Two years ago, Harry Alford helped launch the first public school lacrosse team in the District at Wilson. On Saturday night, he’ll lead the Tigers onto their biggest stage yet when they play Poly of Baltimore under the lights at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium as part of the inaugural Spring Classic.
“For my guys, it’s a great opportunity,” said Alford, whose lacrosse lifestyle web site, www.lacrosseplayground.com, is the event’s presenting sponsor. “I want them to know that if they keep showing up to every practice and working hard every day, these kinds of things are possible.”
The showcase kicks off Friday night with Landon taking on Haverford (Pa.), the consensus No. 1 team in the country last season. Gonzaga, Wootton and Bullis are also part of the four-game Saturday boys’ schedule, while defending Virginia AAA champion Madison takes on Upper Darby (Pa.) on Saturday in the lone girls’ matchup.
Tony Kennedy of Extra Point Productions — the organizer of the I-95 Classic and Patriot Classic football showcases in the fall — conceived the idea before Alford and other local coaches stepped in to help, pulling it all together in just more than a month.
Securing the matchup between Landon and Haverford — No. 7 and No. 2, respectively, in the most recent ESPN national poll — proved a key piece to the plan. Alford hopes the showcase will grow into an annual opportunity for the country’s top teams to prove their place in the national rankings.
Landon began spring break on Thursday, and longtime Coach Rob Bordley traditionally gives the Bears roughly five days off practice during that time. Bordley said he gave the team’s seniors the option of giving up part of the rest period for the chance to play Friday, and the group jumped at the opportunity.
Landon and Haverford “didn’t have to get involved in this, but they thought it was important for them to be there,” Alford said. “As a kickoff to the event, I think it’s really fitting to have two of the best teams in the country out there. Hopefully, it shows how far we can go from here.”
Haverford (Pa.) (3-0) finished atop several national polls last season and carries a 30-game winning streak into Friday’s matchup. Landon (1-2) ended last season ranked No. 2 in The Post’s Top 10 behind Georgetown Prep but enters the game on a two-game losing streak. The Bears fell to Hill Academy out of Canada, 7-6, last Saturday before being upset by Calverton on Thursday.
“We can’t worry about it,” Bordley said. “I told them, ‘As bad as you feel today, you can feel just as high tomorrow if we can get something done down at the Naval Academy.’”
7 p.m. Haverford (Pa.) vs. Landon
12 p.m. Upper Arlington (Ohio) vs. Loyola Blakefield
2 p.m. Upper Darby (Pa.) vs. Madison (girls)
4 p.m. Gonzaga vs. Wootton
6 p.m. Germantown Academy (Pa.) vs. Bullis
8 p.m. Wilson vs. Poly