Birmingham Unified routed Novi 19-13, in a regional semi-final game yesterday but that was just the final score. There were underlying reasons that led to the rout. Birmingham looked more focused and disciplined. The players were listening to their coaching staff, they played to the whistle and not after and they proved they were the better team.
Organization is a key part of high school athletics and if a coaching staff can sweat the details, it may pay off in the end. Case in point – Birmingham’s equipment bags were orderly and in a straight line on the sideline; Novi’s equipment was scattered about by their bench. It’s a small thing to be sure, but Birmingham played “organized” and Novi was certainly “scattered” – especially on the defensive side.
Coming out of halftime, one of Novi’s players was late getting on the field and the officials, rightfully so, gave them a delay of game penalty and Birmingham had possession. The Bulldogs capitalized and made the score 10-7. That momentum swing was huge. To the coaches I ask, how in the world can you get that violation coming out of the half? It’s inexcusable and undisciplined. The Novi lacrosse team does have a reputation of being undisciplined. They do have swagger but many would say they are downright cocky, but I didn’t hear any woofing from their bench in the second half. When you give up 19 goals, you don’t have a lot of swagger.
I also noticed many players disengaging themselves from team huddles. There looked like three or four separate team huddles at halftime. Instead of figuring out how to stop Birmingham, the Novi players looked like they were trying to find out what was for dinner or lunch the next day. Even in the fourth quarter when the game was still in reach, the Novi players seemed disinterested. A few other incidents stuck out – the head coach hugging a player after a 1 minute slashing call; the Novi goalie swinging his stick at a Birmingham player after a hit; a Novi defenseman standing over a Birmingham player after knocking him down with a check; a Novi attackman overly celebrating after a goal – of course, the Wildcats were down by four or five at the time. This type of behavior should not be encouraged or celebrated. I realize it’s not the armed forces, it is high school athletics, but the proof is in the final score – a disciplined, focused Birmingham team 19; an undisciplined, rowdy, arrogant Novi team 13. I’d rather be disciplined and victorious, in lacrosse and life.
Leading scorers for Birmingham – J.D. Hess 8 goals, John Quay 4 goals, James Bertrand and Sean Erni 2 goals each.
Leading scorers for Novi – Curtis Herzog and Kent Burnett 3 goals a piece.
Score by Quarters
Novi: 5-2-3-3 = 13
Birmingham: 6-3-5-5 = 19