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Bob Jones team has first-place goal

After playing in high school, Capt. Matthew Bryan figured his football days were over. “I was too short to play tight end in college,” the Michigan native said.

So, he found another sport – lacrosse.

Bryan played defense and longstick middie for the lacrosse team at Alma College in Alma, Michigan, from 2001-05. He also coached lacrosse at Okemos High School in Okemos, Michigan, outside of East Lansing.

The Army lawyer is entering his third season as assistant coach for the Patriots, a club team representing Bob Jones High in Madison. Several local high schools are represented by club teams in the sport which is growing in popularity. Played with sticks, it originated as a tribal game played by eastern Woodlands Native Americans and by some Plains Indians tribes in what is now Canada.

“Lacrosse is often called the fastest sport on two feet,” Bryan said. “It’s got everything. It’s got finesse. There’s a lot of contact in the sport. It’s usually high scoring. There’s an endurance aspect to the sport.”

The Patriots are among four local teams which also include the Panthers, from Huntsville High; the Raiders, from Randolph; and the Jets, from James Clemens. There are also girls teams. Bryan assists Bob Jones coach Paul Burke with fellow assistants Cornelius Maney, Todd Haley and Kyle Moore.

“We’ve had winning records the last two seasons,” Bryan said. “In 2015, Grissom kind of ran the table and Bob Jones came in second. Last year, Huntsville was first locally and Bob Jones was second.”

Randolph absorbed the Grissom team this year; and James Clemens is a new team. Bob Jones first season was spring 2010.

Key players for the 26-member Patriots include attack Ramann Nallamala, attack Jack Munster, attack Lawson Muir and goalie Lucas Farmer.

“I think the Bob Jones team is going to perform pretty well. We’re a strong team,” Bryan said. “We’ve got pretty good middie depth. We’ve got a very seasoned attack. And we have an athletic but untested young defense.”