Linganore Varsity football prepares before the game with a run through of their plays.

Jason Byrd

Week 1: Linganore plows through Archbishop Curley, 45-7

September 2, 2018

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On August 31 and September 1, because of heavy rain and lightning, the football season opener was a two-day manslaughter against Archbishop Curley. Quarterback Ryan Leyh, threw an interception with a total of 151 yards and two touchdowns, along with 57 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Wide receiver Mason Wills caught a 62-yard touchdown. Adding to the highlight reel, running back Jackson Ambush had two goal-line touchdowns.

Leyh said, “Being 1-0 is a confidence builder. This game showed what we did well but also what we need to work. We need to keep working and be smarter throughout the season.”

One of the biggest takeaways from the game was how well the offensive line was blocking, for Leyh and for the running backs. The running backs accumulated a combined 189 rushing yards.

On defense, Archbishop had multiple penalties and the defense forced four fumbles.

“The whole team was playing as one. We had a lot of stops. We only had one really big mistake which capitalized off of but other than that, our defense was amazing,” said Junior defensive lineman Dustin Keith.

Coach O’Connor said, “Because we have so many lowerclassmen, this gives them confidence in what they’re doing.”

Friday, September 7, Linganore will take on Edgewood at 7:00 pm at home. With the fans in place, it will be a great opening game. To find more reports on the game, check out Follow Lancer Media @LHSJournalism and sports editor, @Jason_Byrd2021.

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Week 2: Joey Felton powers varsity football to 54-18 win over Edgewood

Senior receiver Joey Felton went for 331 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns Saturday afternoon in Linganore's 54-18 win over Edgewood.

Senior receiver Joey Felton went for 331 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns Saturday afternoon in Linganore's 54-18 win over Edgewood.

Courtesy of Rob Leyh

Courtesy of Rob Leyh

Senior receiver Joey Felton went for 331 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns Saturday afternoon in Linganore's 54-18 win over Edgewood.

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Joey Felton received the short pass and, in an instant, bolted past his defender, through the Edgewood back-seven and 80 yards up the shoot. This was just a simple bubble screen, designed to give Linganore — operating at its own 10-yard-line — more breathing room. But since it’s Felton, a receiver who clocked a 4.36 40-yard dash over the summer, any mundane play has an electrifying chance.

The Lancers ended up settling for a field goal on that drive, but on the following series, the senior further showcased his home-run ability and made sure to find the end zone this time around. Felton intercepted Edgewood quarterback Antwain Banks and zipped 60 yards to the house. It was one of many pivotal plays, part of a monstrous effort that powered Linganore to a 54-18 win over Harford County’s Edgewood at home on Saturday afternoon.

Despite being matched up with Deonte Banks, a University of Maryland recruit at cornerback and dynamic ball-carrier for Edgewood, Felton finished with 331 all-purpose yards and two total touchdowns on just 13 touches. The Yale recruit had seven receptions for 191 yards, four rushes for 31 yards, one kickoff return for 40 yards and then the 60-yard pick six.

“Joey is a special player,” Linganore coach Rick Conner said. “He really did himself well today. He did us well. He was a shot in the arm.”

Going into Saturday’s 10 a.m. contest, the second straight regular-season game rescheduled because of stormy weather, Felton was eager to play against Banks. Felton certainly rose to the occasion. Linganore (2-0) marched 60 yards on its opening drive to jump ahead, 7-0, on a Jackson Ambush goal-line score. But on Edgewood’s first play from scrimmage, Deonte Banks (170 yards on 12 touches) busted loose up the left sideline, 86 yards for the long touchdown, making it 7-6 in the early minutes of regulation.

Two drives later, an 11-yard Felton gain from quarterback Ryan Leyh (12 of 16 for 261 yards and three touchdowns) helped set up a Leyh 23-yard pass and score to tight end Mason Wills, which made it 14-6.

After Joey Bruscia’s 48-yard catch and score made it 20-6, Linganore, Deonte Banks asserted himself back into the picture. The speedster accounted for 38 of Edgewood’s 60 yards on the subsequent scoring drive and capped it off with a six-yard score of his own to make it 20-12.

But that’s when Felton put his home-run ability on display, bursting 80 yards to plate a 23-yard field goal by kicker Bennett Formulak and snagging the 60-yard interception return to help give Linganore leads of 23-12 and 30-12 right before halftime.

