The Brighton Bengals clinched their first 5A state boys lacrosse championship with a decisive 10-3 win over Park City on Friday, avenging their only in-state losses over the past two years, both of which were inflicted by the Miners.

Friday’s championship game showcased the Bengals’ stellar defense, which held Park City to just three goals, tying a season low for the Miners.

After gaining the opening possession, Brighton immediately applied pressure on offense. Despite initial missed opportunities, Andrew Salinas capitalized on a loose ball near the goal, securing an early 1-0 lead.

“It was a momentum goal,” Salinas said. “I found myself in the right place at the right time. We really needed that to settle ourselves down as we were feeling rushed.”

With three minutes left in the opening quarter, Park City capitalized on an extra-man opportunity, courtesy of Harold Birch, leveling the game at 1-1.

Brighton responded swiftly, with Grayson Harris netting a goal from 12 yards out, followed shortly after by Salinas securing his second goal of the game.

The Bengals then secured their fourth goal just as the first quarter buzzer sounded. Gabriel Carrera’s shot from the right side initially met resistance from Park City’s goalie, but the ball trickled past the goal line, granting Brighton a commanding three-goal lead heading into the second period.

“They are a great team,” Carrera said of Park City. “Grabbing that lead made us more comfortable. We needed to pull away because they are talented enough to come back from that. We just needed to continue to play as we did.”

Park City kicked off the second quarter with a goal, but from that point on, the Bengals’ defense dominated. Mason Fray showcased an outstanding performance, making numerous impressive saves, and the entire defensive unit was exceptional.

For a stretch of 32 minutes, the Miners found themselves unable to break through Brighton’s defensive wall. When they finally did score, they were trailing by eight, with Brighton mere seconds away from sealing the victory at the final buzzer.

“We have the best goalie in the state; he’s truly unbelievable,” Brighton coach Chris O’Donnell said of Fray. “He’s been our rock and anchor all year, and with that performance, he’s cemented himself in the history of the state.”

The Bengals found their offensive stride post-halftime, netting four goals in the third quarter, with Carrera completing a hat trick by scoring two.

James Anderson contributed two goals within a mere 20 seconds, solidifying Brighton’s comprehensive performance on both ends of the field.

Reflecting on the team’s cohesion, Fray emphasized, “Every member of our team is invested. There isn’t a single individual who isn’t committed to giving their all every day. We executed our game plan collectively and achieved the desired outcome.”