HAMPTON TWP — One more week.
That is the buzz around the Mars football program as the Planets secured a WPIAL playoff spot with a 27-7 win over rival Hampton Friday night at Fridley Field.
“I mean our kids played well today,” Mars coach Scott Heinauer said. “We talked before the game about playing a complete game and after the first quarter we played pretty well.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Planets started to get the engine going with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Quinn Fuller to Mitchell Wright to take a 7-0 lead into halftime.
Mars junior running back Teddy Ruffner was having a little trouble getting things started in the first half, with just 37 yards on 11 carries.
“(At halftime) we explained to him (Ruffner) where the hole really was,” Heinauer said. “Told him to be more patient with the ball, and that helped him pick where his hole really was.”
Ruffner would end the day with 136 yards on 26 carries, including a third-quarter touchdown that put the Planets up 14-0.
“Numbers, youth, it just kind of grinds on you,” Hampton coach Jacque DeMatteo said of Ruffner's second-half performance. “But my hat goes off to Mars in the playoffs. I was proud of our kids, proud of their effort, just a great group of kids.”
Before the third quarter was over, Mars kicker Blake Edwards nailed a 29-yard field goal that gave the Planets a 17-0 lead.
In the fourth, Nick Spotti added an 80-yard touchdown run, while Edwards booted a 27-yard field goal to give Mars a 27-0 cushion late.
Hampton finally got on the board on the last play of the game with a 12-yard touchdown pass to senior Dustin Payne, but the damage was already done as Mars secured a playoff spot with the 20-point victory.
“We played our game,” Heinauer said. “Running the ball, but if we have to throw the ball, we'll throw it. We thought it was important to come in here and make a statement that we can move the ball through the air, as well as on the ground.”
Mars quarterback Quinn Fuller did see more action than normal and took advantage, completing five of eight passes for 94 yards and a touchdown.
With the loss, Hampton wraps up its season with a 2-8 record.
“I love them,” DeMatteo said of his team. “It was enjoyable to come to practice every single day.”
Mars now will move on to the WPIAL 5A playoffs with a 6-4 overall record and 4-3 in conference play.
“We've got to go and play whoever we're going to play,” Heinauer said of the playoffs. “We've been there before, so we're fortunate we're back again. If we can play for four quarters we can play with anybody.”
Mars 0 7 10 10 — 27
Hampton 0 0 0 7 — 7
M — Mitchell Wright 25 pass from Quinn Fuller (Blake Edwards kick), 8:29
M — Teddy Ruffner 2 run (Edwards kick), 9:17
M — Edwards 29 field goal, 1:23
M — Nick Spotti 80 run (Edwards kick), 9:37
M — Edwards 27 field goal, 5:50
H — Dustin Payne 12 pass from Matt DeMatteo (DeMatteo kick), :00
Rushing: Mars, Teddy Ruffner 26-136, Nick Spotti 4-81, Joe DeLuca 3-1, Drew Schlegel 1-1. Hampton, Luke Lindgren 24-135, Josh Anderson 9-47, Joe Liberto 5-25, Christian Liberto 3-24.
Passing:Mars, Quinn Fuller 5-8-94-0. Hampton, Matt DeMatteo 5-12-62-3.
Receiving: Mars, Drew Schlegel 3-40, Mitchell Wright 2-54. Hampton, Greg Galuska 3-54, Josh Anderson 1-(-4), Dustin Payne 1-12.