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Lions roar quietly through year

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DEXTER — Cole Johnson and Michael Roukous, much like their General Brown teammates, aren’t overly vocal on the field.

Yet while coach Tom Frears hopes the Lions can create more chatter while in the heat of the action, he’s pleased with the success his team has generated as a group thus far this season.

“Very much so, it’s a very quiet team,” Frears said. “I think they’re focused and hard working — but there’s not a lot of ‘rah-rah’ guys. If we had a little more talk, that would probably help us even more.”

Led by Johnson and Roukous offensively as well as a core of seniors, General Brown has quietly forged one of the most productive campaigns in the history of the program.

The Lions, who stand at 8-5, including 7-3 in Frontier League play, are on course for setting school records for victories, both overall as well as in the highly-competitive league.

“We’re very focused,” said Johnson, a sophomore attackman. “He (Frears) tells us to talk more all the time, but a lot of us don’t vocalize a lot of things to each other. We all have quiet personalities, but we have good chemistry as a team.”

General Brown, which has already clinched its fifth consecutive “B” Division championship, has gone 5-3 against “A” Division foes, with two of those losses to division leader Carthage, which is ranked 14th in the state in Class B, and a one-goal loss in overtime to reigning division winner Watertown.

“It’s a great confidence builder when we do this well in the league,” Roukous said. “It really shows how we’ve gelled as a team and how hard we’ve worked together as a group. We have a great core group of kids ... we’ve created great chemistry on this team, so it’s not a surprise how well we’ve been doing this season.”

Yet while Frears stresses the “team concept” as the heart of the Lions’ success, both Johnson and Cole are among the Frontier League leaders statistically as they’ve combined for 113 points, including 64 goals and 49 assists.

“Mike and I get along really well,” Johnson said. “We clicked really fast and we can always find each other, we know where each other is all the time.”

Frears says the team’s top two forwards have “similar styles” and both provide the Lions with plenty of balance.

Through Tuesday’s play, Johnson stood third in the league in scoring with 62 points and second in goals with 40. Roukous was fifth in the circuit in points (51) and was tied for second in assists (27).

“They’re the beneficiaries of a lot of hard work by our defense and our middies,” Frears said. “ ... The big thing about us is we’re balanced. If you shut off Michael and Cole, we’ve got some very capable middies that can score as well.”

Again, the scoring duo like their teammates have generated success this season by exuding “quiet confidence.”

“I thought with this senior class and with the fact that most of these kids have played together for a while, I thought we had the potential to be very good,” Frears said. “Our unselfishness and team attitude has really contributed to the success that we’ve had.”

“We keep it pretty spread offensively,” Johnson said. “Our middies get the job done up top, dodging and finding the open guy. I think a lot of it is our team is very unselfish as a whole. We’re always looking for the extra pass and we have confidence in anyone out there.”

Roukous, Smith and General Brown’s contingent of seven seniors have played lacrosse together since they were in elementary school.

“We didn’t lose many seniors last year, and these guys have put in a lot of time and hard work this season,” Frears said. “A lot of these guys spent a lot of time playing together in the offseason in tournaments and on their own. There were a number of people who didn’t play a winter sport, who just kept going with lacrosse and that prepared us well for the season.”

Also for the Lions, Jake Purvis, Colton Erb and Tre Frank lead the midfield, with Brett Frears and Rob Pickeral anchoring the defense, and senior Parker Smith in goal.

“It’s just not the forwards, we have great production from our middies,” Roukous said. “And our success really starts with our goalie Parker Smith, he really leads the defense. We just work well around him and we have a solid defense.”

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