EDMOND — The OKC Knights playing Edmond on Thursday night at Cheyenne Middle School was historic. It was the first ever game between two Oklahoma City-area high school lacrosse programs.
“It’s a proud moment to finally get to a point everyone has been working towards,” said defenseman Nathan Foreman, one of three Knights players who will play lacrosse in college. “It’s great to see it grow similar to cities like Dallas.”
The two OKC-area teams are members of the 10-team Heartland Conference, which features five teams from the Tulsa area, plus teams from Little Rock, southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas.
Lacrosse advocates are hopeful Oklahoma is on the verge of featuring 10 to 12 high school community-club teams that play for a non-OSSAA sanctioned state title.
Casady, Holland Hall and another Tulsa area team have played for years. Jenks and Tulsa Kelley are in their inaugural seasons.
Knights coach Dave Heaton has been instrumental in lacrosse’s growth locally. He coached Edmond before he branched off to form his own team two years ago.
“The biggest advantage would be you wouldn’t have to play in a regional conference and drive five to six hours on weekends to Little Rock,” Heaton said. “The lacrosse landscape definitely is changing.”
Approximately 600 kids in the Oklahoma City area participate in lacrosse, leagues starting as young as third grade.
First-year volunteer Edmond coach Jordan Beech, an accounting supervisor for Frontier City, played in the Edmond program and also played one year for OU’s club team.
“It’s a great alternative to spring football,” Beech said. “You actually get to lay a body on someone in lacrosse. Linebackers can work on their eyes, read defenses. Basketball players can work on motion offensive sets. If you like those sports, it translates directly into success in lacrosse.”
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