Playing against a guy like that … it definitely raises my level of play, because you know you have to go out and compete,” Felton said. “And when another player is playing at that high of a level, you have to retaliate and get the most points on the board as you possibly can. We tried to do that. I tried to do that the best I could.”

From there, Leyh connected with Felton on a 28-yard score that swelled the lead to 37-12 and the defense led by Dustin Keith, Joey Bromley, Michael Bromley and Jackson Ambush clamped down, forcing two turnovers and a safety that soon ignited a running clock.

Ben Musselman added a goal-line score and running back Johan Samayoa, getting most of the reps in place of the injured Davon Butler and Xander McClure, totaled 138 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.

“I thought we did a lot of good things,” Conner said. “[Edgewood is] a good team. Overall, it was a good game for everybody.”

Up next: September 14 at 7 p.m., Linganore travels to Westminster, which will serve as another measuring stick on the Lancers’ repeat state title quest. Last year, Linganore gutted out a 16-14 win at Westminster in the 3A West region final, a game that could’ve gone either way. The Owls, like the Lancers, are 2-0 and return many impact players from last season.

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Week 3: Varisity football triumphs over Owls, 48-7

Linganore and Westminster unite at midfield for a postgame huddle.

Linganore and Westminster unite at midfield for a postgame huddle.

Jason Byrd

Jason Byrd

Linganore and Westminster unite at midfield for a postgame huddle.

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As crazy as this game was, there was only one way to cap off the outstanding night the varsity football team was having. With just 45 seconds left on a running, on a 4th down and 5 at the Owls’ 33-yard line, a pass that traveled to the 45-ish yard line was tipped into the air as defensive back Ethan Zirkle gained possession and traveled back to the end zone for a pick-6.

“When Zirkle scored, we all went nuts! We’re all just one, big family as players make big players,” said defensive captain Jackson Ambush.

As Ambush had also described the front defensive players, “They contained the quarterback and got pressure when they needed it. They were really able to secure tackles.”

With their front defensive line containing Cole Mitchell, Nick Vance, Dustin Keith, and Dalton Pearl, the varsity football team was able to get good, consistent pressure on mobile quarterback Christian Etchinson. Etchinson only went 10/22 and 78 passing yards.

“We took a step forward today. I’m really proud of these guys. Most of them are new and with Coach O’Connor coaching the defensive backs, we’re just pleased they’re getting better,” said Coach Connor.

Flipping over onto the offense, running back Johan Samayoa had 114 rushing yards which lead to multiple goal-line touchdowns scored by quarterback Ryan Leyh, Jackson Ambush, Ben Musselman and more. With Westminster having a fairly large defensive line of their own, the offense was really able to convert because of their offensive lineman.

“We had to get our plays right and know what calls were being made. We [offensive line] needed to everything situated and create holes for our running backs,” said starting left tackle Tre Briscoe.

Coach Conner also had a take on the performance of the offensive line. “Coach Rich and Coach Dixon do a great job teaching those guys. We’re becoming unselfish, it’s not about a certain player getting the most touchdowns. We’re pleased with where we are.”

On September 21, varsity will take on Gov. Thomas Johnson High school at Linganore High School. The game will take place at 7:00 pm. Follow Lancer Media @LHSJournalism and me @Jason_Byrd2021. To read more on the game, read Frederick News-Post writer Greg Swatek‘s story for his take on the game.

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Week 4: Varsity defense leads to a demolition against TJ 57-13

Xander McClure rushed in for a goal line touchdown.

Xander McClure rushed in for a goal line touchdown.

Jason Byrd

Jason Byrd

Xander McClure rushed in for a goal line touchdown.

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Varsity football completely buried the Patriots from the get-go. The Lancers stated off the game and forced a quick 3 and out. Ryan Leyh and the rest of the offense came out onto the Patriots’ 40-yard line. It didn’t take much for the offense to start their 50-0 run as wide receiver Joey Felton took a reverse run 40 yards to the house. The possession took not even 15 seconds.

The Patriots come out for their second drive of the night and repeated their first drive. However, a fumbled punt placed the Lancers at TJ’s own 13-yard line. It was light work from there as running backs Johan Samayoa and Joey Bruscia punched in another touchdown.

The Lancers were set up at their own 47-yard line after TJ failed to gain a first down with an 8-play drive. After a Bruscia 18 yard run, Leyh found wide receiver and kicker Bennett Formulak for a 28-yard touchdown pass. The most electrifying part of the whole play was Formulak’s catch. With a defender all over him, he climbed the ladder and made a tough catch that put Linganore up 21-0 with 1:39 remaining.

