Scarborough’s boys’ soccer team shows off its runner-up trophy after falling to Lewiston, 1-0, in Saturday’s Class A state final.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
PORTLAND—Through 17 games, Scarborough’s boys’ soccer team met every challenge thrown its way.
Saturday afternoon, in the Class A state championship game at Fitzpatrick Stadium, the Red Storm finally met their match.
But not before putting up a heroic fight.
Facing highly-touted, dynamic, undefeated Lewiston, Scarborough found itself in the unfamiliar spot of playing defense for the majority of the game, but the Red Storm held the potent Blue Devils at bay for more than 60 minutes.
But with 16:40 to play, off a pinpoint throw from junior Maulid Abdow, Scarborough inadvertently sent the ball into its own goal and that proved to be the difference.
The Red Storm couldn’t answer and for the first time all season, at the worst possible time, they went down to defeat, 1-0.
Lewiston capped an 18-0 season with its first Class A championship and in the process, ended valiant Scarborough’s campaign at 15-1-2.
“The guys gave me everything I asked for and more,” said Red Storm coach Mark Diaz. “We played well defensively. That was the game plan and we followed it. We had some chances, but not as many as we would have liked. Lewiston’s a great team. They certainly deserve to be the champion. They have a lot of guys who have played together for awhile. We wanted to keep the score what it was. We just hoped to get a few breaks.”
Scarborough and Lewiston squared off in the preseason and at the time, both teams believed they might meet again at a later date on a bigger stage.
The Blue Devils were simply overwhelming during the regular season, winning all 14 games by a composite score of 100-7 and they earned the top seed in Class A North.
Lewiston defeated eighth-ranked Edward Little, 5-0, in the quarterfinals, No. 4 Bangor, 4-0, in the semifinals, and No. 2 Hampden Academy, 4-0, in Wednesday’s regional final.
The Red Storm opened with a 4-0 win at Deering and navigated their schedule without a loss for the ninth time in 12 seasons, finishing 12-0-2, with ties against Gorham (0-0) and Portland (1-1) serving as the lone blemishes.
Scarborough earned the top seed for 11th time in 12 years and ousted ninth-ranked Westbrook (2-0), No. 4 Falmouth (3-0) and seventh-ranked Cheverus (2-0) to advance.
The teams had never met in a state game, but did play three previous times in the playoffs, when they were in the same region.
The Red Storm won, 1-0, in the 1974 Western A semifinals en route to a state championship and the Blue Devils prevailed, 2-1, in the 1979 quarterfinals and 1-0 in the 1987 preliminary round.
Saturday, on a pleasantly warm early November afternoon (58 degrees with a west-northwest wind of 18 miles per hour) in front of what was believed to be the biggest crowd (at least 4,000 people) ever to see a state game in Maine, Scarborough sought to pull even with Falmouth and win the program’s 11th title, but instead, Lewiston finally finished the job.
While it was clear from the get-go that the Blue Devils were immensely talented, creative and athletic, the Red Storm were largely their equal in the first half.
Early in the game, the biggest weapons on the field weren’t powerful legs, but the talented arms of Scarborough senior Matt Caron and Lewiston’s Abdow, who sent throws from the sideline directly into the box, putting the opposing defense under immense pressure.
In the just the second minute, a Caron throw was headed on target by senior Garrett King, but Blue Devils senior goalkeeper Austin Wing made the save.
At the other end, in the fourth minute, an Abdow throw was punched out by Red Storm senior goalkeeper Cam Nigro.
After Nigro stopped a bid from Lewiston senior Masiah Hassan, the Blue Devils had consecutive corner kicks, but had nothing to show for them.
In the 11th minute, a rush from Scarborough junior Noah Stracqualursi was broken up.
With 27 minutes to play in the first half, Nigro went sprawling to deny a free kick from the side off the foot of Lewiston sophomore Noralddin Othman.
In the 18th minute, Red Storm senior Josh Morrissey headed a corner kick wide.
After Othman was denied by Nigro, the Blue Devils earned two more corner kicks, but again couldn’t put a shot on goal.
With 14:03 to play in the half, Lewiston sophomore Muktar Ali took a pass from senior Abdi Shariff-Hassan and shot just wide.
In the waning moments of the half, Lewiston senior Dek Hassan sent a long free kick to junior Joseph Kalilwa, who shot high, and a long free kick from Scarborough senior Nick Lorello was cleared and the game went to the half, 0-0.
The Blue Devils had a 3-1 edge in shots on goal in the first half and would control play even more in the second half.
Just 20 seconds in, Othman fired a shot high.
With 36:20 left in regulation, Lewiston senior Abdulkarim Abdulle launched a left-footed rocket which appeared goal bound, but Nigro tipped it over the crossbar at the last second.
After Kalilwa shot high, Kalilwa tried again, but Nigro made the save.
With 27:25 to go, senior Maslah Hassan eluded three defenders, then had a great look blocked by a defender.
With 21:42 left, senior Mohamed Khalid was given a yellow card, but the Blue Devils didn’t let up and with 16:40 to go, were rewarded.
On an Abdow throw, the ball wound up in the net and at first, no one knew exactly what happened or who was responsible for getting it there.
All that mattered was that the goal counted and Lewiston had a 1-0 lead.
