ST. LOUIS — The Lindbergh Flyers varsity boys lacrosse team (11-7) will face the Seckman Jaguars (9-6) in the 2021 Show-Me Cup State Championship game on Friday night at CBC.
This isn’t the first time the Flyers will face Seckman in 2021. The two teams met on April 16, where Lindbergh won 7-6 in overtime.
It’s the first time that Lindbergh will return to the championship game since winning state in 2018.
“In the Show-Me Cup it’s a lot more fun lacrosse to watch because it’s really anybody’s game,” Lindbergh lacrosse head coach Corey Paffrath said. “Ya know those next 12 teams. Seckman this year was the 5-seed or the 6-seed, I think, and they’re in the championship. So that right there tells you that no matter what happens, it’s gonna come down to who wants it more, and who plays the better game.”
Paffrath said the success this season has come from talent, as well as his group buying into the process and overcoming adversity after missing the 2020 season in its entirety because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The guys in the sophomore and junior classes, the last time they really played competitive lacrosse they were freshmen and sophomores. So it was a big adjustment getting those guys as upperclassmen, but as first-year varsity players," Paffrath said.
Paffrath added that by mid-season, this group grew tremendously.
Lindbergh senior Pete Grebe leads the team in scoring with 56 goals and 76 points.
“He’s an attackman,” Paffrath said. “He’s a senior and he’s one of the First-Team, All-State selections, and he’s definitely the guy to watch on offense.”
Lindbergh beat Webster Groves 10-9 in a tight matchup for the state semi-final victory on Tuesday, and Paffrath said they’ll enter the championship game with the same mindset.
“The message heading into this championship game is the same message that we had heading into the semi-final, and that was just to go out there and have fun,” Paffrath said. “I mean, bottom line this is supposed to be fun. We’re out here because we enjoy it, and our most fun lacrosse when the team is having the most fun, is when we’re playing our best lacrosse.”
Lindbergh won state in both 2014 and 2018, but the story has been very different for Seckman, who will play in its first ever championship game Friday.
“This is the first time we’ve ever been in the playoffs, this is the first time we’ve ever had a winning record, this is everything,” Seckman lacrosse head coach Ian Brosch said.
This year’s Seckman team has been successful for many reasons, beginning with a head coach who’s poured into the lacrosse club with his passion for the sport and school.
“I’m actually a Seckman graduate myself from 2009, and I had to play for Fox back in the day because Seckman didn’t even have a team. I was part of the 2008 Fox team that won a state championship at the same equivalent that we’re going for. So everything has kind of come full circle. It’s good to have Jefferson County back in the running with some of the upper schools here.”
The success has also come from the level of talent within the club this season.
“Last year we thought would be a big year for us, then COVID kind of ended that,” Brosch said. “So coming out we knew we had a strong defense. We had some leaders. With the Fox team actually folding this year, we inherited about five players from across the district that came in and were able to help us. And it’s kind of just the culmination of everything.”
The Jaguars are led offensively by a two-person tandem in Eli Wingbermuehle and Tanner Culleton who have combined for 67 goals this season.
“To be honest with you, it’s the youth development of the sport,” Brosch said. “I co-run the Jefferson County Lacrosse Association, and we’re about six years running, and we’re finally seeing that group of kids come up through the high school level.”
Lindbergh will face Seckman at CBC on Friday at 5 p.m.