On the topic of offensive efficiency, Coach Rich said, “We’re focusing on no negative plays. Every play is a positive gain. Every single player matters to us and they need to be ready to play.”

Jumping ahead into the second quarter with 11:49 left in the half, a high snap led to a fumble and recovered by TJ. Jackson Ambush said to Ryan Leyh, “Don’t worry, I got you.” He did indeed keep that promise as two plays later, Ambush picked off quarterback Matt Fowkes and returned it to the Lancers own 43-yard line. After another Leyh to Formulak connection, the pass set up a Samayoa 18 yard misdirection touchdown run.

The ensuing possession for TJ had them pinned at their 17-yard line. After they earn their third penalty out of a total seven on the night, the Patriots tried a fake punt on 4 and 15. The failed fake punt landed the Lancers on TJ’s 4-yard line, making that the third time up to that point that the varsity team had the ball on TJ’s side of the field. Nick Hayslett ran in another Lancer touchdown from the 3-yard line.

Colby Bannon said, “We’re all doing our jobs really well. We’re shutting down passes and the run game.”

TJ went back onto the field, hoping to gain some momentum. However, they ended with the same result they had gotten most of the night: another 3 and out. With TJ at their own 7-yard line, TJ tried to punt but Dalton Pearl was able to block the punt and earn the Lancers a safety. Pearl’s blocked punt was just one of three during the game, with the other two coming from Jeremy Hilton and Jake Santis.

A three-play drive led to a Xander McClure touchdown run after a TJ offsides penalty. After Fowkes couldn’t get it done on 4th down, Leyh rans in a 22-yard touchdown run down the left sideline off of a QB keeper run.

With about 4 minutes left in the half, the Patriots were finally able to score. Fowkes threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kamani Quander. TJ got on the board as the Lancers went into the half with a 50-7 lead.

Second Half:

TJ came onto the field after a Lancer 3 and out and had a 12 play, 81-yard drive that ended with a rushing touchdown. The drive took 10:00 minutes on a running clock and finished out the third quarter.

Fast-forward to the fourth quarter with about 5 minutes remaining, Nick Hayslett took an amazing 52-yard touchdown run, making that the first ‘black’ offense touchdown of the year. The ‘black’ offense is the backup offense team and was able to score after a few short promising drives.

Max Ross sealed up the game for the Lancers as he recovered a fumble off of the kick return. The clock struck triple zeros as Linganore captured a 57-13 win, making them 4-0 on the year.

“We still have to fix some things, we didn’t play a great game but we played well enough,” said Coach Conner when asked on the preparation of their game against Walkersville next week.

“We covered our guys and did our assignments and we proved it on the field,” said cornerback Brady Domroe. “However, we have to realize that the team we play next week [Walkersville] is gonna be much more difficult.”

Linganore (4-0) faces Walkersville (3-1)  on September 28 at 7:00 pm. Follow @linganorefb, @LHSJournalsim, and @Jason_Byrd to stay covered on all of Linganore’s football. Read Frederick News-Post writer Joe Ferraro‘s take on last night’s game.

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Week 5: Varsity football pulls off a surprising shutout against Lions 35-0

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“Where is Wetzel?” This is one of the chants that student section chanted during the game. This chant really had an effect on Walkersville offense.

Former senior running back Jacob Wetzel was the Lions’ best offensive weapon for the last two years. When he left, the Lions couldn’t quite fill the running back position to Wetzel’s caliber. This was very evident in the game vs. Linganore, as the Lions ran the ball 19 times for only 30 yards in the first half.

Even as the Lions struggled on offense, so did the Lancers. Ryan Leyh threw two interceptions in the first half.

Leyh said, “No excuses. I didn’t play well. I need to pick it up,” in a Frederick News-Post article on the game.

However, there were some very exciting moments in the first half. After the Lancers’ defense forced the Lions to punt after a 5 minute, 17-second drive, Leyh and the offense was set up at their own 20-yard line. Leyh threw two incompletions. But on a 3rd down and 10, Leyh tossed one up to receiver Joey Felton. Felton ran a double move and beat the safety. Felton caught the ball and didn’t look back for an 80-yard catch and run for the Lancers’ first touchdown of the night.

As the second quarter was winding down its final minute of play, the Lancers made an impressive stop to force a 3 and out. A timeout was called with 46 seconds left after the punt. After a delay of game penalty and an incompletion from Leyh, the Lancers were looking at a 2 and 15 from their own 36-yard line. A handoff to running back Johan Samayoa went for 28 yards down to the Lions’ 35-yard line. With about 35 seconds left, Leyh found Felton once again across the middle for a 35-yard touchdown pass that put Linganore with a 14-0 lead going into the half.

