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Barlow Cruises to Boys Lacrosse State Title

EASTON, Conn. – Joel Barlow’s boys lacrosse team won its first state championship since 2002 Saturday with a resounding 15-2 win over Somers in the state championship game at Brien McMahon High School.

Nolan Stauffer scored five goals to pace the top-seeded Falcons (18-3), who trailed 2-1 with 2:58 left in the first quarter before exploding for 11 goals in the second quarter and a 13-2 halftime lead.

“Coach called a timeout in the first quarter and told us ‘Where do you think you are?’’’ Stauffer said of coach John Distler. “He said we’re playing for a state championship. It was time to wake up.”

Barlow lost in the Class S championship game last year to St. Joseph, 6-5, and dropped the South-West Conference title game to Weston in late May. This was the last opportunity for Barlow’s seniors to walk away with the hardware they wanted the most.  They didn’t let it slip away.

“It’s all forgotten now,’’ Distler said. “It was important to get this for the seniors.”

The Falcons’ senior class led the way, too. Stauffer also had three assists and had three goals in the second quarter when Barlow broke it open. Mike Mattson, another senior, had three goals and just as he did in the state semifinals, dominated the face-offs.  Senior Wyatt Tompkins dished out five assists.

“The loss against Weston in the SWC championship game was a wake-up call for us,’’ Stauffer said. “That taught us that we have to be ready for every game. That showed us we had to come together.”

The Falcons did just that, outscoring opponents 45-8 in three state tournament games.  Goalie Cooper Brown was sensational in goal during the run, and the offense was lethal once it got started. As in the state semifinal win over Weston, the Falcons started slowly.

“That’s been a theme all season,’’ Stauffer said. “We needed to turn it up.”

Liam Rooney added three goals for the winners and Jesse Beatty had two. Thomas Samartino and Matt Billy had one each. Billy left in the game with a concussion in the second quarter.

“It’s a good way to go out,’’ Stauffer said. “We always knew we had a good team, from the time when we played in youth league tournaments and everything. We knew this was our year.”

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