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Wharton takes advantage of momentum, wins over Land O'Lakes.
By Izzy Gould
Published February 2, 2007
LAND O'LAKES - A new formation freed Wharton.
The beneficiary of the newly implemented 4-4-2 was Wildcats forward David Stovall, who notched a hat trick in a 5-1 rout of Land O'Lakes.
Stovall's precision, awareness and speed allowed him to fire, redirect and break away for his three points. Ultimately, it was Wharton's loss in the district tournament final to rival Freedom that helped joggle the Wildcats into postseason form.
"After the bus left that night, Christian Silva sat with me for 20 minutes in the parking lot," Wharton coach Scott Ware said. "You could see it in his eyes. He said, 'Coach, we have to play.' "
Wharton (17-2-1) cruised to a 2-0 lead in the first half on goals from Stovall and Ryan Asare-Bediako. Land O'Lakes forward Louis Falcon gave the Gators their best chance to climb within a goal before the half with a penalty kick. The ball appeared a split second before Falcon fired it into the hands of Wharton goalie Clete Goddard, as he dove to his right for the save.
Land O'Lakes (20-5-2) showed some intensity to begin the second half, which led to a Falcon goal less than two minutes after the break. Momentum quickly switched back on a header by Wharton forward Joey Layton for a 3-1 lead, which led to Stovall's fourth and fifth goals.
"Defensively, we couldn't stop Stovall," Gators coach Mark Pearson said. "He ran the show tonight."