As a head coach who’s been through many high school lacrosse wars, Foran’s Brian Adkins is a no-nonsense type of guy who pushes fundamentals and demands total team effort.

Therefore, it didn’t come as a surprise that the former West Haven, then Branford and now head person at Foran was a touch disappointed when the Lions dropped a 13-6 decision to neighboring Stratford in what is becoming a very good bordering town rivalry. You could hear it in his voice and read it in his face.

“We’ve got a lot to clean up,” Adkins said following the loss, which left the Lions with a 3-2 record. “You shouldn’t get beat or you shouldn’t lose by the margin that we did when you win that many face-offs. We kept turning the ball over and they outworked us. We never had enough quality possessions in this game. That’s something else we need to work on.”

Foran came into the game at Penders Field riding a three-game winning streak, one in which the Lions had outscored their opponents, 55-5. Counting an opening-season 10-9 loss to North Branford, Adkins’ attackers had accounted for 64 goals.

They had a tough time putting the ball in the net against the Red Devils, whose sophomore goalie Dan Cox made 17 saves and picked up an unusual assist on one of his team’s goals.

“He (Cox) played very well,” Adkins said. “Give him and his team the credit. Every ball we threw at him in the final quarter, he stopped.”

Cox made seven stops in the final 12 minutes, while his teammates scored four unanswered goals. With 3:40 left, Jon Donfrancesco’s third goal of the night created the game’s final score.

“Our offense was good tonight,” said Stratford coach Dave Cochran, whose team holds a 2-1 edge in wins over Foran. “The key players, however, were Danny Cox and Alex Ramos, a long-pole player who had his share of ground-ball recoveries which gave us possessions and eventually led to goals.”

Stratford took a 3-0 first-quarter lead on goals from Donfrancesco (8:53) and a pair by Eric Mackowski (at 5:08 and with 53.4 seconds left). Mackowski led the Red Devils with four goals and an assist. Donfrancesco had three. Eric Redgate added two along with three assists.

Steven Lynch’s goal, at 11:46 of the second quarter, got Foran going, but scores from Dante Francis and Mason Rosenbaum allowed Stratford to push its lead to 5-1.

The Lions came right back. With Lance DiNatale winning face-offs (he lost only one in the game), Foran rallied, getting scores from Jake Lambert and DiNatale and went into halftime trailing 5-3.

But throughout the third quarter, the Lions were never able to cut any deeper into Stratford’s lead. Finishing with the quarter’s last two goals, though, brought them back to 9-6. DiNatale scored his second goal of the game with 2:05 remaining and Ryan Manning netted a goal with 55.6 seconds showing.

The fourth quarter, however, belonged to Stratford.

DiNatale scored two goals. Single scores came from Lynch (along with two assists), Lambert, Manning and Luke Gibbs.

Foran outshot Stratford, 35-32. Lions’ goalie Austin Jennings made seven saves.

Roundup

Bobby McGinnis and Jake Lambert each had four goals when Foran defeated Lyman Hall, 18-3.

The Lions scored eight unanswered goals in the second period to take an 11-1 lead into the half. Austin Jennings finished with 10 saves. Lance DiNatale had three goals. Ryan Manning and Scott Breault had two each. Steve Lynch, Luke Gibbs, Will Mauro had one goal each.

Branford High defeated Foran, 10-4, on Saturday. Lambert, Manning, Steve Soerensen and Lynch scored goals for the Lions. Jennings made 16 stops.