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Mon, March 30

Marauder boys pound Page 9-0<br><i>Freshman Ross Ledbetter gets hat trick</i>

Staff photo by Eric Lusk

JEROME Kellenbenz and the Marauders beat Page 9-0 on Saturday and will take aim at Flagstaff this afternoon.

It wasn’t a gesture of anger. It’s one he reserves for when one of his players gets a hat trick.

On Saturday, that player was freshman Ross Ledbetter, who booted three goals and helped lead the Marauders to a 9-0 victory against overmatched Page. Badger’s hat came flying onto the field before the Grand Canyon Region contest even reached halftime as Mingus improved to 8-3-1 overall and won its league opener.

Ledbetter scored nine minutes into the game after a cross from Ray Rivera. He put in a rebound in front of the Page net a minute later, and then clinched the coveted hat trick just before intermission thanks to another nice pass from Rivera.

“We had several objectives for this game,” coach Badger said. “One was to produce more offense, which we were able to accomplish. One was to get another shutout, which we did [Mingus now has six on the season].

“And I gave the defense another challenge, which was to deny Page a shot on goal. They succeeded. The final shot tally was Mingus 26, Page 0. I was pleased that the team remained poised throughout the game and did not sink to a lower level against a weaker opponent.”

Rivera gave the Marauders a 4-0 lead at halftime after an assist from Mitch Schumacher. Dane Mickelsen, normally a defensive player, scored a pair of unassisted goals in the second half after Badger started scrambling his lineup.

Larry Badger netted a shot after a nice throw-in from Rivera. Cody Rongo scored on an assist from James Lawton. Even goalie Brady Flummer got into the scoring act, converting a free kick just outside the penalty box early in the second period.

“It was a great heads up play on Brady’s part,” coach Badger said of Flummer’s goal. “We were attacking very effectively, and the Page keeper stopped the ball. He picked it up and ran forward to punt it to his teammates. He lost track of where he was and ran a considerable distance outside the penalty area.

“This resulted in a direct kick. While all the commotion was going on, Brady set the ball on the ground and kicked it into the wide open net.”

It was that kind of day for Mingus, which now enters the meat of its region schedule. Today at 1 p.m. the Marauders face the team they shared last year’s GCR championship with – Flagstaff. The game will be in Eagles’ territory.

Flag beat Mingus in a December tournament 3-0, but expect a closer match-up today.

“I am looking forward to the game with great anticipation,” Badger said. “I think it will be a prelude to the region championship.”

The Marauders will face Coconino on the road this Saturday, followed by games against Sinagua (home) and Payson (away) next week. Regular season results determine seeding for the region tournament, which will then decide the region’s three playoff representatives.

Both Mingus and Flag were denied playoff berths last year when they were upset in the opening round of the GCR tournament.

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