Scarborough boys rally to beat Westbrook in Saturday matinee

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Scarborough junior Wyatt Keller, right, is congratulated by senior Brandon Wasser after scoring a first half goal in Saturday’s game against Westbrook. The Red Storm rallied for a 3-2 victory.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s boys’ soccer team knows that nothing will come easily this season and the Red Storm found themselves in an unexpectedly difficult spot Saturday afternoon at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex when they trailed visiting Westbrook by a goal late in regulation.

But in a positive sign for future success, Scarborough saved its best for last and earned a valuable victory.

The Red Storm were on the defensive for much of the first half, but the Blue Blazes couldn’t score and in the 15th minute, in transition, senior Marco Manfra set up junior Wyatt Keller for the game’s first goal.

Scarborough was still ahead by a 1-0 margin until Westbrook senior Jean Marc Lohomboli answered with 29:02 to play.

Lohomboli struck again with 16:02 on the clock and with seven minutes left, the Red Storm still trailed, but with a first-ever loss to Westbrook staring it in the face, Scarborough rose off the deck. 

With 6:56 on the clock, a free kick from junior David Trammell was guided home by junior Noah Drapeau to tie it.

Then, with 2:16 to play, off a corner kick, senior Nick Anderson found himself in the right place at the right time to head the ball home and from the ashes of a late deficit, the Red Storm were able to turn the tables and go on to a 3-2 victory.

Scarborough improved to 2-1 on the young season, improved to 19-0 all-time against the Blue Blazes and dropped Westbrook to 1-2 in the process.

“We made a few adjustments and stuck with it,” said longtime Red Storm coach Mark Diaz, who earned his 246th victory with the program. “It’s a good learning experience. We’re very young, but we didn’t panic. I’m proud of them.”

Pushed to the limit

The Red Storm started with a 1-0 loss at Deering, then blanked visiting Thornton Academy, 4-0.

Westbrook began with a 6-1 home loss to Gorham, then righted its ship with a 4-1 home victory over Noble. 

Entering play Saturday, Scarborough had won all 18 previous meetings against the Blue Blazes (see sidebar, below), including a 6-0 home victory last fall.

This time around, a pleasant 70-degree afternoon, the Red Storm had to fight for 80 minutes before eking out a victory in palpitating fashion.

Westbrook created some early chances, but couldn’t convert, as senior Grayson Post one-timed a 30-yard rocket just high, Lohomboli set up sophomore Mohamed Mohamed for a shot which was saved by Scarborough senior goalkeeper Morgan Pratt, Pratt denied Mohamed again and Pratt just beat Post’s feed to Mohamed in the box.

Then, with 25:01 to play in the half, the Red Storm’s first good chance resulted in the game’s first goal, as in transition, Manfra passed to Keller, who got past the defense and with Blue Blazes senior goalkeeper Jacob Brackett coming out to cut off the angle, sent a shot past a sprawling Brackett into the net for a 1-0 lead.

Westbrook pressured for the equalizer, but Post shot just high, senior Ryan Shackley’s header was cleared by Scarborough senior defender Alex Dobecki and Pratt came out to beat Lohomboli on a rush.

Late in the half, Post had a shot saved, a corner kick was cleared, Lohomboli shot wide, then had a shot deflected and senior Caleb Barlow missed just wide, sending the game to the half with the hosts still on top.

In the first 40 minutes, shots on frame were even, 3-3.

Both teams were able to tickle the twine in an exciting second half.

A little over a minute in, a rush by Blue Blazes senior Brandt Herbert was broken up by Red Storm junior back Noah Frink.

After Lohomboli set up Barlow for a look, Barlow shot high, a Westbrook corner kick was cleared and a 35-yard free kick by Post kissed the top of the crossbar.

With 29:02 left in regulation, the visitors finally broke through, as in transition, Post fed Lohomboli, who made a nice move to shake a defender before beating Pratt, making the score 1-1.

Scarborough tried to regain the lead, but a couple corner kicks led to nothing, a free kick from Manfra was nicely saved by Brackett and junior Collin MacLeod and Trammell had shots blocked.

