Roswell boys lacrosse coach Bryan Wallace wins 200th match

Roswell is off to another blistering start and for the second consecutive season, they are 9-0. Their offense and attacking ability have been elite this season for the Hornets having reached double-figures in every game played. In those nine victories, they also had three games where they scored 20 goals or more. Head coach Bryan Wallace, director of lacrosse and head community coach surpassed 200 wins in his career and talked about what the special moment meant.

“The opportunity that I’ve had to coach at Roswell has been a great one,” said Wallace. “It is a great program with great kids. I am blessed to be the leader of the program. It’s a lot of hard work. 200 career wins is a great milestone. I’ve been around for a long time and doing things really well.”

The Hornets made history last season by accomplishing their most wins in program history and capturing their third state championship in program history and first since 2015. They finished 2023 on a six-game winning streak with a star-studded offense that led the way. Roswell scored 17 goals in every game during the streak.

“It puts an exclamation point on a lot of things we have been doing well. I think it’s an opportunity to not only look back at great players but the commitment from the guys and our coaching staff,” said Wallace. “The opportunity to compete at a really high level. There is only one team winning that game. Everybody else loses the game to end the season. For us to win the championship last year and have a 20-win season while setting a new record for wins at the school, it’s the culmination of a lot of years of hard work. A lot of that is due to the players and the time and effort that these guys put in outside of just the spring season.”

Their star and all-American Ezra Moore surpassed 100 goals this season and is a big part of their success on the offensive end. He accomplished the feat in a win against Greater Atlanta Christian. It’s hard to fathom Moore having an even better season than last year, but he is doing just that averaging five goals per game.

“Ezra is a guy who is a consummate worker. He spends a lot of time in the gym, on the wall, and a lot of time shooting on his own. He is a senior captain and definitely a leader for us. He’s going to play at Bellarmine, which is a D1 program,” said Wallace.

“He was an all-American last year, so returning as the most known commodity guy on our team knowing he is going to draw everyone’s best defender he takes that challenge personally. He doesn’t let it affect him in terms of our game plan and what we’re going to do. He is willing to do whatever it takes. He just wants to win. He is averaging five goals a game right now. He’s lighting it up. He is a guy we definitely can rely on. He’s a super hard-working kid and always has a big smile on his face. He loves to compete and gets after it. He loves wearing Roswell green and being a Hornet.”

It hasn’t been easy building the Roswell program to where it is today. The Hornets have the fourth-most state championships all-time in GHSA history with three. They also have a phenomenal youth program that is homegrown with players ready to play as soon as they reach high school.

“I have a great coaching staff. It’s the culmination of having really great people and good leadership. We have a great senior class each year. We rely on veterans to bring the young guys into the mix. We look at the lacrosse season not just as the spring season, but what goes on in the fall in terms of the weight room and the grind that goes on there,” said Wallace. When we get into the season, staying healthy and doing the right things. Not abstracting from the population by doing silly things outside of what we are asking for. We have built a winning culture and an opportunity for guys to come and step in right away. This is a group that has played together since 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade and has had the opportunity to grow and wear the R on their chest. They do that with a lot of pride.”

“We look at the eighth grade rising class each year as a college program would in terms of their incoming class of guys. Right now they are all homegrown. We have great numbers at the U9 and U11 levels. As coaches, that is where we spend all of our fall. Not only developing a plan and a program for these kids but also making sure that they have the opportunities to continue to compete and get better. We use the influence of our high school players to get very involved and give back to the program because all those guys started somewhere. A lot of those little guys look up to our high school guys which was them five or six years ago in terms of growing up and being in the junior program. There is a lot of pride in terms of lacrosse in Roswell, especially at the youth level. We had a game against Ponte Vedra (FL) for the 200th career win and there was a youth game right before it. I would say about 80-90 of those kids stuck around.”

The Hornets will match up against a strong Lassiter team Tuesday night in a must-see game in 5A-6A. Both Lassiter and Roswell are undefeated and could see each other down the road if they continue their dominant play.

“It’s a big Class 5A-6A matchup. We aren’t in the same area so the potential to see those guys down the road is a real thing. They seem to be playing really well right now. We are going to try to take it to them one set at a time. We will be prepared and ready to go. We have a good history against those guys. I know the coaching staff really well. We are looking to compete for 48 minutes.

In terms of key guys this season, here are some you might want to watch out for:

“The first guy would be Linkin Miller. He’s a starting attacker for us. He had five goals in that win against Lambert. He’s had a couple of other big games. Luke Hicks is another senior attacker, committed to playing at Saulsberry,” said Wallace. “He fits in the middle. It is nice to have two senior guys he can rely on in terms of what is going on and can kind of be Oreo filling in the middle. We have another freshman named Blake O’Neal, who is a midfielder. He is a face-off guy. His brother Kyle is a senior committed to Lenoir-Rhyne and he is also a face-off guy. There is a lot of internal competition between the brotherhood of Kyle and Blake. We get the most out of those guys. Super athletic, high IQ, and love to compete.”

“Another freshman we have on the defensive end is Harrison Penn, another guy that we rolled in this year after losing Stone Smith, who was a senior captain that is playing at MIT. This year he is a nice piece as our third guy,” said Wallace. “We are trying to put guys in the best places to succeed. Luke Hicks is our starting attacker who is great. We have some good midfielders. A senior named Wesley Austin is a two-way guy. Austin Edler is a good grinder who complements our senior captain, and what we have going on. Junior midfielder Ben Weir is really good around the goal, and gets the job done.”

Roswell is firmly in the state title conversation especially with their marquee wins against Lambert, Allatoona, and Greater Atlanta Christian. They will get a chance to make a statement over their next three games including the aforementioned Lassiter, North Paulding (10-0) and Walton (9-1). At this point, there is no surprise and this team is loaded at every position. They will be the favorite in every game they play.

“Our focus is game-by-game. It is an 18-game regular season with playoffs. Our goal is to be 1-0 in the next game. Our ability to focus on what that looks like is how we take things. We are very excited to be 9-0. We have played some really good competition this far,” said Wallace. “As March starts to warm up, I am sure the competition will. We have some great competition this week against Lassiter and then head out to the TCLC, which is out at Allatoona this weekend. It will be a handful of games against some good competition. Excited about the opportunity to compete against some high-level teams. We have a great senior class led by six guys going to play at the college level. Coming off last year, and having some confidence to get through the wringer, we have a leg up on a lot of people because we know what that expectation looks like.”

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