Last Thursday the Panther boy’s lacrosse team hosted Belleville Township for the time ever.
The combined Belleville West and East team, better known as the BTHS Pride, are competing with O’Fallon in the Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association for the first time this year.
O’Fallon head coach Jim McIntyre is excited about what the game means for the growth of lacrosse in the area.
“The game was really special in a lot of ways,” said McIntyre. “When we started the team in 2008 we had one major goal to grow the sport. Every weekend the folks in Belleville have had to travel three or four hours each way just to play. Now that they are in the MSLA, it is a great step forward for the game. Thursday marked the very first sanctioned boy’s lacrosse game between two historic Southwestern Conference schools.”
OTHS defeated BTHS 14-2 in their first ever meeting.
Senior Panther Caleb Neff got the scoring going early with a hat trick in the first quarter. Including Neff, six different Panthers scored. Senior captain Mike Foytlin earned a double hat trick with three goals and three assists, and senior Shane McIntyre added a hat trick of his own. Other Panthers registering goals against BTHS included Ricardo Pena with two goals, and both Clint Van Etten and Harrison Berry added one a piece. Junior Hayden Ourada had four assists in the game.
With the win over BTHS, coach McIntyre is pleased with how his team is playing.
“Foytlin is really starting to assert himself as the quarterback of the offense and Jack Belobrajdic is thriving. Jack is the anchor of our defense in both leadership and play,” said McIntyre.
After BTHS the O’Fallon squad’s schedule picks up in difficulty quickly. This Tuesday the team will host conference opponents Hazelwood. Following Hazelwood the Panthers will face off with Wentzville and Ladue in the next few weeks.
“Hazelwood is always very athletic and incredibly well coached. What they might lack in finesse they make up for in pure hustle. It’s a very big game for us,” said McIntyre. These upcoming games are the meat of our season. They are the teams we expect to face off in the post season. It’s a real barometer on what we need to change or focus on going into the post-season.”
On Saturday the team will square off against the girl’s team in the annual Boys vs Girls game. The game, started by a former OTHS alumni, is a charity event. The JV game will start at six with the varsity game following at 7:15 in the Panther Athletic Complex.
The boy’s team will also be hosting a silent auction and dinner fundraiser at the O’Fallon Knights of Columbus building Friday night at 7pm.