Fort Kent Warriors head to Class C state championship soccer game
FORT KENT, Maine — Classmates, faculty, friends and family sent the Warrior boys’ soccer squad off in rousing style Friday during a pep rally in the Fort kent Community High School gymnasium.
The Warriors (14-1-2) earned a spot in the Class C state title game when they shutout the Eagles of George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill, 4-0, Thursday at Fort Kent.
The team now is scheduled to take on Class C South’s top ranked Maranacook Community High School of Readfield (16-1-0) at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Hampden Academy for the state title. Both squads were ranked number 1 in their respective regions heading into the postseason, each with only one loss.
The Warrior players and coaches loaded onto a bus following the lunchtime pep rally and headed downstate, planning to get in some practice on the turf before the end of the day.
The normally quiet and undemonstrative Fort Kent head coach Oniqueky Samuels was all smiles and relaxed at Friday’s pep rally.
“It’s good to know your family and your town are there supporting you,” he told the crowd gathered inside the gym.
“It’s been a real pleasure from day one to work with these guys,” Samuels said, waving to his players who were lined up at center court.
Senior and team captain Niko Naranja also thanked the fans for their strong support.
“These players will always be my brothers,” he told those assembled.
The school also has organized a bus for those fans who want to travel to see the game on Saturday. It will depart a 6 a.m. from the school. A fee of $5 for students and $8 for adults will be charged to attend the game at Hampden Academy.
“I want to see a sea of green down there,” SAD 27 athletic director Eric Werntgen told the fans at the rally.
Samuels, originally from St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, is a former University of Maine Fort Kent Bengals soccer standout and serves as an academic skills specialist at the campus.
When it comes to preparing for a top-ranked team in Maranacook, the head coach said not much will change from what he has done all year.
We’re “sticking to what we have done all season,” Samuels said. “Working hard; doing the little things and playing as a team.”
For Fort Kent fans and players, taking on Maranacook brings with it an additional wrinkle — former Fort Kent player, Micha Charette, a senior, is on the opposing team.
“It’s definitely kind of a bittersweet thing,” Charette’s father said Friday. James Charette left his principal position at Fort Kent Community High School last year to take a job with Halldale Elementary School in Hallowell.
“We told (Micha) last night he would be playing soccer with new friends and with old friends,” he said. “It will be some great memories for his last high school soccer game.”
In only his first year as the head coach at Community High School, Samuels is taking his team to their first state title game since 2010. That year, the Warriors defeated Yarmouth, 2-1, for the title.
The teams each enter the championship game having scored 11 goals in the playoffs so far, with Fort Kent allowing three goals and Maranacook allowing just one.
The championship game also will be broadcast via internet at: www.nfhsnetwork.com/associations/mpa