By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
GARDENDALE — Gardendale junior midfielder-turned-forward Hunter Chapman had a hat trick, as the Rockets turned on the speed in the second half to run away from Clay-Chalkville 6-1 in a Tuesday boys soccer match.
Chapman opened the scoring two minutes before halftime, as he took a crossing pass from Sam Peacock and back-heeled it past the Cougar keeper. Chapman got his second goal 10 minutes after intermission.
The Cougars (1-11) got their only goal on a spectacular close-angle shot from Kameron Adams, who took the pass at the edge of the goal crease and drove in into the upper-right corner of the net.
Drew McPherson put the Rockets back on top by two with a crossing shot fired from the right corner in the 61st minute. Seven minutes later, he fed another cross to Chapman for his third goal.
Just two minutes later, Joseph Oakley added to the Gardendale tally, and Peacock got on the scoresheet in the final minute of play on a penalty kick, which he put past the Cougar keeper easily.
The hat trick gives Chapman 11 goals in 12 games.
"He's a true center midfielder, and we had ot move him up to center forward because of injury," coach John McIntosh said. "He stepped up the plate. He's going to be there [at forward] for sure now. He's got a great future ahead of him."
The victory puts Gardendale on a 6-6 record going into spring break, which is exactly where McIntosh wanted them to be.
"Standing at .500 before spring break is somewhere we needed to be, and it's something that nobody believed in us thought we could do, and we ourselves doubted it at times," McIntosh said. "They've stepped up the momentum and stepped up their play."
The Rockets are off until March 28, when they face area for Hewitt-Trussville.