None of them are especially fast. None of them, certainly, are big enough to physically overwhelm their opponents. And all of them are still underclassmen.
Yet, St. Paul's juniors Tim Whiteley and Rob Bouse, both three-year starters, and sophomore Mike Watson, a two-year starter, have become one of high school lacrosse's most productive attack units.
"They're probably the heart of our team," said Mitch Whiteley, coach of the No. 6-ranked Crusaders (8-3) and Tim's father.
Bouse (5 feet 8, 140 pounds), Whiteley (5-8, 150) and Watson (5-9, 165) may be a pony unit but they don't run like racehorses. "We have speed, but not from these guys, really," Mitch Whiteley said. "They're quick . . . It's sort of funny, because all three are real slick, ball control players. Watson is our finisher, but on other teams he'd be a feeder."
FOR THE RECORD - The spelling of St. Paul's coach Mitch Whiteley's name has been corrected for the database. See microfilm for original story.
Watson, whose 27 goals lead the Crusaders, "is a great finisher from playing hockey," said Tim Whiteley. "It's all in his wrists."
And hockey may have taught him something else. "He's not afraid to hit anyone, or take a hit," St. Paul's assistant coach Rick Brocato said.
Whiteley, an Evening Sun All-Metro honorable mention last year, has 21 goals and 36 assists thus far this season, giving him 141 points for his career and moving him into second place on the school's all-time scoring list behind Larry LeDoyen, The Evening Sun Athlete of the Year in 1982, who had 224.
If Tim's father is uncomfortable bragging about his son, Brocato is under no such restraints. "He's one of those typical coach's sons," Brocato said. "Besides skills, he's a real student of the game. We rely on him to pick things up so we can make adjustments."
Tim, whose 29 points against MSA A Conference opponents make him the leading scorer in league play, has handled the pressure of playing for his father. "On the field, he's just one of the players," Brocato said. "The way he approaches it is really mature for a 16-, 17-year-old kid. There's no resentment from the other players. It's a great chemistry."
But, there are moments between father and son. "It's really hard when we're at home sometimes," Tim said. "Because if I'm upset at another player or something the coaches are doing, if I say something he explodes."
Mitch may be ensuring that his son, who may be thinking like a coach, doesn't assume that authority. But he's never interfered with or second-guessed Tim's lacrosse development under others.
"He's not one of the fathers who stands on the sidelines and when you get home says, 'You did this wrong,' " Tim said. "The only time he does that is when he's my coach."
Bouse, like Tim Whiteley, is a quad-captain elected by the players and, like Watson, is a two-year soccer starter and basketball player, too. Tim, a three-year soccer starter, played varsity basketball as a sophomore. "They say our kids play lacrosse all year round," said Mitch Whiteley. "But just about all of them play two sports, some three, because we're so small.
"Rob is a good leader, a fiery kid. He makes the most of his ability and complements the other two well."
The three actually complement each other well with their stickwork and finesse. Which is the way Tim Whiteley likes it. "I prefer the game when there's about three-four passes," he said. "Then a goal."
Spoken like a coach's son.