URBANA — He’s well-known throughout the county for the speed that made him such a dangerous weapon on Linganore’s football team. Joey Felton coupling that speed with some aggressiveness, Lancers coach Rich Thompson said, made him equally dangerous Tuesday at Urbana on the lacrosse field.
“He’s been working real hard, and tonight, he turned the corner,” Thompson said after Felton scored all four of his goals in the second half of the Lancers’ 11-9 win over the Hawks.
For Thompson that meant simply being willing to shoot the ball more. The last of his four goals essentially sealed the win for the Linganore (6-1) as Felton somehow wiggled through two defenders before charging to the net and firing home a point-blank shot past Hawks goalie Kevin Medina for a 10-8 lead with 3 minutes, 6 seconds remaining. Two minutes earlier, Eric Stutz had broken an 8-8 tie with another goal from close range.
“It means a lot,” Felton said of his big night. “I know a lot of guys from the Urbana team, and I’m glad I was stepping it up and helping our team to succeed and get this win at the end of the game.”
When asked to account for all the scoring opportunities he received in the game, the junior midfielder passed the credit to his teammates, pointing out that senior Jack Watsic drew some extra attention to himself before hitting Felton with a pass. Watsic collected a goal and two assists. However, senior attack Jordan Swoyer said Felton, more often than not, becomes the player who draws multiple defenders toward him and creates great scoring opportunities for others.
“It’s the offense staying nice and spread out and Joey using his pure athleticism to beat his guy, causing a slide from the bottom, freeing me up, freeing Jack Watsic — any of the other guys,” said Swoyer, who collected three goals and two assists.
Twelve seconds before Felton’s last goal, Linganore goalie Clay Yingling made a big stop on a hard shot from Urbana’s Eric Kolar for one of his eight saves.
Like Felton, Urbana’s Brendan Schmitz scored four goals, and the Hawks (6-4) took a 5-3 lead with 5:57 left in the first half on Austin McMahon’s goal. But Linganore, Urbana coach Gavin Donahue said, slowly clawed its way into the lead on the back of sophomore faceoff man Will Coletti, who won 24 of 26 from the faceoff X.
“He was the difference-maker,” Donahue said.
Eric Kolar and Sean McGrady added two goals apiece for Urbana, which took control of the game early thanks to a strong defense. Medina finished with seven saves, and standout defenseman Dylan Leonard caused five turnovers.
A victory over the Hawks took on special meaning for a Lancers team that was still reeling from a 7-4 loss to Oakdale two weeks ago. It marked the first time Linganore had lost to a county opponent in almost three years. The Lancers were also dealing with a rash of injuries, and Swoyer credited reserves Cole Blanche and Noah Grennis for the roles they played in boosting the offense.
“After that first practice [after the loss], it was very slow, and we were holding our heads down,” Swoyer said. “We didn’t feel the same culture. After tonight, it’s definitely going to kick us forward and show that we are a top-caliber team if we put in the work.”