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Hartland extends its win streak in its boys lacrosse rivalry with Brighton

HARTLAND – Other than a rematch in the state tournament, it was the last time Hartland senior Jacob Ross played in a rivalry lacrosse game against Brighton.

The Eagles are hosting a regional game, so he could play as many as five more games in a stadium where he excels in football and lacrosse.

When Hartland’s season ends, however, it won’t be the last time Ross plays with some of his old teammates.

The appeal of continuing his lacrosse career with familiar faces was a big reason why Ross maintained his commitment to play that sport for Northwood University.

Northwood is getting one of the best offensive players in Michigan. Ross continued his stellar senior year by scoring five goals and two assists in the Eagles’ 17-6 win over Brighton on Wednesday.

It is the fourth time in eleven games that he has scored at least five goals, giving him a team high of 47. He surpasses last year’s total of 44.

After a football season in which he earned Livingston County Defensive Player of the Year, Ross considered switching to football in college or trying to play both sports at Northwood.

He is now completely into lacrosse, thanks in part to the bond he has with former and current teammates.

“Right now I’m just playing lacrosse at Northwood,” said Ross, who led the county with 96 tackles. “That’s really my main focus right now. I think football might be out of the picture for me.”

Some of Hartland’s best players, past and present, will join Ross at Northwood when the program begins competing at the NCAA Division II level next school year. Northwood had a program from 1992-2000 before disbanding.

Ross, Drew Lockwood, David Bulloch and Dylan Ayotte are headed to Northwood this fall. Former Eagles Brett Bastionell, Evan Phillips and Mac Tognetti are already at the Midland school. They were all members of Hartland’s 2022 State Division 1 championship team.

“The lacrosse boys that are up there are just like my boys, they are my family,” Ross said. “It’s going to be a blast. We are already building chemistry. I can not wait.

“It’s going to be great since Northwood is a newer program. It will start next year. We’ve already built some chemistry. It’s not just the Hartland boys; we have a number of club boys who have played together.

Ross also hopes to continue the team success he experienced in high school.

The Eagles are 12-2 on the season, with the only losses coming against defending champion Birmingham Brother Rice and Cincinnati St. Xavier. Hartland has defeated Brighton nine times in a row since losing 7-5 on May 4, 2016.

“I still don’t think we’ve played our best lacrosse yet, but we’re getting there,” Hartland coach Nick Levanti said. “We take it one day at a time and try to be the best version of ourselves, whether it’s in training, in a match or whatever. We want to go out there and keep taking steps forward. That’s really the focus every day with these guys.”

Hartland led 6-1 after one quarter before consecutive goals from Ryan Bell and Zach Watkins drew Brighton within 6-3 with 8:20 to go in the second. Ross then scored three consecutive goals, making a run of nine consecutive goals for the Eagles.

“We started rolling,” Ross said. “The guys started moving the ball pretty well and I just looked good. Brighton are quite a physical, good team. It’s great for us to beat a team like that. It’s great to get a little more teamwork and keep going.”

Max Kotsilidis had three goals and one assist, Lockwood one goal and five assists, Ayotte two goals and two assists, Jake Lewis two goals and Connor Gilbert one goal and two assists.

Lukas Aurandt scored twice for Brighton (11-4).

Contact Bill Khan at [email protected]. Follow him on X @BillKhan