Sports

Last-minute goal lifts Maranacook past Fort Kent for ‘C’ boys crown

HAMPDEN, Maine — Silas Mohlar never stepped on the field as a freshman at Maranacook Community High School when the Black Bears won the 2014 Class C state championship.

When the now-senior striker stepped off the field to celebrate the Readfield school’s 2017 state title late Saturday morning, it came just 20.7 seconds after he scored the game-winning goal.

Mohlar one-timed a short pass from junior forward Aric Belanger into the left corner of the net with the seconds winding down in regulation time for the only goal of the match as Maranacook edged Fort Kent, 1-0, in the Class C final played at Hampden Academy.

“I never touched the field freshman year,” said Mohlar. “Here I played the whole game. Senior year, it’s crazy.”

Coach Don Beckwith’s Maranacook club, which competed in Class B the last two years before being reclassified back to Class C this fall by enrollment, concluded its season with a 17-1 record.

Fort Kent, which was bidding for its first state championship since 2010, finished 14-2-2.

Mohlar’s goal came in stunningly sudden fashion, for while Maranacook was controlling the ball in its offensive end in the final minute that was no different than it had been for much of the match, as the Black Bears amassed a 12-2 advantage in shots on goal.

What was different was the space available in the middle of the field some 15 yards from the Fort Kent goal as Maranacook’s Duncan Rogers centered the ball to Mohlar, who then redirected it to his left to Belanger.

Belanger drew a Fort Kent defender toward him and passed it back to Mohlar, who found the space he needed for a quick shot into the left corner of the net.

“When Aric got it I thought he was going to shoot, but one of their defenders stepped up to him and he just tapped it back to me,” said Mohlar. “I figured if I turned there was going to be somebody there but I turned and there was nobody there so I just struck it.

“I had a lot of time. It really surprised me.”

While the taller, more physical Black Bears had more scoring chances, Fort Kent had the best scoring bid of the match’s first 79 minutes and 39 seconds.

That came with 25 minutes left in the second half when the Warriors were able to maintain control in their offensive end, setting up junior Austin Plourde for a straight-on shot amid traffic from about 15 yards out. Plourde lined the attempt hard off the left post, and when the rebound caromed back to him a second-chance one-timer went over the crossbar.

“We’re not really used to playing that physical of a team up north so it took us a while to get used to that,” said Fort Kent coach Oniquesky Samuels. “In the second half we got used to it and created a really good chance, we hit the post, and I know if we got that goal that would have been it because our defense is extremely tight, we didn’t give up a lot of good chances.

“They got their chance and capitalized, we got ours and didn’t. That’s the game of soccer.”

Junior goalie Reece Pelletier kept Fort Kent in contention with 11 saves, part of a stout effort from a Warriors’ defense that yielded just three goals in its last six regular-season matches and then posted shutouts in both its regional semifinal and championship-game victories.

But Maranacook withstood any frustration that may have come with being unable to break through earlier, and was overjoyed when Mohlar finally broke through late.

“There were moments when we were frustrated but we were there to pick each other up,” said Belanger. “We’re a good team and that’s what we do.

“Coach always tells us to stay hopeful and stay strong so that’s what we did and it happened to work out in our favor.”

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