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Boys High School Lacrosse in Massachusetts

The vast majority of high school sports in Massachusetts, including lacrosse, are organized by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).

Lexington High School competes in the Middlesex League, or "ML12", which includes Arlington, Belmont, Burlington, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, Watertown, Wilmington, Winchester, and Woburn. The complete list of MIAA leagues in Massachusetts can be found here.

The win/loss record for games played within the Middlesex League determine the regular season Middlesex League Champion. The overall win/loss record and strength of schedule determines entry and seeding for the post-season state tournament.

The LHS Boys team gets seeded into the Division 1 (larger school) North section of the state tournament, which includes St. John's Prep, Acton-Boxboro, Lincoln-Sudbury, Central Catholic, Westford Academy, North Andover, Revere, Peabody, Chelmsford, Medford, Lowell, and Cambridge Rindge and Latin.

For example, the 2019 Division 1 North bracket is here, and the entire 2019 lacrosse tournament bracket can be found here.

Boys High School Lacrosse Rules Primer

The rules of competition for most high school sports in the country, including boys lacrosse, are written by the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS).

For the most part, the NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rules mirror the USA Lacrosse boys rules you're used to from youth lacrosse. Following is a brief primer in case you've forgotten (or never learned!) the rules of this great sport:

Advancing the Ball, Over Midline: upon possession in their defensive end, team has 20 seconds to advance the ball over the midline (penalty: technical foul – illegal procedure/failure to advance)

Advancing the Ball, Into Goal Area: upon possession in their offensive end, team has 10 seconds to advance the ball into the goal area (“the box”) (penalty: technical foul – illegal procedure/failure to advance)

Dead Ball Fouls: if the following occur after a goal or period end, the offended team gets the ball at midfield

  • Unnecessary Roughness
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct
  • Slashing
  • Illegal Body Check
  • Illegal Crosse
  • Cross-check
  • Conduct Foul

Delayed Penalty - Play On: if a player commits a loose-ball, line, goalkeeper interference, or crease violation and the offended team may be disadvantaged by a whistle, the official will signal “play on” until:

  • the offended team gains possession and the “play on” elapses
  • the offended team maintains possession and the “play on” elapses
  • the offended team commits a foul and the whistle is blown
  • the offended player/team fails to gain or maintain possession and the whistle is blown

Delayed Penalty - Slow Whistle: when a defender commits a foul and attacking team retains possession the official drops a flag and withholds whistle until:

  • the attacking team scores
  • the ball goes out of bounds
  • the defending team gains possession
  • the attacking team commits a foul
  • the attacking team calls a timeout
  • the ball hits the ground (not on a shot)
  • the ball rebounds off the goalie or goal post and hits a player
  • an injury occurs requiring stoppage
  • a stoppage occurs

Facing Off:

  • may not trap the ball, including in the back of the crosse, any longer than necessary to control it into the head of the crosse (penalty: technical foul – withholding)
  • may not kick, step on, or in any way grab, hold, or pin the opponents crosse (penalty: technical foul – holding; illegal procedure)
  • only the face off player and two wing teammates (3) may be in the midfield box until possession occurs (penalty: technical foul – illegal procedure)

Fouls: there are two general types of fouls; technical fouls are less serious in nature and involve an unfair advantage/disadvantage; personal fouls are more serious and involve safety and/or sportsmanship violations; see below for more detail

Goal Crease, Privileges:

  • goalkeeper may stop ball with any part of crosse or body, including blocking or batting with hand
  • no opponent may contact the goalkeeper or his crosse within the crease (penalty: technical foul – illegal procedure/crease violation)
  • the goalkeeper’s crosse extending out of the crease may be stick checked unless the ball is in it
  • any defensive player may receive a pass in the crease but only the goalkeeper is protected

Goal Crease, Prohibitions:

  • no offensive player may enter the opponent’s crease but may reach in with crosse for loose ball if no contact is made with goalkeeper
  • goalkeeper or defensive player may not possess the ball in the crease for more than 4 seconds
  • no defensive player other than goalkeeper may enter the crease to block/prevent a shot (penalty: technical foul)
  • upon carrying the ball out of the crease a defensive player, including goalie, may not re-enter the crease with the ball

Illegal Equipment, Request for Inspection: an official can inspect any player’s equipment at their discretion or upon coach request (during dead ball)

Legal Body Check:

  • player delivering the check must be in upright position with both hands on the crosse
  • contact must occur below the neck and above the waist from the front or side
  • contact cannot be excessively violent or intended to injure
  • checked player must be in possession or within 3 yards of the ball
  • checked player cannot be in a vulnerable position including blindside, head down/turned away playing a loose ball or receiving a pass

Legal Stick Check: crosse-to-crosse(&hand) check on player in possession of or within 3 yards of the ball; crosse contact to head or body is illegal (penalty: personal foul – slashing or )

No Goal:

  • shot RELEASED after the end of the period/after whistle
  • shot released before the end of the period BUT the ball contacts an attacking player or contacts any player after first hitting the goalie or goal
  • attacking player commits a foul
  • goal scorer playing with illegal crosse
  • attacking player with ball dives/jumps prior to, during, or after shot and lands in the crease

Offensive Screening/Legal Pick: player must be upright and stationary (no leaning) and arms/legs/crosse within breadth of shoulders (penalty: technical foul)

Out of Bounds:

  • when shot out of bounds, possession is given to the team with a player closest to the ball when it went out
  • for all other out of bounds, the team last touching the ball loses possession

