"I hate the first game of the season," Rob White said, smiling as heplaced two folding chairs at the scorer's table. "There are so many things that have to be done."
He already had delivered water bottles to his team's bench and hauled some equipment from the locker room. He made sure his scorekeepers were ready and the officials had everything they needed.
Though he joked about the last-minute details, White handled all of those duties, and others, with the same ease that his Severn boys lacrosse team handled visiting Upper Arlington of Ohio, 11-3, Saturday morning.
And he clearly enjoyed being back in charge.
White missed all of the 1991 season, having spent 10 months in Fort Bragg, N.C., with his Special Forces unit in support of Operation Desert Storm. He returned in late December and began his seventh season as Admirals coach Saturday.
"It felt great," he said. "A lot of these seniors were sixth-graders when I first started here, so it's special to come back to this group of kids. This is like my first full cycle. There are 15 seniors, so this team is really dominated by them."
Upper Arlington was the team being dominated Saturday. The Admirals helda 36-10 advantage in shots, and two of the Golden Bears' goals came in the last two minutes.
And from listening to White, it could have been much worse.
"Offensively, we've got a ways to go, but that's always the way it is," he said. "Our kids were moving well, moving the ball. We just had some breakdowns. We didn't capitalize on all our opportunities by any means."
Senior attackmen Jason Wade and Jason Hurst scored four and three goals, respectively, and senior midfielder Duncan Slidell added three goals and two assists. Senior midfielders Milford Marchant and Jason Moran each had one goal and one assist.
T. D. Albright, Rob Brosseker, Ben Andrew and Scott Singleton were credited with one assist each, as all but two of Severn's goals came off passes.
"We really try to stress the team aspect, playing together and each of them being a better player as a result of everyone being involved in the offense," White said.
Upper Arlington didn't take its first shot until 1 minute, 10 seconds remained in the first quarter. The Admirals already had five goals. They would lead, 8-0, before the Golden Bears scored with 8:33 left in the game when Bruce Sholl converted a pass from Peter Avery behind the net.
Senior keeper Court Durling, among the best in the state at his position, had to make only three saves and left with his team ahead, 11-1.
"Our team defense is going to be our strong point, and I thought we showed that today," White said.
They'll need to show it again Friday against defending MSA A champion St. Paul's, the top-ranked team in the metro area. Severn is ranked No. 3.
"Everybody's talking about how good we can be, but we haven't shown anything yet, so it doesn't mean anything," Wade said.
What did mean something to Wade and his teammates was White's return to the sidelines.
"He's like a best friend to everyone on the team," Wade said. "Having him back keeps everybody happy."
"He's a real inspiration to all of us," Hurst said."It's good to have him back. He's like a father to us."