Lakeside High School's Matt Long made school, county and Augusta-area history just by signing his name.
The Panther senior is a member of the Lakeside boys lacrosse team. He became the first-ever local lacrosse player to sign a National Letter of Intent to play lacrosse at the college level when he committed to Tennessee Wesleyan at a Wednesday afternoon signing ceremony.
"At first I thought it was too good to be true," Long said. "I had no idea I'd play in college."
Long started playing lacrosse less than three years ago but has quickly turned into one of the top athletes on the Lakeside squad.
As a team captain this season, he helped the Panthers double their win total from last year with a record of 6-0.
He won 82 of 130 face-offs and scored 13 goals.
"That's him. He's not a real flashy player, but he's always there," Lakeside boys lacrosse coach Ron Ritter said. "He's the kind of player you have to yank off the field because they're not coming off by themselves."
Long's value over the past two years has extended beyond the statistics.
He's the first to lend a hand to his teammates who often don't know the finer points of the game.
"I just started playing this year, and if I ever had any questions I knew I could go and ask him," teammate Joe Brejda said. "I don't think you'll find anybody out there who loves the sport more than him."
That type of teamwork made Long the ideal candidate for Tennessee Wesleyan College. The NAIA school in Athens, Tenn., will enter its first season of lacrosse in the fall.
"That's what I wanted," Long said. "Everybody's new and you bond with your team better. Hopefully I can help my teammates there, too."
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