Then, with 16:02 remaining, Lohomboli struck again, this team taking a pass Shackley, beating a defender, then Pratt, and just like that, the Blue Blazes led for the first time, 2-1.

With 14:36 on the clock, the hosts appeared to get a break, as Brackett got shaken up and had to come out, but junior Sean White came in and twice got to the ball just in time to break up promising opportunities.

Brackett returned with 10:15 on the clock and Scarborough’s frustrations continued until 74th minute.

When the Red Storm earned a free kick and Trammell served the ball into the box where Drapeau was there to steer the ball into the net, tying the game again, 2-2, with 6:56 to go.

Once Scarborough drew even, it was bound and determined to win in regulation.

After Anderson headed a feed from Trammell just wide with 2:55 to play, he got another chance as the Red Storm earned a corner kick.

Manfra played the ball into the box, Post headed it in the air and the ball came right to Anderson, who headed it into the net with 2:16 to play and just like that, the Red Storm had a 3-2 lead.

“I had a feeling as soon as (Noah’s goal) went in, another would go in,” Anderson said. “It was a lucky deflection. It came right to me and I knew I had to put it in.”

From there, Scarborough managed to control the ball and run out the clock and celebrate its hard-fought victory.

“There was no panic at all,” Anderson said. “It’s a young group of guys, but we all trust each other. We knew we had to fight. It’s a big win. We knew what we had to do and we did it. They’re a good team. We knew we had to show up today. We came out strong at the end. It’s a big team win.”

“They played well and got us on a couple of counters and we had to push forward to get opportunities,” Diaz said. “We didn’t finish very well, but in the end, the kids pulled it out. We showed a lot of heart. That’s how the league will be this year. Every game will be a grind. It was a tough stretch playing Thursday, then today at noon.”

Each team put six shots on frame. Pratt made four saves and Brackett stopped three shots.

The Red Storm had a 4-3 edge in corner kicks.

Showdown looms

Westbrook returns to action Tuesday at Kennebunk, then hosts Windham Thursday.

Scarborough, meanwhile, has a showdown/playoff rematch at defending regional champion Gorham Tuesday. 

“Each game I see us getting better as a group,” Anderson said. “I’m really excited to keep it going. We’re fired up for Gorham. We have to make sure we play tighter on D. Teams like Gorham won’t be as forgiving.”

“We’ll try to get some momentum from this and we have a tough one Tuesday,” Diaz said. “We’re progressing. I think we’ll be OK. We need to get healthy. We’ll get guys back and see what happens.” 

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Scarborough senior Marco Manfra tries to get around Westbrook senior Sajjad Abdulabas.

Scarborough senior Nick Anderson heads the ball away from Westbrook senior Jean Marc Lohomboli. Anderson scored the winning goal late in regulation.

Scarborough senior Brandon Wasser splits Westbrook seniors Grayson Post (17) and Sajjad Abdulabas.

Scarborough junior Liam Bridgham plays the ball away from Westbrook senior Ryan Shackley.

Scarborough junior Collin MacLeod fires a shot.

Scarborough senior goalkeeper Morgan Pratt plays the ball in traffic.

Westbrook senior Jean Marc Lohomboli (leaping) celebrates a second half goal.

Previous Scarborough-Westbrook results

2016
@ Scarborough 6 Westbrook 0

2015
Scarborough 1 @ Westbrook 0
Class A South quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 2 Westbrook 0

2014
Scarborough 2 @ Westbrook 0

2013
@ Scarborough 2 Westbrook 0

2012
Scarborough 8 @ Westbrook 1

2011
@ Scarborough 7 Westbrook 2

2010
Scarborough 2 @ Westbrook 0

2009
@ Scarborough 2 Westbrook 0

2008
Scarborough 6 @ Westbrook 1

2007
@ Scarborough 2 Westbrook 1
Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 4 Westbrook 0

2006
Scarborough 2 @ Westbrook 0
Western A Final
@ Scarborough 1 Westbrook 0

2005
@ Scarborough 2 Westbrook 0

2004
Scarborough 4 @ Westbrook 0

2003
@ Scarborough 6 Westbrook 1

1985
Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 4 Westbrook 3 (2 OT)

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.