PALMETTO -- Hunter Brown had never scored three goals in a match before Tuesday's Class 3A-District 10 boys soccer opener.
The reasoning could be Brown's role as a substitute.
But further examination into Palmetto's boys soccer team sees the depth and versatility that head coach Dustin Dahlquist has at his disposal.
And it's precisely why the Tigers (20-1-3) can hit opponents with a variety of scorers and aren't reliant on one or two strikers.
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On Tuesday, Brown's hat trick and Javis Paniagua's brace (two goals) led the Tigers to an 8-0 mercy-rule shortened victory over St. Petersburg Gibbs.
"I keep getting two goals, but I can't get that third one," Brown said. "But (Tuesday) was my first one. I've done it before for club and stuff like that, but I really like playing for high school. It's what I take pride in the most. Scoring a hat trick, it feels nice."
The match ended about 14 minutes into the second half when Brown fired in his third goal of the night to enact the mercy rule. Palmet
to's victory was so lopsided that the Tigers didn't allow Gibbs any shots.
Not one shot, on goal or otherwise.
"We play good defense, that's where it starts," Dahlquist said. "We start from the back and move forward. We're fortunate with the guys we have in the back to get the offensive chances that we get. We pressure the ball quite a bit and we stick with our marks."
Palmetto's ball-pressuring midfield, where two or three players were attacking whoever from the opposition possessed the ball, created a plethora of chances in the final third of the pitch throughout the match.
As a result, Francisco Jimenez, Alex Jaramillo and Gregorio Calvillo each produced a goal to join Brown and Paniagua on the scoresheet.
"If you look at our scoreline most nights, we have, especially games like this we have five, six different goalscorers," Dahlquist said. "And that happens quite a bit."
However, the game plan was, like every other match, to improve as a club. And in the early portions of the match, the Tigers looked too individualistic rather than putting a team effort together.
"We were probably a little selfish there in the first half trying to do some things to get yourself a goal, and we talked a little bit at the half about being unselfish," Dahlquist said. "And doing what we do best, and that's working the ball around ... kids want goals. And there's nothing wrong with midfielders and forwards trying to get themselves a goal. But ultimately, that's not what we do."
Following the first-half water break and the intermission, Palmetto worked the ball around the field freely and generated a ball-controlling force to overmatch Gibbs.
So the Tigers, the district's top seed, return to action on Wednesday with another home match.
A victory Wednesday propels Palmetto into Friday's championship, and also assures the Tigers of earning a berth into the regional round of the state tournament.