and junior faceoffmen Braden Cole and Dawson Andrew provide a solid one-two punch at the dot.
Best Offensive Player:
There are multiple players who could be argued for this spot, and since I’ve already given some ink to the aforementioned Lassiter attackman, I’m going to put Milton senior midfielder Fisher Finley (Notre Dame signee).
Standing 6-foot-5, 200-pounds, Finely is a big, physical imposing dodging threat from up top. He knows how to use his speed, size, and athleticism to create separation and get high quality shots off, specifically dodging down the alley and rolling back to the middle of the field. He is rated as a three-star by Inside Lacrosse.
Best Defensive Player:
Junior defenseman Denton Shamburger will be a leader on the back end for Westminster this spring, as he looks to further assert himself as one of the top defensemen in the Peach State.
An aggressive defender, Shamburger can and will put the ball on the ground. He shows the ability to use both his body and his stick to win one-on-one matchups. In addition to his skills on the defensive end, Shamburger is not afraid to take it coast to coast. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior runs the field well and can do some serious damage in the transition game and in the offensive zone. He plays some of his best ball in between the boxes and in unsettled situations.
Call this one a toss up, if you will. Certainly there is an argument to be made for Blessed Trinity junior faceoff man Wilson Van Buren (Dartmouth commit) and Westminster senior faceoff man Dylan Farley (Harvard signee). The pair of Ivy League pledges are, without a doubt, the top two specialist in the state coming into this season.
Van Buren, who is 5-foot-11, 180-pound, is rated as a three-star prospect by Inside Lacrosse and is one of the top prospects in his class in the state of Georgia. Not only does have have the quick hand speed needed to win the clamp and gain possession, but he can also do some damage himself as a shooter and a passer once in the offensive zone.
Also rated as a three-star by Inside Lacrosse, Farley went 99-for-122 (81%) at the dot and tallied 11 points (9G/2A) this past spring while helping Westminster to a 5-1 record before the season was cancelled. In 2019, he went 76% at the dot and helped lead the Wildcats to a GHSA 1A-5A state championship.