With first place in UCBAC Chesapeake boys’ lacrosse at stake, No. 12 Fallston High found enough answers to keep 20th-ranked C. Milton Wright at bay for a 13-9 victory Friday evening in Harford County.

The defending Class 2A/1A champ Cougars (8-2 overall) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and held off several rallies to move to 4-0 in Chesapeake play. Fallston has won 26 consecutive games (including postseason) against UCBAC opponents.

“Every time we did get up, they started to come back and when you have C. Milton and Fallston, you know that it’s going to be a slugfest and those things are going to happen,” Fallston coach Matt Parks said. “I’m just glad we reacted well.”

Senior Ben Claffee had a game-high six goals for Fallston with fellow senior Justin Williams adding a hat trick.

“C. Milton is one the better teams in our division, so to beat them is a great accomplishment,” said Williams, whose team last loss an UCBAC match at Bel Air in April 2014.

“They guys have a done great job playing with the bullseye on their back,” Parks said. “Teams in the UCBAC want to take us down, when other teams see us they don’t see orange, they see red and guys have done of a good job answering the call.”

Though losing two of the first three faceoffs, Fallston still was able to generate quick strikes as Williams tallied twice with Claffee adding a score in the first four minutes of play. C. Milton Wright (6-2, 2-1 Chesapeake) got on the board Grady DiPeso scored the first of his three goals with shot from 13 yards out.

Ryan Messer tallied 47 seconds later to pull the Mustangs even before Dylan Wolf tallied to give Fallston the lead back. With 38 seconds left in the first quarter, the Mustangs worked the ball around and Messer finished with just one second left.

Williams drilled in a shot, just seven seconds into the second quarter, for the hat trick. Claffee advanced the Cougars’ lead to 6-3 before Dominic Venanzi and DiPeso scored back to back to get C. Milton Wright within a goal midway through the second.

Claffee alertly snagged the ball of a deflected shot and put the ball in the ball of the net from four yards giving the Cougars a 7-5 halftime lead.

“It was nothing in particular, it was just right place at the right time,” Claffee said. “I had a chance to scoop up a ball, but I pretty much attribute all my goals to my teammates for their hard work.”

Claffee added another score on an uncontested shot, set up via a Wolf assist. Colton Presley pushed Fallston’s lead to 9-5 with a tally with 8:38 left in the third.

C. Milton Wright got a score from Venanzi to end the quarter, but Fallston got scores from Claffee, Presley and Jeff Otenesek to pull away.

“Those are some of the best players in the state, I mean those kids are phenomenal offensively so to spot them three goals early, you know, we matched pretty well from there,” Mustangs coach Andrew Gerard said. “It was just tough to battle back from that.”

No. 12 Fallston 13, No. 20 C. Milton Wright 9

Goals: C. Milton Wright – Messer 2, DiPeso 3, Poyer, Venanzi 3;  Fallston – Williams 3, Wolf, Claffee 6, Presley 2, Otenesek

Assists: C. Milton Wright – DiPeso 2, Venanzi, Messer, Kelley 2; Fallston – Williams 2, Wolf 3, Otenesek

Saves:  C. Milton Wright – Hilbourn 5; Fallston – Olin 7

C. Milton Wright 3 2 2 2 – 9

Fallston 4 3 2 4 – 13