Strong first quarter propels boys varsity lacrosse to dominating 17-6 win over FHE in rematch of 2019 State Championship


Junior John Tomsheck’s opening two goals in the first four minutes of Thursday night’s game against Forest Hills Eastern ultimately got the Rangers off to a flying start with five unanswered goals in the first quarter. John’s success did not stop there, totaling three goals and four assists throughout the game. John and the rest of the FHC attack pushed the tempo for a high-scoring affair, and the Rangers’ defense locked up a talented Forest Hills Eastern squad to combine for a 17-6 win. 

A rematch of the 2019 State Championship, the rivalry between FHC and FHE is the epitome of high school sports; two high-level programs competing against each other from just 15 minutes away, with guys on both sides very familiar with each other. With that element, the game brings high emotions and passion, which were both certainly present on Thursday night. After being routed by the Rangers 20-4 in the most recent state championship, there had been a lot of chatter from the Eastern program about its potential success this year. The Hawks return nearly all of their impact players from the 2019 run, and they bring in a loaded senior class that’s been talked about for years. That being said, this FHC team used its performance on the field to answer any doubts about how this round of the rivalry would go. 

Despite the fast and furious start from the FHC offense on the box score, FHE had a spell of control of its own in the first couple of minutes. Sophomore goalie Crandall Quinn was forced into some impressive saves, keeping the game scoreless as the Rangers settled into the game. From here on out for the rest of the quarter, it was all FHC. Following another athletic save from Crandall, the Rangers quickly advanced the ball in transition to John, who scored his first of the day three minutes into the contest. After an impressive solo run for his second goal just under a minute later, other sources began hitting the back of the net for FHC. Junior Quentin Rudolph snagged his lone goal of the game three minutes later, while senior Collin Ward and sophomore Magnus Salmon scored the first of their respective hat tricks before the first twelve minutes expired to end the quarter with a 5-0 lead. 

“We started off great, just how we wanted,” head coach Andy Shira said. “I told the kids when we were reviewing the scouting report before the game that the first five minutes and first quarter were going to be big for us to put them down early.”

After the successful opening quarter, Eastern briefly began to crawl its way back. Scoring two unanswered goals in the first three minutes, Tomsheck returned to the scoresheet at a crucial moment. His goal—and hat trick—gave FHC a 6-2 lead with 8:39 to play. However, the Hawks returned a punch once again a minute later. For the ensuing five minutes, both teams traded possessions, but neither team scored until senior Brady Nolan’s first of the season with two minutes to play in the half. Although, the Hawks answered once again, keeping the game a three-goal affair with a goal coming half a second before the clock expired. With a 7-4 lead at the interval, the Rangers had to get back to their ways from the first quarter to put the Hawks to bed. 

“We got sloppy in the second quarter with loose balls on the turf, errant passes, unforced turnovers, and bad clears,” Shira said. “We let them crawl back, and in games like these, emotions can get high. There’s a lot of excitement and possibly nerves. At halftime, I simply reviewed what our job was defensively and spoke to them about cleaning things up.”

Right away, the Rangers answered Shira’s call. Almost immediately, Magnus went top shelf, and sophomore Rowan Clay soon followed with his first of the day less than a minute later. After the Indiana trip, Rowan was moved to attack, and he made an instant impact in the next game against Okemos by scoring four goals. He improved on this total on Thursday, scoring five goals—all of which came in the second half—to silence the Hawks. The adjustments made by Shira and his staff since the opening weekend of the season have shown impressive results. 

On the topic of adjustments, sophomore Jack Elliott forced the Eastern coaching staff into one early on. As Jack locked down FHE senior attack John Morgan, a University of Michigan signee, the FHE coaches moved Morgan to midfield to unlock him. In what turned into a game of chess, the FHC staff returned the favor and moved Jack to midfield as well, and his air-tight defense continued. Fellow sophomore Sam Sneider also shined on defense, forcing a lot of turnovers higher in the FHC half and using his length to his advantage. Seniors Deacon Lobdell, Sawyer Bosch, and junior John Foster aided immensely on defense, especially in help defense. After a couple of slip-ups in the second quarter, this FHC defense locked in throughout the second half and put in an impressive shift, going two whole quarters without giving up a goal.

Offensively, Rowan paved the way to a blowout in the second half with his five goals. All four premier guys in the Ranger attack—Collin, Magnus, John, and Rowan—had a hat trick, and John added four assists on top of his three goals. 

Two really impressive offensive displays in a row have shown what this team is capable of, but the Rangers face another difficult task on Saturday. FHC will host the Hartland Eagles, who come into this game highly-ranked, regardless of which ranking system you look at. In All Lacrosse Michigan’s preseason rankings, Hartland came in behind the Rangers (who are third) at sixth, while they find the fifth-ranked spot in Division 1. In the most recent encounter between the two teams, FHC took down the Eagles in a thrilling 17-15 affair in the early stages of the 2019 State Championship run. Jack Elliott and the FHC defense will have their work cut out for them once again as they look to shut down junior Bo Lockwood, Hartland’s go-to guy on the attack. In his freshman season in 2019, Lockwood tallied 66 goals and 46 assists, earning All-American honors along the way. The game between FHC and Hartland will take place this Saturday at 2:00 PM at FHC.