Excellence comes down to passion, preparation, effort and attitude. These are the words that describe the Perkiomen Valley Boy’s lacrosse team and their 2018 historical season.
A quiet-mannered business teacher at Perkiomen Valley High School, as well as a PV graduate, Brian Churchey’s eyes light up when he talks about lacrosse, and in particular his 2018 lacrosse squad that made history this past season. You can see it on his face and hear it in his voice. To say he’s passionate about his lacrosse team is an understatement. Churchey changed the culture of the lacrosse program, making the players more accountable to their coaches and their teammates. The seniors emerged as strong leaders and the young Vikings developed a team-wide sense of purpose that was not previously seen. He made each and every player feel like they belong.
Perkiomen Valley finished 15-8 during its 2018 regular season, the best record in the school’s history. Although their season came to an end in the first round of states at the hands of District 1 champion Garnet Valley, Churchey knows the changes made last year are now a permanent part of the program. His biggest message for his team is to focus on what you can control in the present, namely your own preparation. Focus on working hard on your mental toughness, physical fitness and your skill set. He believes in the old mindset, “When talent doesn’t work hard, hard work wins.”
And that is exactly what they did. It’s evident how hard they worked when you see the list of accolades they received at the end of the season:
FIRST Pioneer Athletic Conference championship game in the league’s 12-year existence...against hometown rival Spring-Ford
Epic victory at the elimination game against 6th seed CB West, 5-1
FIRST-EVER PIAA State Championship tournament appearance
Four First Team All-Pioneer Athletic Conference recipients and Four Second Team Recipients
2018 Mercury All-Area Boys’ Lacrosse Player of the Year, Brian Fehr
Remarkable 316 faceoff wins for the sophomore, Matt Brock
2018 Mercury All-Area Boys’ Lacrosse Coach of the Year, Bryan Churchey
Although PV lost many seniors (in 2017), this resilient squad didn’t make excuses. Failures and shortcomings came, but they used each lesson as a building block to work even harder the next day. And their resiliency paid off at the right time...at the
seasons’ end. Senior and captain Brian Fehr emerged as a true leader and team player. With Fehr’s final goal of his career, he topped the Perkiomen Valley record board at 228 points. His career concluded with a recordbreaking 116 goals and 112 assists - a remarkable balance for a high school player. As a face-off specialist and talented midfielder, Matt Brock’s preparation and effort set him apart from the rest of the league. He continually set up offensive zone pressure for the Vikings, which was so valuable during those high pressure games, and he ended the season with a remarkable 300 faceoff wins. The Vikings defensive effort was lead by senior Remy Sell, who received PAC First team defensive honors.
“As for my team, I couldn't be more proud of the effort that we've put in all year. From September until this time, my group has worked extremely hard, and they've become extremely close to each other, and to see that is one of the true joys in coaching.” Churchey states.
A Unique Approach to Lacrosse
In an age where many athletes are focused on playing one sport year round, Churchey has a different philosophy and encourages the multi-sport athlete. He feels that the skill set from other sports transfers to the lacrosse field. The physicality of football, the endurance of the swimmer, the finesse of the soccer player, the athleticism of basketball and the quick decision-making from all sports...combine all these skill sets and you’ll find them on the men’s lacrosse field! He also encourages his athletes to be involved in all aspects of the community...from participating in band, to cheering on other PV teams, to community service. His teaching philosophy goes far beyond the lacrosse field!
As part of his team building efforts, Churchey started the unique and fun “hard hat” award. After every game and every practice, the offense picks a defensive player and the defense picks an offensive player that made significant contributions to the team’s success that day. These players received the coveted construction-style hard hat to wear! “This is a fun way to build comradery among the team and the kids looked forward to it every day,” said Churchey.
Not only is he busy teaching and coaching his High School team, but Churchey is also the owner of the local Black Bear lacrosse program. Lucky for the community, he is bringing his unique culture to the youth program. His new approach focuses on
instruction and developing fundamental techniques at an early age. He wants to be involved in all levels of lacrosse and knows that he will be seeing these boys soon at the high school level! “I always tell everybody that one of my favorite things to do is to be involved with the younger age groups because they are so much fun to work with,” he says. “They want to be taught.” His high school team also volunteers with the young kids...sharing all they have learned with the next generation.
As a young athlete, Churchey was inspired by his coaches and understands the influence they had on his life. He played high school lacrosse for PV and at the collegiate level as a midfielder at Cabrini. Now it’s his turn to pay it forward. He is truly invested in each one of his young athletes on his team and hopes to have the same type of impact on his players. He is building bonds and forging relationships that have life-long impact.