“The offensive line is really blocking their defense really well, opening up gaps for Johan. Our wide receivers are beating their defensive backs and Ryan is throwing great passes to our wide receivers,” said Felton.

Coach Conner gave his team a sound off going into the second half. “We’ve made our statement. Now, let’s finish it!”

The Lancers’ second possession of the half was a good one. Their 13 play, 4 minute and 36-second drive led to a Jackson Ambush goal line run from the 5. The drive was really given life because of sophomore running back Xander McClure, as he rushed for 37 yards on just 5 runs.

“Our work effort separated our running game from theirs [Walkersville]. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a good football team. But we had a defense that was able to stop their offense,” said lineman Matt Beekey

Momentum for the Lancers really shifted to their side after a Joey Bromley sack to force a punt. This was the only punt that the Lancers had returned all night, and it was a big return. Felton caught the ball and ran towards the right side. However, he handed off the ball to Will Coletti and he went from around the Lancers’ own 30-yard line to the Lions’ 34-yard line. As the Lancer sideline hyped up the offense, Leyh threw two passes, one to the 6’4″ receiver Matt Schiller for a difficult 25-yard pass and catch. The other pass was to tight end Mason Wills in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown.

As the Lancers retained their second-to-last possession of the game, a 5 play drive ended with a big McClure run for 33 yards into the end zone. The huge touchdown run was set up by two other McClure carries, a Joey Bruscia run, and a Leyh pass to Schiller.

“Our main focus was to stop the run game. The last two years, that’s what they go off of and we were able to stop them,” said Coletti.

After the game, Coach O’Connor said, “We adjusted to some adversity. We’ve been preparing for this game and we were able to put in the work and play fairly well.”

Linganore (5-0) faces Oakdale (4-0) at Linganore for the Lancers’ biggest game all year. Follow @linganorefb@Jason_Byrd2021, and @FrederickSports. Also, follow @LHSJournalism to read on Linganore’s varsity team throughout the season.

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Week 6: Oakdale makes a huge statement against Linganore in a 56-7 rampage

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No one could’ve expected or seen this game ending with this outcome. Oakdale took on Linganore’s varsity football for the Lancers’ homecoming game. Although this game wasn’t the most welcoming game for the Lancers.

Oakdale was able to get n the board first after Junior Luke Carey blocked another punt, one of his many this year. The blocked punt put the Bears at the Lancers’ 34-yard line. On a 2nd and Goal from the 4-yard line, quarterback Colin Schlee ran in towards the Bears’ sideline for a touchdown to give them the early lead and momentum.

The Lancers returned the favor, with a 14 play drive that took roughly 3:30 minutes. A drive, set up by mostly runs, was concluded with a Ryan Leyh toss up to WR Matt Schiller for an 11-yard touchdown. The game looked to be a continuous back and forth game. Unfortunately, this game was the complete opposite.

After the Lancers’ scoring drive, the Bears answered with not just one score but 49 unanswered points. Wide receiver Blake Baxter had field day, as he had  3 touchdown catches in only the first half. He had 165 receiving yards on five receptions, which led his team and one of the best performance of the year for any Bears’ receiver. Another big name for the Bears, which as already been mentioned, is Carey. Carey not only had a blocked punt, but also had multiple tackles for losses and one of the most difficult pick-6’s you would ever witness.

On 1 and 10 at the Lancers’ 20-yard line, Leyh had dropped back to throw a screen pass. The intended receiver was heavily covered as Leyh tried to throw the ball into the ground below the receiver. However, when the Lancers’ had stopped running and trying to block, Luke Carey swooped in and grabbed the ball inches from the ground for an uncontested 6 points.

In a Frederick News-Post article, Coach Rick Conner said this on the defense, “Defensively, they just picked us apart. We had a bad plan. We have to look at that. That’s my fault. We’ll figure that out.”

The Lancers will prepare to take on John F. Kennedy High School at Linganore’s home field at 7:00 pm. The Lancers’ are prepared to replicate what happened last season after they lost to the Bears. If the Lancers want to gain the 3A Champions title again, they need to fix a few things in their gameplan and improve on their execution.

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Week 7: Linganore gains some swagger back in a 50-6 game against the Kennedy Cavaliers

Tre Briscoe leads Linganore' football team out onto the field just before game time.

