Freeport chases elusive playoffs

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Could this be the year the Freeport boys’ lacrosse team finally breaks its long playoff drought?

The Red Devils, who haven’t qualified for the playoffs in about a decade, are off to a strong start this season with a 4-1 record as they enter their tough conference schedule. They opened the season with impressive wins over Glen Cove and Malverne/East Rockaway before one-sided victories over lowly Hempstead (15-1) on April 2 and Holy Trinity (12-5) the following day.

The run ended with a tough 16-2 loss to Farmingdale last Saturday, but longtime coach Harry Mohrman is understandably pleased with the start.

“We’re very quick,” he said. “I’m optimistic. We’re hoping [to get back to the playoffs]. We’ll see.”

The senior-laden roster is led offensively by captain Gerard Smikle, who poured in six goals against Hempstead, Jordan Jackson, JaJuan Warren and Justin LaRocca, who recorded a hat trick against Malverne/East Rockaway. But Mohrman believes that success goes beyond the amount of goals you put into the net.

“I really don’t go by [how many goals a player scores] because it depends on the competition,” he said. “A lot of times statistics don’t mean so much. I’m more like a person that has the most ground balls, more shots on target, the whole overall game.”

Mohrman is also a big believer in faceoffs won, where Smikle and Warren have shined.

Jackson, who had two goals against Glen Cove, is back with the team after spending the previous two seasons with the track and field team. Mohrman lauded his athleticism while also lamenting what could have been if he had him on his roster as a sophomore or junior.

“He could have been a very good [lacrosse] player,” he said. “He’s getting there [this year]. He’ll be fine.”

Mohrman also sees plenty of potential in Jaylen Jarrett and LaRocca. Jarrett had a hat trick in the Glen Cove game and could help the Red Devils down the stretch with more consistency, while LaRocca was one of the few bright spots against Farmingdale with a goal.

Junior Makhai Jinks has impressed thus far on defense with aggressiveness and has paired well with speedy senior Jakeim Pratt, who has helped set up the offense with several assists.

Keyon Lynshue is the starting goaltender who has made some key stops that have helped Freeport get off to its strong start.

The Red Devils visited at Island Trees on Tuesday and will resume their conference schedule with home games against East Meadow on Friday and Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK on April 16. Mohrman has been impressed with East Meadow thus far and is expecting a tight battle when the teams collide.

But to qualify for the postseason, Mohrman knows that his team will have to play near perfect ball the rest of the way.

“We’re going to have to win almost every league game,” he reasoned. “Hopefully we’re going to get better so we’ll see. We’ll have to instill it in the young children.”