Panther soccer sends Warner Robins home crying for mercy


Aelise Gagliano

A Panther soccer player kicks the ball through the box toward the goal. The Mill defeated the Warner Robin Demons 11-1.

Jenna Sanders, Staff Writer

The Panthers, the No. 2 seed from region 3-AAAAA, played Warner Robins, the No. 3 seed from region 1-AAAAA, in a one-sided offensive display on April 28. The Demons, who carried a four game losing streak into the playoffs, could not match the attack of host Starr’s Mill, falling 11-1 in a game called due to the mercy rule.

“We started off really fast,” head coach Mike Hanie said. “We were all over them, then we kinda slowed down a little bit, but ended up picking back up the pace.”

Aelise Gagliano
A Panther lines up for a shot from outside the box. Junior Samuel Pompeo dominated the offense, scoring three goals in the first 20 minutes.

The Panthers started the game off strong attacking the goal. Junior Sam Pompeo led the charge, scoring three goals within the first 20 minutes. The Demons attempted multiple times to take control of the ball, but could not manage to keep the ball away from the Panthers long enough to push it to the goal. The Mill kept pressing offensively with senior Patrick Bonilla and sophomore Jack Baker scoring in the last two minutes of the first half, increasing the Panther lead to 5-0 over the Demons.

“They didn’t really put up much of a fight,” Pompeo said. “But I’m proud of the boys for pushing throughout the game.”

In the second half, the Demons managed to get the ball just within the box and sink a shot in the 45th minute. One minute after the first and only Warner Robins goal of the night, freshman Craig McIlwraith scored from within the box, increasing the Mill’s lead to 6-1.

“I can’t do anything without my teammates,” Pompeo said. “Without the pass, there is no goal. I’m proud of my boys.”

Baker scored three more goals following McIlwraith’s goal, setting the score at 9-1. Sophomore Noah Pavel scored the tenth goal from within the box. Junior Brandon Weidle scored in the 60th minute, and the game ended in a mercy rule with the score 11-1.

“Going into the second round, we’re going to go up against a really tough opponent,” Hanie said. “It’s going to be a really tough battle.”

Starr’s Mill will play next against Clarkston, the No. 1 seed from region 5-AAAAA, who won a decisive 5-0 match against Cass, the No. 4 team from region 7-AAAAA. The Panthers travel to Hallford Stadium on May 3 for a 6 p.m. match in the second round of the state playoffs.