Buchholz lacrosse heads to States for first time in program history
It's a postseason run seven years in the making. Coach Casey Adams took over the Buchholz boys lacrosse team in 2010 after graduating from the school, and now, the Bobcats are headed to the state playoffs for the first time in school history.
To get here, the 'Cats had to find a way past six-time defending district champion Oak Hall (15-3) . The upset came April 7 at Citizens Field, when BHS beat the Eagles, 8-5.
"I don't really have a word to describe the feeling," senior goalie Connor Burns said. "They've beaten us every year. They probably knew they were going to go in and beat us, but when we went out and won, I've never had a feeling like that. That was probably the happiest I've been in a while.
As time expired on the game clock, Adams said he was so overcome with emotion that he fell to his knees. He needed to soak in the moment before meeting with the players, parents and fans.
"I don't think I can really describe it because I've seen every player to wear the black and gold jersey here," he said. "I've been around every coach -- been under them, been with them -- and no one's really been able to do it when it matters in Districts. So to be the first guy, it's truly amazing and I'm very blessed to be here. I'm very proud of these boys."
The accomplishment is just as big for the 15 seniors on the squad.
"It means everything," Burns said. "To be the first senior class to ever go to States, it's everything to me. We have 15 seniors this year, a decent amount, and for them to go out that way -- all the other seniors from past years, I know they're rooting for us this time. They're all extremely proud of us."
Adams has been with the program since 2009, its first year competing at a varsity level. After playing with the team for two years, he was junior varsity coach for one season and became varsity head coach in 2012.
If Buchholz (9-7) were to make a postseason run any year, Adams said it should be this year due to all the experience on the team.
"These kids are as tough as nails," Adams said. "They've been tested all year. They've been in some battles where they've come out with a loss and it's hard on them -- fifteen seniors and they don't want to lose a single game, and we've got a pretty good amount of losses on our record. But, they hung in there, stayed true to what they're doing in practice, and it showed at the end of the year."
Buchholz will travel to Jacksonville Bolles (13-8) for a first-round play-in game at 7 p.m. Thursday. If the Bobcats win, they'll host the second-round play-in game April 18.