Mars boys lacrosse rolls to 6th straight WPIAL title with another dominant performance

Thursday, May 26, 2022 | 11:46 PM

Around these parts, “one for the thumb” was a popular rallying cry for a couple of decades. The Mars boys lacrosse team already took care of that last season.

This year, the goal for the Fightin’ Planets was sixth consecutive WPIAL championship, and they reached that goal with a dominant 19-3 win over second-seeded Quaker Valley in the Class 2A finals Thursday night at Robert Morris’ Joe Walton Field.

The Quakers had the first opportunity in the game when, after a Mars turnover, the Fightin’ Planets were assessed a 30-second penalty. The Quakers came up empty, and when Mars answered with a man-up goal on its first chance, the Planets were off and running.

“Our whole goal was to come out fast like we did against South Fayette,” Mars coach Bob Marcoux said. “We wanted to get up early and really set the tone and the pace. Sometimes that doesn’t always go your way, but we just stuck with it.”

Senior attack Wes Scurci, a US Lacrosse All-American, converted 2:57 into the game and Mars never looked back, opening an 18-0 lead in the fourth quarter before Quaker Valley found the net.

Scurci, who scored seven times on the night, has 72 goals on the season. The Lindenwood recruit also added an assist.

“We just know from the power of our offense that once we get the ball, we’re going to be fine,” Scurci said of the early man disadvantage. “We stay calm in all of those situations.”

Not to be outdone, fellow senior All-American Austin Cote notched five goals and added four helpers as top-seeded Mars improved to 19-1. Cote, who has 64 goals, is a Loyola (Md.) commit.

Junior attack Jack Dunham chipped in offensively with a pair of goals and four assists while classmate Kyle McEwen added two goals of his own. Senior Josh Seipp, who is also headed to Lindenwood, added three assists.

Archer Eubanks, Henry Wagner and Kyle Hammond scored for Quaker Valley (16-2). Hammond’s goal was his team-leading 52nd of the season.

Mars has now won championships in 2016 (Division 2) and in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022. The 2020 season was cancelled due to the covid pandemic. The Mars title in 2017 also came against Quaker Valley.

Marcoux counted making the state playoffs as one of the main goals of the season for Mars.

“We’ve been kind of planning the season in three sections — the first section the regular season, the second section was to get here (the WPIAL championship game). We’ve really been trying to make sure we have everybody healthy as that’s been an issue that we’ve had the last couple of rounds. We’ve had some unfortunate injuries before.”

The Mars victory was win No. 99 for Marcoux, who has been with the program for 10 seasons, spending the last five as head coach.

Both the Quakers and the Fightin’ Planets have qualified for the PIAA Class 2A playoffs along with South Fayette, which defeated Indiana, 8-4, in the consolation game.

“Our practices are really competitive,” Scurci said. “I think that’s most important.”

Quaker Valley will play District 10 champion Cathedral Prep on Tuesday while Mars faces Cocalico, the fourth-place finisher from District 3.

Last year, Mars became the first team from District 7 regardless of classification or gender to appear in a lacrosse state championship game. The Fightin’ Planets lost that game 14-5 to Allentown Central Catholic, which became the first team from District 11 to win a lacrosse championship.

When Scurci was asked if this is when the pressure really starts for Mars, he replied succinctly, “I think so.”

The Upper St. Clair girls also won a spot in the state playoffs at Robert Morris on Thursday, defeating Pine-Richland in the Class 3A third-place game.

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