HAMPDEN – Thomas Levesque took a chance on another long-range shot and with that, Fort Kent celebrated its first Class C boys’ soccer state championship Saturday.
Levesque’s goal at 22:51 of the second half gave the Warriors a 2-1 victory over North Yarmouth Academy.
Fort Kent (14-1-3) lost the state final last year, 4-1 to St. Dominic, but controlled play against the Panthers (10-6-1), an eighth seed that made a late-season run.
“The team that played the last eight games didn’t show up today,” said North Yarmouth Academy Coach Martyn Keen. “The only time they had the intensity they needed was coming out in the second half.”
NYA scored on Matthew Kibler’s header early in the second half to make it 1-1 but otherwise generated few chances. Fort Kent outshot NYA 16-11, and Alex Charette needed to make only four saves.
The Warriors broke through against a school seeking its seventh state championship in the last 13 years.
“This is a really big deal for us,” said Levesque, who tried several long shots. “None of them worked until (the goal).”
The winner came from 20 yards — a knuckleball-like shot that bounced past the goalkeeper, inside the left post.
“It volleyed up for me very nicely. I didn’t think it was going to go in,” Levesque said. “But it just dipped a little.”
In the first half, NYA had chances with forwards Ryan Rousseau and Matthew Mich-aud feeding each other. The speedy Michaud often ran down the sidelines, sending crosses toward goal. But the Panthers couldn’t finish.
After four minutes, Jackson Cohan-Smith sent in a ball. Michaud fed Niklas Narvanmaa, but a hurried shot was wide.
Fort Kent, meanwhile, controlled the ball with powerful midfielder Jared Soucy and Levesque, a creative forward.
But most of the chances were long-range shots or passes that led teammates too much.
The Warriors kept coming, though, and on their fourth corner kick, Levesque sent the ball into the box. It was cleared, but Dante Naranja headed it back in. Soucy controlled it, turned and kicked it in for a 1-0 lead with 37 seconds left in the half.
In the second half, NYA got its third corner kick and Rousseau placed a perfect ball. Kibler charged in and headed it for a 1-1 tie after 56 seconds. But that was all for the Panthers.
“We just weren’t getting enough numbers forward,” Keen said. “It was disappointing. But (Fort Kent) came down and lost last year. They didn’t forget that feeling.”
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: