AUBURN – Waynflete took advantage of its strengths up front to remain in the race to defend its Class C boys soccer state championship.

The No. 3 Flyers scored twice in the final 19 minutes to pull out a 2-1 win against No. 2 St. Dominic Academy in a regional semifinal Saturday afternoon.

Waynflete (14-2-2) will play top-seeded Hall-Dale (15-0-1) for the regional title Wednesday at Farmingdale.

The Saints (14-1-1) led for more than 50 minutes before the Flyers rallied to the win.

“Hats off to St. Dom’s,” Waynflete coach Brandon Salway said. “They were a great team, and I thought they came out better than we did and put one in early and kind of put us on our heels.”

St. Dom’s kept the Flyers off the scoreboard for more than 60 minutes by playing hard-nosed defense and by having senior midfielder Zakary Johnson mark Peabo Knoth, who leads the Flyers in goals and assists.

“I’ve been man-marked before, but that is probably the best someone has ever been on me,” Knoth said. “I really didn’t play well, but other guys stepped up and that’s what it’s about.”

The Saints opened the scoring 8:39 into the game on Tyler Furtado’s team-high 28th goal.

Waynflete got off 13 shots in the first half, but the bulk of them came from well outside the penalty area and went wide or over the crossbar.

“We try to break (defenses) down and get behind them, but when they have that many guys back and there’s nobody behind them, you’re forced to take long shots. We had a lot of chances, but the chances we got weren’t good chances,” Salway said.

Taking advantage of restarts has been a key to the Waynflete offense this season. That didn’t change Saturday.

Mohammed Suja tied the score 22:01 into the second half when he headed in Kevin Kanankan’s corner kick from the left side for his eighth goal.

“Ultimately, in the playoffs, if you don’t get that second goal, it’s really dangerous,” St. Dom’s coach Marty Bressler said. “They just came back and took the momentum, and all they needed was that one goal.”

Clancy Mitchell, a sophomore forward, broke the tie with seven minutes left, putting in a wide-angle shot from the right side off a feed from Knoth. The goal followed an indirect kick from outside the penalty area.

“I saw Peabo going towards the goal, and I wanted to get outside of him,” Clancy said. “He did a little toe poke right to me. (I) looked up to the goal and saw far post was open and I just did my best to put it back there.”

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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