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Planet boys grab 7th straight title

Mars boys celebrate after winning their seventh WPIAL Class 2A lacrosse championship Wednesday night at Joe Walton Stadium. Jared Todhunter/Special to the Butler Eagle

MOON TWP — Mars is no stranger to WPIAL Class 2A boys lacrosse titles.

Having brought home their seventh straight such crown by downing No. 2 seed South Fayette, 16-7, Wednesday night, the Planets will re-shift their focus toward reminding the rest of the state that they’re here to stay on the larger stage.

“We’re definitely glad that we were able to represent Western Pennsylvania last year and definitely looking forward to a run this year,” Mars coach Bob Marcoux said. “We would love to finish our season at Panzer (Stadium) at State College.”

The top-seeded Planets (19-2) never trailed in the contest, which took place at Robert Morris University’s Joe Walton Stadium. In total, Mars scored 51 goals in its three games in the tournament.

“They’re a great team,” Lions coach Shawn Leydig said. “You’ve got to tip your cap. Everyone knows who Mars is. They’ve had quite the reputation and the dynasty. We knew it was a tall task … No one else has figured them out, either.”

Enzo Grieco opened the scoring a minute and a half in before South Fayette (18-1) saw Spence Hondru get his side on the scoreboard nearly two minutes later. Kyle McEwen deposited his first of two goals in the initial 24 minutes with 5:10 left in the first frame, which gave the Planets a permanent edge.

Jack Dunham, Ryan Blake, and Cole Yoshioka also put the ball in the net for the Planets in the first half. Mars entered the intermission up 7-4.

The Planets wasted no time stretching their lead out right after the halftime break. Jack McKenzie, Ian Coulter, Dunham and Grieco all struck in a span of three minutes and 15 seconds to make it an 11-4 game. Grieco added another before the third quarter came to a close.

Grieco finished the night with five goals and three assists.

“I just try to do what I do best, focus on what I can do, and try to make the people around me better by getting them open and hitting them with passes,” Grieco said.

Ben Bowser also got on the board in the win. Ian Edinger had an assist.

Mars’ seven WPIAL championships are a league record.

“We knew that we were building the program for the long haul,” Marcoux said. “The youth program started things off, so we have a really good culture in the youth program. It’s what helped bring us the talent. I absolutely never thought of this.”

Next up for the Planets will be the first round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs, which begin on Tuesday, June 6. There’s no doubt that Grieco and his teammates are eyeing another sort of repeat.

“That’s the big goal at the end of the day,” he said. “We want to win another state championship and we’re going to do everything in our power to make that happen.”

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