By Aaron Poling
MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP – As the years go by, both the Mona Shores and Reeths-Puffer lacrosse teams are sure to have their share of success against each other, particularly since the rivalry is beginning for the players at such a young age.
On Saturday the two lacrosse programs had their second annual Lumbertown Lax Jam at Reeths-Puffer High School, a day-long event where all Mona Shores and Reeths-Puffer teams go head-to-head, all the way down to the very little players in the early elementary grades
We don’t have final scores of all the games, but at the varsity level, Mona Shores has the slight edge at this point.
Sailor junior Landon Taylor scored the dramatic game-winning goal with 10 seconds left as the Sailors edged the Rockets 14-13. Taylor and teammate Brayton Conrad led Mona Shores with five goals apiece.
The Sailors, who only won a single game in 2019, the last season the team played before COVID, improved its record to an impressive 5-1. Reeths-Puffer fell to 2-6.
“I just got a pass from Cody (Gudgell), the goalie was heavy on my bottom side, so I took him topside and let the shot rip,” Taylor said about his game-winning goal.
“Landon is an extremely talented young man, who has had just an incredible lacrosse season so far, and he came up big at the right time today,” said Mona Shores Coach Murle Greer. “Landon made a great play off of a hitch and dodge at the right time and really stepped up for his team today.”
The Sailors jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. JJ Boos opened the scoring with 9:35 left in the first quarter. Taylor scored his first of the night with 9:14 left in the quarter.
The Rockets responded by scoring three straight goals of their own – two from Merritt Archer and one from Caden Brainard – to take a 3-2 lead.
The Sailors bounced back by scoring the game’s next five goals. Boos picked up his second goal of the night with 3:26 left in the first quarter. Conrad scored back-to-back goals, the first coming with 2:51 left in the quarter, and the second with 2:02 left. Jake Nanna beat the clock by scoring a goal with just four seconds remaining, and Mona Shores led 6-3 at the first break.
Taylor scored less than a minute into the second quarter, making the score 7-3. Both teams picked up a pair of goals before halftime. Kyler Brainard scored both for the Rockets, while Conrad and Taylor both scored their third of the night for the Sailors, who led 9-5 at halftime.
The Rockets trimmed the deficit to one goal by outscoring the Sailors 5-2 in the third quarter. Hudson Richards picked up his first goal of the game for the Rockets, while Archer picked up his third. Caden Brainard scored his second and third of the game, and Aidan Huber added a goal. Conrad scored both third-quarter goals for the Sailors, who led 11-10 heading into the fourth.
Archer tied the game with 11:05 left to play. Taylor gave the Sailors a one-goal lead with 9:25 left. JJ Boos doubled the lead with 6:20 left, then Brainard scored back-to-back goals to tie the game at 13-13.
That left Taylor to score the dramatic game winner with 10 seconds left, giving Mona Shores another victory.
Afterward both coaches had good things to say about the day-long lacrosse marathon between Muskegon County’s only two high school programs.
“It’s an exciting day for all the kids to get together,” said R-P Coach Bob Walters. “We get to see the little guys play, and they get to see us play. This is the second year we have done this, and it sets up a real good rivalry.”
“Muskegon lacrosse has grown a lot in the past few years,” Greer said about the event. “This event is about the lacrosse community and showcasing our guys and the game itself.”