Max Fields and Mackenzie Peters are best friends, accomplished athletes, and, for the second time in a few days, opponents.
Fields and Peters will face off in the second round of the Passaic County boys’ lacrosse tournament Wednesday afternoon at . Peters plays for , Fields for . It will be the second time this week the boys have faced each other on the field. They are both seniors and team captains.
But these athletes don’t let the name on the front of their uniforms get in the way of their friendship off the field. The boys have known each other since first grade and have played lacrosse together since the seventh grade.
“We do everything together, including playing lacrosse in my backyard for hours,” Fields said. “Tomorrow is going to be a different turn of events however, that’s for sure.”
Peters’ Indians defeated Fields’ Patriots 5-4 in quadruple overtime in the annual Mayor’s Cup game on Saturday. Peters, a midfielder, scored the game-winning goal against Fields, an all-county goalie.
“I had a few saves on him in the game and I’m really glad that he scored the game-winning goal because he has respect for me and didn’t rub it in my face,” Fields said.
Mutual respect for each other is part of the boys’ relationship both on and off the playing field.
“We show each other respect but we’re still rivals,” Fields said. “You need that respect for each other, not just because we’re opponents but because we’re friends.”
The boys help out each other on the field. They’ll give each other advice on how to play or what to do in a particular in-game situation.
Peters said the Indians are a much-improved team since starting their season with a 1-4 record. They are now 8-7. Hills has an 8-6 record.
Peters is having another stand out year for the Indians with 32 goals and 11 assists. Fields has been equally impressive in goal with a higher than average save percentage.
Although the young men are rivals now, they won’t be for much longer. They will play lacrosse at Kean University starting in September. The boys have already met and played with a dozen of their teammates at a camp the team held earlier this year.
“We’ve worked well as a team already and that’s going to mean a lot when the season starts,” Peters said.
The relationship that the young men share is a special one but is it not exclusive to only them. They said that all the boys on the two teams trust and depend on each other a great deal and that is a necessary ingredient for success on the field.
“You have to trust each other and work together as one,” Fields said. “As a goalie, I need a strong defense in front of me who I know I can depend on.”
“Your teammates are your family,” he said.