Hampton is the New Sheriff in the WPIAL Boys AA Soccer Town After Ousting Mars

Sunday, November 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM

On the one hand, Hampton (21-1-0) had defeated Mars (14-6-2) twice during the 2010 regular season, and was certainly motivated to avenge a loss in the 2009 WPIAL Championship game. On the other hand, the Planets were the two-time defending champion, but the Talbots would not be denied the gold medal this time, winning 4-1 at Baldwin High School on Saturday evening.

The first half was uneventful, but Hampton got things going early in the second. Sophomore forward Justin Carter caught
junior goalkeeper Garrett Gabriel by surprise when he tucked a 30-yard floater under the cross bar in the 43rd minute.

Then in the 44th, Carter pounced on a Mars miscue between junior defender Chad Knox and Gabriel inside the six-yard box for a 2-0 Hampton lead.

The Planets would answer in the 49th minute when senior forward Brenden Frank headed a throw-in from junior defender Ryan Gralish past senior keeper Ben Wilt to cut the Talbots' lead in half.

Things would quiet down until the 70th minute when junior striker Jonathan Mercier fired a bullet into the top right corner from 20 yards away.

Five minutes later, Knox headed a centering feed out of danger only to have senior midfielder Erik Donatelli pounce on the loose ball and bury it to put the exclamation point on the win.

Both Hampton and Mars will compete in the PIAA Playoffs beginning on Tuesday.

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