It could’ve been the fastest hat trick in the history of Philomath High boys soccer.
Of course that’s not known for sure with no historical references available to any such feat, but Mark Grimmer certainly had a notable start to Tuesday’s 12-0 victory over Sweet Home. The sophomore forward scored three goals within the first 4 minutes — an offensive outburst so explosive that Sweet Home’s goalkeeper may have flashbacks the rest of his life every time he sees someone wearing No. 7.
“I think our offense is a great weapon,” said PHS junior Nick Stucki, who scored a couple of goals himself. “We have great speed and I believe it’s the strongest area of our team.”
Sweet Home has struggled this season with an 0-10 overall record. The Huskies scored a goal in their season opener against Elmira but has been outscored 100-0 since.
“In these games, you can make them difficult by not taking a team seriously and not being professional,” PHS coach Dave Ellis said. “We were professional today and I was proud of that.”
Philomath vaulted out to an 7-0 lead in the first half. Along with Grimmer’s three goals, senior Luke Haslam scored on a penalty kick in the 9th minute; Stucki snuck one into the net on a corner kick in the 18th minute; junior Andrew Mecham scored in the 19th minute; and sophomore Noah Aynes finished in the 28th minute.
“We started out starters — we wanted to make sure we got on top and got it under control,” Ellis said. “Then we were able to even out some playing time, get some guys looks and other things.”
With the substantial lead at the intermission, Ellis decided to start all underclassmen in the second half, something he also did last year against the Huskies.
“In this game, we had the opportunity in the second half to play with our juniors, sophomores and freshmen to see what it would be like next year without the seniors,” Stucki said. “It was a good way to just test that out and get experience.”
Grimmer scored his fourth goal of the game just 29 seconds into the second half. Freshman Seth Arthurs followed in the 43rd minute and then Mecham earned hat trick status with back-to-back goals in the 52nd and 61st minutes. Stucki closed out the scoring with another finish to the net in the 63rd minute.
“It gives me a chance to look at next year, put those holes out there and let them play,” Ellis said about holding out the seniors to start the second half.
Among the seniors that the Warriors will be losing after this season will be Bryce Beeton and Ben Reams.
“Bryce and Ben are leaving so I kept pulling off my strong attackers to put them under more and more pressure at center back to see how they handled it,” Ellis said. “So there’s things that we worked on. We always try to get better no matter what we’re doing.”
The Oregon West Conference has an interesting race at the very top between Woodburn and Stayton — those two teams will meet next week in a game that will very likely decide the league title.
Philomath and Cascade, meanwhile, are embattled in a push for third. The Warriors’ record went to 5-3 with the win over Sweet Home. Cascade plays Wednesday against a Sisters team that it will likely defeat and if that’s the case, the Warriors and Cougars will be within a half-game of each other in the standings when they play this coming Tuesday.
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“I’m thinking we have a pretty good chance of going to the playoffs,” Stucki said. “We already have as many as wins as we had last year.”
Philomath 12, Sweet Home 0
Tuesday at Philomath
SWEET HOME (0-10, 0-8) 0 0 — 0
PHILOMATH (6-4, 5-3) 7 5 — 12
First half — 1, Philomath, Mark Grimmer, 3rd minute; 2, Philomath, Grimmer, 3rd minute; 3, Philomath, Grimmer, 4th minute; 4, Philomath, Luke Haslam (PK), 9th minute; 5, Nick Stucki, 18th minute; 6, Philomath, Andrew Mecham, 19th minute; 7, Philomath, Noah Aynes, 28th minute.
Second half — 8, Philomath, Grimmer, 41st minute; 9, Philomath, Seth Arthurs, 43rd minute; 10, Philomath, Mecham, 52nd minute; 11, Philomath, Mecham, 61st minute; 12, Philomath, Stucki, 63rd minute.
Note: Assists not listed because they were not available on all goals.
Team notes: Sweet Home does not have enough players for a JV team, but the two teams did scrimmage with Philomath loaning players to the Huskies. ... The JV team will take a 4-3-1 overall record into Tuesday’s game at Cascade.