Padelford Sets Wahconah Career Mark in Win over Oakmont

By Stephen Sports
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DALTON, Mass. – It took a while for Rylan Padelford to find his groove offensively on Saturday.
But by the time the game was over, he had shown everyone why he is the new all-time points leader at Wahconah Regional High School.
Padelford scored four goals and set up five more to lead his team to a 15-2 win over Central Mass foe Oakmont.
His second goal – and fifth point – of the day came on a man-up opportunity in the first minute of the fourth quarter to give him 289 career points, breaking the mark set by his former teammate, 2022 graduate Billy O’Neill.
Padelford ended the first half with just one point, an assist on Zachary Flaherty’s goal to give him 285 points and give Wahconah a 5-1 lead with 12 seconds left until half-time.
But he dominated from there on out, having a hand on eight of Wahconah’s 10 second half goals in a rematch from Wahconah’s 2022 State Championship run.
Padelford had a hat trick in that first round state tournament game on a day when O’Neill scored seven in a 25-0 Wahconah win.
“I went into the game thinking it was going to be goals,” Padelford said of his expectation heading into the matinee needing four points to tie the school scoring mark. “It was a slow start, so I started passing a little bit more, started to find my teammates a little more And that’s when I started rolling and started to get more points.
“I saw you guys [reporters] on the sidelines, and I was starting to get a little nervous. But I knew once I got my first, I’d start rolling a little bit. And once I got my first assist, I started to loosen up and play lacrosse. I’ve been playing this game for a long time, and once I got my first, everything started coming one right after another.”
Wahconah coach Matt Fisher was happy to see Padelford put his name in the school’s record book.
“Rylan is obviously a huge part of this program,” Fisher said. “His name is going to be forever cemented in this program for as long as I coach here. I’m always going to remember him. He’s the best player I’ve ever coached by far.
“He does everything right on and off the field. The way you do everything is the way you do anything, so he goes to class on time, he does all of his homework, he shows up to practice early and stays late. He’s a good captain. And it all translates to the field.”
On Saturday; Oakmont actually scored first in a low-scoring first half.
Wahconah’s first goal came with 2 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first quarter when Jonathan Howard set up Flaherty, who tied it, 1-1.
After a Noah Poirier win on the ensuing draw, Jacob Thomas scored moments later with an assist from Devin Lagerwall to give Wahconah a 2-1 lead it never relinquished.
Lagerwall (one goal, three assists) scored in the closing seconds of the first quarter with an assist from Sawyer Padelford. Howard and Flaherty (three goals) added second quarter tallies to send Wahconah into the break up, 5-1.
That lead hung in the balance when Wahconah drew a two-minute locked penalty in the second minute of the second half with it still a four-goal margin.
Oakmont got one goal back, but even after Wahconah took a 30-second penalty during the man advantage to give the Trojans a 6-on-4 opportunity, the hosts allowed just the one goal. Wahconah got a critical save from Bryce Smith (11 saves) toward the end of the advantage.
“Obviously, that’s unacceptable,” Fisher said of the penalty. “I don’t teach any of my guys to be undisciplined with their stick.
“I’m super proud of this defense and how they stood on their head for that whole two minutes. That's an unreal job. It doesn’t happen often. But those guys down at defense and the guy in net, Bryce – unbelievable, and I trust them with everything I have.”
Just after the penalty expired, Sawyer Padelford (three goals, one assist) scored unassisted on a man-up opportunity to make it 6-2.
His big brother closed out the third quarter with two assists and a goal. His second assist, again to Flaherty, tied the school points mark with just less than two minutes to go in the quarter.
Rylan Padelford then got the point everyone was waiting for 36 seconds into the fourth to make it 10-2.
“We were a man up,” he said. “I saw that their pole was splitting between me and Johnny Howard, I believe. I saw him commit to Johnny, so I was pretty much open, so I just let it go.”
By that time, the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion, but Wahconah was able to pad its lead with a few man-up goals, and Padelford notched career point No. 293 with an assist to Howard with a little less than three minutes to play.
Wahconah (5-3) will be back at home on Monday when it hosts Agawam.
Photos from this game to come.
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