SCARBOROUGH – After losing a 1-0 heartbreaker to Windham in the Western Class A boys soccer championship game last October, Scarborough had to wait 11 months for its chance at revenge.

Last Saturday night, they got it.

The Red Storm scored just 2:29 into the game and added another four minutes later as they blitzed the Eagles in the first 20 minutes of the much-anticipated rematch. The hosts added a third near the end of the first half and another in the opening stages of the second for a dominating 4-0 statement victory.

As the final seconds wound down and the clock reached zero, the buzzer set off a joyous celebration on the Scarborough (7-0-2) bench not characteristic of a regular-season win for a program used to getting plenty of them. This win, visibly, meant a bit more.

“It was a big game,” Scarborough senior Austin Downing said. “We did remember last year, so it was important.”

While the loss last October might have been on his player’s minds, Scarborough coach Mark Diaz said the victory was all about the present, not the past.

“I know some of the players who played last year think about it, but they’re different, we’re different, it wasn’t some sort of revenge game,” he said. “We’re just trying to win games and get better. That’s all we tried to do tonight.”

Scarborough came out of the gates already at full speed, and created a corner just two minutes in. Trevor Sparda’s cross fell right to Downing, who was able to push the ball across the goal line for the surprisingly quick opener.

“It was a corner and I tried to head it in. Didn’t hit it great but it came right to my feet and I was able to put it in the back of the night,” said Downing, who sprinted to his bench at other end of the field to celebrate. “I was just fired up because it was a big game, whatever I can do to help my team, that’s what I’m going to do.”

The Storm had even more reason to celebrate four minutes later, when a Downing shot from just outside the box redirected, falling to Wyatt Omsberg in front of goal. The midfielder coolly slotted the ball past Eagles goalkeeper Tyler Connors, and the lead was doubled.

“That’s what I like about this group, we talked about that – staying hungry no matter what the score is and keeping the pressure on, and we’re starting to figure it out a little bit,” Diaz said. “We know how good Windham is and we just came out, got those two goals and I think that set up the whole game.”

Scarborough could have had a third at the 24-minute mark when Sam Cekada slipped in behind the defense, but he could only push his left-footed shot right at Connors.

The Storm did get the third score with 6:42 left in the half when Sparda put a cross right on to the head of Omsberg. The towering midfielder did the rest, leaping over his mark and sending a beautiful looping header just over the outstretched hand of Connors and just under the cross bar for a 3-0 lead at half.

While Scarborough laid siege to the Windham (6-2-0) net, Storm keeper Pat Stanton had to make just one save in the opening 40 minutes.

“I think they just came ready to play, obviously getting an early goal builds some confidence,” Windham coach Colin Minte said. “They were hungry, they were proactive and we were reactive and they just put it to us in the first 15-20 and just outplayed us and outworked us.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a game where we really just got manhandled for the first 20 minutes, they came out flying and we just weren’t ready for it.”

Scarborough started the second half much as it had the first, and the fourth and final goal came just 4:13 in, with Sparda again on the set up. The senior winger put a cross into the dangerous area of the box that Windham backup keeper Thomas McGowan spilled. Kenny Hodgson was there to pick up the scraps in front of an empty net to complete the scoring.

Windham’s best chance of the game came on a corner with three minutes left, when a scramble in front of Stanton ended with the ball being cleared off the goal line.

For the defending state champions, who beat the Red Storm twice last season and came in riding a six-game winning streak, it was a sobering loss.

“ I don’t think they’re 4-0 better than us, but today there’s no doubt in my mind they were the better team,” Minte said. “Most importantly they’ll just remember the feeling they walked off with after this game, and they’ll be reminded of that going forward. You can’t take away a lot of positives, but you can learn a lot, so we’ll see what happens.”

For Scarborough, a big monkey is now off its back. With a relatively easy four-game run in to the playoffs, the Red Storm now look the favorites to again lock up the No. 1 seed, and home-field advantage, for the postseason.

“It’s starting to come together, and when you can do well against a team of that caliber, it certainly gives you confidence,” Diaz said. “Makes you feel good, you know you can do it, so we just have to build on this.”

Windham midfielder Spencer Hodge and Scarborough midfielder Kenny Hodgson run for the ball near the touchline late in the first half.
Windham defender Christian Hewitt brings the ball out of his end as Scarborough forward Austin Downing tries to track him down late in the first half. 

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