The force is with them

Southern Denton County is no stranger to excellence in the realm of athletics, and this year, the sports faithful can throw one more log onto the fire.

The Flower Mound Force lacrosse team won the Division II State Championship in May, defeating Clear Lake 13-3 to bring home the title.

This is the young team’s second state title in three years, as the Force took the Division III state crown in 2011.

The Force is under the Flower Mound Lacrosse Association, a community based program with players from area high schools including Flower Mound, Marcus, Lewisville, Liberty Christian, and Guyer.

Lacrosse, touted as “the fastest game on two feet,” is relatively new in the Metroplex, and the Force first came to the Flower Mound community through the Cross Timbers YMCA in April 2008 before forming a partnership with the Lewisville ISD.

The sport is rich in heritage and although unfamiliar to most, is quickly picked up by young athletes because of the similarities to hockey, baseball, and soccer.

Coach Terry Cole said he could not be happier with his team’s effort this season.

“We’ve made tremendous improvements from 2012,” Cole said. “This year, we had strong leadership from 10 seniors that have been involved with our program for the last four years.

“I think it was their dedication, commitment and desire to win a state championship. They were a strong component to our overall success.”

Cole is from Upstate New York and played lacrosse collegiately at the Rochester Institute of Technology and said it has been good to see the sport grow in North Texas the way it has.

“I was born with a lacrosse stick in my hand,” Cole said. “I was fortunate to be introduced to the program at Flower Mound four years ago when we got things started. We had about 47 kids at that time, and currently, we are over 450, including boys and girls, and the sport continues to grow with great success.”

Cole said he has also been impressed with how well players from Texas seem to catch onto the sport of lacrosse and how much the level of competition has improved.

“I think we are very fortunate in that we have great organizational support in Flower Mound where we travel with our young kids,” Cole said. “When I say travel, I mean we go to New York State, North Carolina, Maryland and all the hotbeds of lacrosse so that our kids are exposed to the best competition.

“We have already proven that kids from Flower Mound and the Metroplex can compete at a very high level. I think it is also important for kids to learn and understand the roots of the sport of lacrosse, and where it came from, and traveling allows them to do that.”

Cole said he believes that the state championship victory will also help grow the sport within the community, but said he would like to take it one step farther.

“I think it definitely brings us more exposure,” Cole said. “My hopes are that we get more exposure within the LISD. We really need to become partners with the district to help develop the sport of lacrosse by allowing us access to the stadiums at the high schools where these very kids go to school. We don’t currently have that.”

The Flower Mound-based lacrosse program has produced three players this season so far that are headed onto the next level including defender Dylan Sprock from Liberty Christian, who is headed to Bellarmine University next fall and said he is pleased with what his team was able to accomplish this year.

“I am pretty satisfied with the season as a whole,” Sprock said. “I wish we would have won that game against Allen to have an undefeated season, but in the end, we did what we set out to do at the beginning of the season and won the state championship. We worked together so hard the entire season and personally I am very happy to go out on top as a senior.”

Blake Weir of Flower Mound said he made his university choice based on the winning tradition his school has established.

“I am heading down to Limestone College on a lacrosse scholarship,” Weir said. “They are a great D2 lacrosse team, and I felt like the talent was there to win.”

Gunnar James will be playing college lacrosse at Southwestern University in Georgetown next year and said that a number of things appeal to him about the sport of lacrosse.

“The brotherhood and connection to my teammates is just so much deeper than any other sport I’ve had the opportunity to play with, this makes the sport so much more enjoyable to play,” James said. “Everything just feels right when I’m out on the field.”

Cole said there will be some big shoes to fill this coming season and that he hoped his graduating seniors learned a couple of things this season.

“I hope the players take away some basic skills that help them realize that dedication, commitment, hard work and a desire to be excellent both on the field and off the field will provide a great experience and allow them to reach much higher goals in life,” Cole said.

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