“I didn’t even know it was going to go in,” Abdow said. “I thought Abdi (Shariff-Hassan) scored. Then I heard my name announced.”
“I just saw a lot of bodies,” Diaz said. “It looked like my left back got tangled up with somebody and he ran into my keeper. There was a mass of bodies. It was hard to tell who was doing what to who. I couldn’t tell who it went off of on the backside. There was a lot of pushing going on both ways and it was just one of those things, it trickled in. They put a lot of pressure on us and that’s when those kinds of things start to happen.”
Scarborough then had to go from being on the defensive to trying to answer and with 15:36 left, Caron raced in goal, but Wing got the ball first and after Caron ran into the keeper, he was given a yellow card, which proved to be a huge blow for the Red Storm, who lost Caron’s throwing ability for 10 minutes.
King did produce a nice bid with 13:33 to go, but his long, low shot was cradled by Wing.
Lewiston almost doubled its lead with 9:15 remaining, but Scarborough senior back Andrew Porada blocked Shariff-Hassan’s shot in the box.
Abdulle then sent a blast just wide off a corner and with 2:47 left, after a highlight reel back heel pass from Shariff-Hassan, Ali had a shot blocked.
In the final minute, the Red Storm’s last chance came on a long punt from Nigro which bounced into the box, but Wing got to the ball before Caron could reach it.
As time expired, Nigro tried again to punt the ball into the scoring area, but he was hounded by Hassan, who was given a red card after the fact, and at 2:14 p.m., the final horn sounded and the Blue Devils had a 1-0 victory and their first championship.
“I knew it was going to be one for the ages,” longtime Lewiston coach Mike McGraw said. “Neither team got a direct goal. We had to work for everything we got. We got the last shot. It rolled in off a Scarborough player and went in. We got credit for the goal. That’s the way the game is. It can be beautiful, and it can be cruel.”
It was cruel indeed for the Red Storm.
“What difficult for us is we’re used to having the ball a lot more than we did today,” Diaz said. “It’s hard in 48 hours to teach your kids how to act when they don’t have the ball. It was an adjustment for us and obviously it wasn’t easy for us to play that style. It’s not something that comes naturally to us. It affected us offensively, certainly. When we went down, 1-0, we played harder after that.”
Lewiston outshot Scarborough, 18-6 (8-3 on frame). Wing made three saves, while Nigro stopped seven shots for the Red Storm. The Blue Devils had an 11-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Scarborough fell just short of the Gold Ball, but did it ever have a tremendous season.
“I’m so proud of the guys,” Diaz said. “To come out of our league, as tough as it was this year, and to go undefeated, it’s not easy to do.”
The Red Storm, as always, will be hard hit by graduation, as 10 players depart.
“It’s a special group,” Diaz said, of his seniors. “Some of those guys won state titles and played in big games. They played like it meant something today. It’s going to be tough to lose those guys, no question. I’m so proud of that senior class. What a run they had.”
Don’t be the least bit surprised if Scarborough finds its way back to states in 2016 and it wouldn’t be shocking at all if the Red Storm do battle again with Lewiston, which shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
“We’ve got some juniors coming back and we’ll develop some of the younger guys,” Diaz said. “We’ll start working as soon as we can to get better for next year.”
Scarborough senior Garrett King and Lewiston junior Maulid Abdow go for the ball.
Scarborough senior Jake Kacer boots the ball away from Lewiston sophomore Noralddin Othman.
Scarborough senior goalkeeper Cam Nigro punches the ball away from Lewiston senior Abdulkarim Abdulle.
Scarborough senior Sam Jacob and Lewiston senior Masiah Hassan go flying.
Lewiston junior Maulid Abdow tries to get past Scarborough junior Spencer Pettingill.
Scarborough junior Cam Thibault battles Lewiston senior Dek Hassan in the air.
Scarborough senior Matt Caron crashes into Lewiston senior goalkeeper Austin Wing late in the game. Caron was given a yellow card on the play.
Lewiston’s Benjamin Musese exhibits pure joy as he runs toward the fans after the Blue Devils clinched the championship.
Justin Pelletier / Sun Journal photo.
Scarborough, conversely, was distraught after the final whistle.
Previous Scarborough state games (10-2)
2013 Class A
Scarborough 2 Hampden Academy 1 (OT)
2012 Class A
Scarborough 4 Mt. Ararat 0
2009 Class A
Scarborough 2 Brunswick 1
2008 Class A
Scarborough 1 Bangor 0 (OT)
2006 Class A
Bangor 1 Scarborough 0 (2 OT)
2005 Class A
Scarborough 0 Mt. Ararat 0 (4-2 PK)
2003 Class A
Mt. Ararat 0 Scarborough 0 (4-2 PK)
1999 Class B
Scarborough 2 Ellsworth 1 (4 OT)
1976 Class A
Scarborough 2 Ellsworth 0
1975 Class A
Scarborough 4 Madawaska 0
1974 Class A
Scarborough 1 Fort Kent 0
1973 Class A
Scarborough 2 Nokomis 0
Previous Lewiston state games (0-2)
2014 Class A
Cheverus 2 Lewiston 1
1991 Class A
Brunswick 2 Lewiston 0