30 NJ Players to Watch: Noah Pounds
MSG Varsity counts down the top 30 New Jersey athletes to watch, in no particular order, for the upcoming school year. Today, we highlight No. 22, Ridgewood boys lacrosse star Noah Pounds.
One of the most memorable and talked-about single-game performances of the recent lacrosse season was the spectacular 16-save performance by Ridgewood's Noah Pounds June 6 in the Tournament of Champions semifinals at Kean University.
His Maroons lost that game in triple overtime, 8-7, but Pounds had almost brought the state's most talented offense to its knees with one stunning save after another. People who saw that game talked about that brilliant showing three days later at the T of C final (won by Bridgewater, 11-5 over Delbarton) and again almost a month later in Mountain Lakes when the United States U-19 team played an exhibition against a team of New Jersey college all-stars in preparation for the Lacrosse World Championships.
Pounds had showed nerves of steel against Bridgewater's battery of sharpshooters and his reactions were lightning quick. Run into almost anyone to this day and they're likely to once again want to revisit that outing by the talented junior.
Almost anyone but Pounds, that is. As far as he's concerned, that game is in the past, as well as anything related to lacrosse, for that matter.
Because now it's football season for the talented 5-10, 175-pound strong safety/fullback for the Maroons.
"It's totally all about football. Lacrosse was great, but it's over for now," said Mike Pounds, both Noah's head lacrosse coach at Ridgewood and his dad. "He loves football; he's very passionate about it, and that's what he's devoting all his energy to now athletically."
Pounds is a two-year starter at strong safety and also will assume the starting fullback role in coach Chuck Johnson's wing-T offense this fall. Pounds intercepted five passes last season and enters 2012 with seven for this career. He also has been voted as one of four senior captains for the upcoming campaign.
"He's excited when the lacrosse season comes and he's just as excited when the football season comes," Mike said. "Lacrosse is a little more pressure, a little more intense for him just because of the dynamics of everything. I kind of enjoy football as a parent and a fan."
Pounds is a very good football player, though easily overlooked in the Bergen County hotbed in which he plays. But when it comes to lacrosse he is considered the best goalie in the Garden State and one of the tops nationally from the Class of 2013. He saved 62% of his shots and sported a 5.2 goals-against average to help Ridgewood finish 17-8 and win the Group 3 state title.
He will attend Naval Academy Prep in Newport, R.I., following graduation next spring and continue his lacrosse career at Navy the following school year. Pounds always told his father that he wished to play at the highest level possible in college. It was lacrosse, and specifically goalie position, that accorded him that opportunity.
"He's a highly skilled goalie, but the biggest thing has never been skill level or athleticism," Mike Pounds said. "The biggest asset he has is he learns and makes adjustments so quickly, it's really unbelievable. You tell him one thing one day and he's doing it the next."
Mike Kinney covers boys lacrosse for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS