BERLIN- Wednesday’s annual backyard brawl between the Stephen Decatur and Worcester Prep boys’ varsity lacrosse team produced another classic in the long series with the Seahawks hanging on for a tight 5-4 over the Mallards.
It’s always special when crosstown rivals Stephen Decatur and Worcester Prep face off in lacrosse and this year’s brawl produced another classic. The Seahawks had not beaten Worcester since 2015 although the games are almost always close. Last year, for example, Worcester edged Decatur in overtime in a game that went back and forth. I 2017, Worcester held on at home, 11-9.
As if there weren’t enough storylines in annual grudge match, each team had new head coaches on the field this year experiencing their first taste of the rivalry. Worcester got a goal from Alec Dembeck and Decatur answered with a goal by Chase Porter as the two teams were tied through much of the first quarter. However, Decatur’s Owen Tunis scored to give Mallards a 2-1 lead with seven seconds left in the period.
Decatur’s Tiernan Weinstein scored less than a minute into the second quarter to knot the game at 2-2 again. Seahawk Austin Airey then scored with 4:38 left in the first half to give Decatur a 3-2 lead. The first half ended with Decatur leading, 3-2, and nobody in the big bipartisan crowd was going anywhere as the sun started to drop and the winds picked up.
Airey put Decatur up, 4-2 with a goal at the 9:41 mark in the third quarter. Tunis then pulled the Mallards to within one again with a fast-break goal on an unsettled situation with just over six minutes remaining in the third to cut the lead to 4-3.
The Seahawks answered quickly with a goal by Eric Gwinn less than two minutes later to push the Decatur lead back to 5-3. Worcester had scoring opportunities throughout the rest of the third quarter and into the fourth, but were repeatedly turned back by the Decatur defense and keeper Tony Scafone.
Meanwhile, with a two-goal lead, the Seahawks were patient on offense and worked the ball around the perimeter while eating up big chunks of clock in the fourth quarter. Worcester’s Cole Berry scored a long-stick goal with just 18 seconds left to cut the Decatur lead to 5-4.
The Mallards forced a turnover and called their final timeout with about five seconds left in the game. Worcester drew up a play and got a look late, but Decatur held on as time expired, touching off an on-field celebration for the Seahawks.