Over and Back: once the ball is in the offensive goal area (“the box”) the offensive team can’t carry/pass/propel/be checked with the ball back over the midline (penalty: technical foul – illegal procedure) *NB: defensive player may reach across midline with his crosse to prevent over and back

Penalty Procedure & Time:

  • penalized player must leave the field and enter the penalty are immediately
  • penalty time begins when play resumes after the penalty call
  • the penalty ends when penalty time expires or for releasable penalties if a goal is scored

Personal Fouls:

  • Crosschecking (1, 2, or 3 minute releasable): thrusting shaft of stick between the hands into opponent
  • Illegal Body Check (1, 2, or 3 minute releasable)
  • Illegal Body Check to Head/Neck or to a Defenseless Player (2 or 3 minute non-releasable, aka “locked in”, and/or ejection)



  • Targeting (3 minute non-releasable and AUTOMATIC EJECTION): intentionally taking aim at a defenseless player of at the head/neck for the purpose of making violent contact

  • Illegal Crosse (1, 2, or 3 minute releasable)
  • Use of Illegal Equipment (1, 2, or 3 minute releasable)
  • Slashing (1, 2, or 3 minute releasable): recklessly/violently swinging the crosse at an opponent regardless of contact; contact of any kind to the head while stick checking; stiking the opponent’s body except hand(s) on stick
  • Tripping (1, 2, or 3 minute releasable): obstructing an opponent below the waist by any primary action with the crosse or a body part
  • Unnecessary Roughness (1, 2, or 3 minute releasable): any excessive violence including during holding or pushing fouls, running into a screen/pick, otherwise legal body check, or punching
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct (1, 2, or 3 minute releasable or non-releasable): including repeatedly commiting same technical foul; arguing with an official; threatening, profane, or obscene language or gestures; using hand during faceoff; throwing the crosse
  • Fouling Out (ejection): accumulating 3 personal fouls or 5 minutes in personal foul time

Player Substitution: there is no limit to player substitution and it may occur at any time provided the players travel on/off the field through the defined substitution box and remain onside (penalty: technical foul – illegal procedure)

Restarts: restarts following whistle may occur immediately provided offensive players are >= 5 yrds away and defensive players are >= 5 yards away OR do not impede the ball carrier progress to the goal (penalty: technical foul – illegal procedure/delay of game)

Stalling: during the last 2 minutes of regulation play (unless leading by >4 goals), or upon referee direction to “Get it in” and “Keep it in”, the offensive team has 10 seconds to get the ball into the goal area (“the box”) and then must keep it in (penalty: technical foul – illegal procedure)

Timeouts: each team has 2 timeouts per half and one per overtime period that may be called when in possession of the ball (penalty: technical foul – illegal procedure/delay of game)

Technical Fouls (all come with loss of possession or 30 second releasable penalty):

  • Penalty: loss of possession or 30 second releasable
  • Crease Violation/Goalkeeper Interference
  • Illegal Holding (using shaft of stick with hands more than shoulder width; step on opponents crosse; hold with free hand off crosse; use crosse to hold/pin opponent’s on the ground)
  • Illegal Screen/Pick
  • Illegal Procedure
  • Conduct Foul (coach entering field; personnel in coaches’ area; any other act of misconduct)
  • Interference (blocking the free movement of opponent not in possession of or within 3 yards of the ball)
  • Offside (more than 6 players in offensive half or 7 players in defensive half)
  • Pushing (thrusting or shoving an opponent from the rear)
  • Stalling (team in offensive half failing to attack the goal)
  • Warding (player in possession of ball using free hand to hold, push away, or otherwise control a defenders crosse or body)
  • Witholding (player may not lie on, trap, or otherwise withhold the ball from opponent other than in the pocket of the crosse)

Warding Explained

"Warding" (aka "Warding Off") is a foul that is unique to lacrosse and therefore some additional explanation may be helpful.

Here is the official rule book language (pardon the grammar!) for Rule 6-11, Warding Off:

A player in possession of the ball shall not use their free hand or arm or any other part of his body to hold, push or control the direction of the movement of the crosse or body of the player applying the check. A player in possession of the ball may protect his crosse with his hand, arm or other part of his body when his opponent makes a play to check his crosse.

In plain language, a player with the ball can use their free hand/arm in a static position ("chicken wing") to block or protect from defender stick checks but can't extend that arm in a pushing away motion. Of note, if a player has two hands on their crosse they technically cannot be warding but could be called for other fouls.

Here's a video that explains warding in more detail (and also as a free bonus Bull Dodges and Spearing):


Concussion Training and Concussion Recognition Tool 5 (CRT5)

Unfortunately, concussions are an unavoidable risk in all sports. The growing body of evidence overwhelmingly indicates the seriousness with which concussions, or potential concussions, should be treated especially in young people. The following two tools are intended to provide you with a better understanding. If you have any concern that your child has suffered a concussion, you should seek professional medical assistance.


1. CDC "Heads Up Coaches" Online Concussion Training: https://headsup.cdc.gov


2. Concussion Recognition Tool 5 (CRT5)

Head impacts can be associated with serious and potentially fatal brain injuries. The Concussion Recognition Tool 5 (CRT5) is to be used for the identification of suspected concussion. It is not designed to diagnose concussion. Any player with a suspected concussion should be immediately removed from practice or game and should not return until assessed by a qualified medical professional, even if the symptoms go away.






Any player with a suspected concussion should be immediately removed from practice or game and should not return until assessed by a qualified medical professional, even if the symptoms go away.