Justin Shockey’s position in lacrosse reads more like an acronym used on an Instagram post than a spot on the field. He is what is commonly referred to as a FOGO, which stands for “Face Off + Get Off.”
And Shockey is one of the best in the country at doing just that. Having already committed to attend the U.S. Naval Academy for the last two years, the Landon School (Bethesda, Md.) senior has put in the work to help bring the No. 2 team in the Super 25 to a perfect 15-0 record thus far.
Under the guidance of legendary coach Rob Bordley, the Bears have won each contest in a gauntlet of a schedule by an average of 5.7 goals. Shockey’s abilities in the face-off circle, which caused the Naval Academy to offer him a spot early in his prep career, have played no small part.
With such a talented offense that has scored an average of 12.7 goals a contest, Shockey knows that he fits his niche on the team well.
“I love my role,” Shockey said. “I know that I’m good at what I’m good at. Our offense is so talented, and these guys are so good at scoring goals without me. It makes me feel good to score sometimes, but we’re 15-0 right now, so whatever we’re doing is working so far.”
Every so often, though, Shockey gets his chance to shine on offense. One such moment from his career, in particular, stands out.
His sophomore year of 2015, Landon hosted Georgetown Prep for the Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC) title.
“Our Landon cheering sections, everyone comes out,” said the 6-foot, 160-pound Shockey. “I didn’t start the game, but they rotated face-off guys, so my coaches thought I had a better matchup against one of the guys they rotated in. The second face-off of the game, I got the ball on a fast break and went down and scored. It was my first goal of the season and it put us up 2-0.
“With that senior class being a really special Landon class that everyone loved, we won that game 14-9 and sent them out on a good note.”
During fall of Shockey’s junior year, he broke his ankle and had to have surgery.
“I was pretty limited, pretty much just doing the face-off, getting the ball to somebody else so I don’t get hurt kind of a deal,” he said.
This year, his ankle and leg are fully recovered, and the team has reaped the rewards. Bordley and his staff have implemented different schemes to try and push transition with Shockey often involved.
“They let me stay out a little bit, to see if the other team has a mental lapse on defense and they don’t cover me so we can create an odd-number situation.”
It has worked, to the tune of 10 goals thus far (he scored 11 a year ago). The oldest of Jeff and Alex Shockey’s three boys is sometimes able to tap into his attacking roots.
He wasn’t always a FOGO, after all.
“Through middle school I had played attack in club ball, and there were times I wasn’t getting the ball very much because we didn’t have a face-off guy,” Shockey recalled. “I was like, ‘Coach, just put me up there and let me try to get it. I did, took a couple and seemed to be winning them. Then I went back to attack, but at the end of the season, my coach told me to start taking more face-offs. It’s something I didn’t really appreciate until freshman year.”
So why the Naval Academy for this star FOGO? When Shockey was in seventh grade, he went to Annapolis for a lacrosse camp with some friends. His father, Jeff, worked on Capitol Hill at the time and had some friends who were Navy grads and had been in the special forces. On the last day of camp, when Jeff came to pick Justin up, one of those Navy graduate friends gave Justin a special tour of the academy.
“That’s where the interest sparked.”
Fast forward to a game during Shockey’s sophomore year against Episcopal, where he stepped into spot duty in the face-off circle. There were Navy coaches in the crowd, and they liked what they saw enough to eventually offer Shockey a spot at the Academy.
“I was ecstatic,” he said. “I did my tour in early June, and they said to me, ‘Look, you have an offer for you. We want you to think it over, so call us back in a week or so.’ As soon as I could, I accepted.”
Now, he is a key cog on a team that is trying not only to match the title winners of 2015, but perhaps run the table to match the undefeated Landon team of 2002.
“Coach Bordley will read us these letters from alumni, or text messages from alumni,” Shockey said. “One was a guy Brendan Healy who was on that ’02 team and went on to play at Maryland. He wrote how incredible this team us, to keep this up and to keep inspiring people. We’ve got five more guaranteed games, and one more for the championship if we make it. That’s what we have in mind.”