Tre Briscoe leads Linganore' football team out onto the field just before game time.

Jason Byrd

Jason Byrd

Tre Briscoe leads Linganore' football team out onto the field just before game time.

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After the devastating loss against Oakdale last week, the Lancers really needed to gain some of their momentum and confidence back. On October 12, they regained some swagger in a game where so many players were able to make huge plays.

The Lancers were scored in the first 11 seconds exactly. The opening kickoff was short at about the 25-yard line. Yale commit Joey Felton received the kick, juked two defenders, and shot up a gap for a 75-yard kick return touchdown. This was the first punt or kick return of the year that was returned for points. After that, the Cavs just couldn’t get a grip on the game.

The Cavs struggled all night, running the ball for only 4 yards on 11 carries. They were able to get few positive runs, but every time they had a gain of yards on the run, they would lose yards on the following play. Their first drive, they went 3 and out, not even passing their own 20-yard line.

Linganore got the ball at the Cavaliers’ own 49-yard line. After a Felton run and a pass completed to Bennett Formulak, Ryan Leyh found Felton on a curl route and from there, Felton took control. He turned upfield and got into the end zone from the 30-yard line. To add to the drive, Michael Bromley ran in for a 2-point conversion off a fake PAT to put the Lancers up 15-0.

Once again, the Lancers started their drive in Cavalier territory after a fake punt failed to convert a first down. Johan Samayoa took a run to the house from the 22-yard line. However, it was called back by a Felton holding penalty. On 2 and 4 from the 25, Leyh pitched one over the middle to Formulak. Formulak then ran into the end zone for the Lancers’ third score with 7:52 still remaining in the first quarter.

The Cavs were able to put together a decent drive, getting up to the 44-yard line. But they were forced to punt after Jackson Ambush speared a receiver on a third down passing play to force an incompletion. Big name Davon Butler was playing his first game of the season.

Butler said, “It feels great. I was able to get my feet wet. I was really excited to get back.”

He helped set up his teams with 4 runs for 42 yards. Along with a Leyh to Matt Schiller completion for 21 yards, Dalton Jeffers was able to punch in a goal-line touchdown run. Jeffers was in due to a Joey Bruscia injury to his ankle.

The Cavaliers once again couldn’t covert their drive into points. They punted the Lancers the ball with 1:06 to go in the quarter. After a 20-yard run by Xander McClure and a 13-yard run by Samayoa, Leyh found Formulak again for what looked like only a 10 yard gain. However, Formulak caught the ball to turn upfield and waltzed into the end zone for an insane catch-and-run touchdown from the 35-yard line.

Linganore scored 36 unanswered points in the first quarter, one of their best first-half performances of the year. The Cavs, even they were down, put together a 9 play, 2 minute 45-second scoring drive. Their score was set up after they punted on 4 down and the Lancers fumbled the punt. The Cavs recovered and punched in a goal-line run.

The Lancers were at their own 46-yard line to start out their drive. Butler was able to truck through for a 9-yard run to put the Lancers barely into Cavalier territory. Leyh dropped back and found McClure wide open on a wheel route for a 45-yard touchdown to add to their lead.

After a huge Brady Domroe hit to force a punt, the Lancers’ black(secondary) offense came onto the field. Their first two drives weren’t much, leading to punts. But the Lancers’ backup defense really stepped up. For the defensive line, Garrett Reese, who they use in certain formations, had multiple tackles for losses. John Pfaff had a sack and tackles for losses.

The Lancers’ secondary was also had an outstanding performance. Max Ross had 4 deflections, 3 of those against Kennedy’s biggest receiver and a fumble recovery. Billy Higgins forced an incompletion and had an interception that set up the offense for a score. Harry Heitzig found Jake Santis twice, once for an 11-yard reception and again for a 5-yard touchdown strike.

Reese said, “We’ve been working hard all week. We’ve been working on our pass rush, making sure we’re flying out to the ball. The secondary made sure they didn’t get beat and made sure they could make plays on the ball.”

Linganore needed this win. Coach Rick Conner said, “We really saw what we needed to work on from the Oakdale game. We were able to read formation on defense and execute our plays on offense. Last week was last week. Can’t do anything about it.”

Linganore now prepares for their game against the Middletown Knights on October 19 at 7:00 pm. The game will take place at Linganore. Follow @linganorefb, @Frederick_Sports, and @Jason_Byrd2021 for Lignaore football coverage. Also, follow @LHSJournalism for more news at Linganore High School.

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