Class C boys soccer: Maranacook stuns Fort Kent in final minute

Article from Article written by DREW BONIFANT STAFF WRITER

HAMPDEN — The Maranacook boys soccer team had seen one scoring chance after another go unfulfilled, and the Black Bears were running out of time.

The Maranacook boys soccer team celebrates with the Gold Ball after it defeated Fort Kent 1-0 in the Class C state championship game Saturday morning at Hampden Academy. Photo by Kevin Bennett

In the fleeting seconds before heading into overtime, they got one final chance. The ball went from defender Duncan Rogers up to Silas Mohlar, who then gave it over to Aric Belanger before receiving a pass right back.

It’s the third state championship in five years for Maranacook, and the third Class C title in as many tries considering two seasons in between spent at Class B. Championships are nothing new. But as Beckwith said, that doesn’t mean they get old.

“Nothing’s ever sweeter than a state championship,” he said. “All that work you do in the preseason, all that work you do in the offseason. These guys put a lot of time in, so to get that reward, these seniors, that’s huge.”

This one didn’t come easily. Overtime seemed inevitable, with the Black Bears unable to break through against a Fort Kent team that played well in the midfield and stayed organized in its own end.

Wyatt Lambert runs to celebrate with his Maranacook boys soccer teammates after Silas Mohlar scored with 20 seconds left in regulation to give the Black Bears a 1-0 victory over Fort Kent in the Class C state title game Saturday morning at Hampden Academy. Photo by Kevin Bennett

The clock reached its final minute of regulation when Rogers began a Maranacook attack, with the ball going from Mohlar to Belanger, who brought it in from the left side. The junior defender kept the ball moving, sending a pass back over to Mohlar near the top of the 18-yard box.

“We always try to serve the ball, and we’re always trying to be the first to the ball,” Belanger said. “Silas worked off the ball and I gave it back to him. … It was kind of like a natural instinct-type thing.”

Mohlar didn’t stop to control the ball before putting it on net, firing a shot that beat Pelletier — excellent all day with seven saves — and skipped inside the left post to kick off a wild celebration along the right sideline.

“Time slows down, it’s like slow motion,” Mohlar said. “I turned, there was nobody there. It’s surprising that nobody tackled. … I didn’t think I was going to have as much time. I struck it as quick as I could.”

Maranacook players Duncan Rogers, left, Wyatt Lambert, center, and Bryan Riley celebrate Silas Mohlar’s goal with 20 seconds left in regulation of the Class C state final against Fort Kent on Saturday morning at Hampden Academy. Photo by Kevin Bennett

Fort Kent coach Oniqueky Samuels said fatigue may have played a role in why Mohlar was left alone.

“We kind of got tired in the last bit,” he said. “We gave up an easy shot on top of the 18-yard box. Our midfielders were a little bit deep. To react to that, it was kind of hard for them.”

Maranacook’s execution, however, was no accident. The sequence was one Maranacook had scouted and knew it could use to catch the Warriors, and Beckwith made sure his players were sharp.

“That’s the stuff that pays off, the little stuff,” he said. “We went up and saw them, that’s what we thought they’d give up. … We thought we’d get more of that shot, but we didn’t. We got it at the right time.”

It was a change in narrative after a morning, and then afternoon, of close calls and missed opportunities. Maranacook controlled play much of the game but had a few agonizingly close calls, the most notable of which came in the 47th minute when Pelletier leapt to prevent a Jackson McPhedran shot from sneaking under the crossbar, in the 72nd minute when Pelletier turned away a bid from a tight angle up close by Micah Charette, and in the 74th when Charette sent a cross over to Connor Stockwell, only for his volley to be turned aside by the Fort Kent keeper.