Jackson Fotter was where he was supposed to be. And because of that, Gorham High will move up in the final Western Class A boys’ soccer standings.
Fotter’s goal with 4.8 seconds remaining in the first half, a rebound off a shot that hit the crossbar, gave Gorham a 1-0 victory over Cheverus on Tuesday in a game with playoff seeding implications.
The Rams, who finished the regular season 10-3-1, entered the game seventh with the Stags, now 9-4-1, in sixth. Tim King, the veteran coach at Gorham, believes the decision could lift his team two spots.
“It’s going to be real tight between fifth and sixth,’’ said King. “I think we might bump up to fifth; we’ll have to wait and see.
“This was a big game. I think we both felt the winner of this game would go five and the loser seven. More than anything, we just wanted to play well. I’m not sure we played well and I don’t think they played particularly well, either. But we both played hard. So I guess we’ll take that.’’
It was a struggle at times for either team to get any rhythm, which made every scoring chance vital.
That was clearly illustrated in the final minutes of the first half. Cheverus was awarded a corner kick but the ball was headed out by Dylan Truong of Gorham. Back came the Rams to put the pressure on Stags goalkeeper Charlie Mull, who had made a stunning save on Austin Bell just minutes earlier, leaping to tip his shot over the goal.
Gorham was awarded a corner kick with 22 seconds remaining. Andrew Schmidt sent the ball to the 18 where Cole Houghton took a hard shot that hit the bottom of the crossbar. The ball came right to Fotter, a freshman, and he put it back into the net with 4.8 seconds left.
“Yeah, we kind of hustled to get that corner off,’’ said King. “We got a good shot that hit off the crossbar. And we had Jackson waiting there to knock it in. You like those scrappy goals where somebody is where they’re supposed to be to knock it in.’’
Fotter said he was simply playing his position, stationed at the left corner of the 6-yard box. “I was on the keeper and came off him to try to hit it,’’ he said.
“We didn’t mark up,’’ said Bill LeBlanc, the coach of the Stags. “We didn’t have a sense of urgency in the last minute of the first half and they tucked one in.’’
Gorham’s defense took over from there, keeping the Stags to the outside for the most part.
Cheverus had a couple of opportunities but was never able to crack the Rams’ backs.
“We were just trying to get a good first touch, get the ball out,’’ said Matt Hooker of Gorham. “We try to make everything go to the outside, which we do well. If they get to the outside and get their shot off, we’re not too worried about it. Chances go down from the outside.’’
While King had hoped for his team to play better, he was happy to go into the playoffs on a win. “We don’t feel like we’ve been playing our best soccer the last couple of weeks,’’ he said. “So maybe this will get us jump-started a little bit.’’
The Stags, meanwhile, will enter Saturday’s preliminary round with consecutive losses.
“It’s unfortunate that we’ve had a little tailspin here at the end,’’ said LeBlanc. “But I’m sure the boys will circle the wagons and we’ll be fine.’’
Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at: