SACO — Thornton Academy’s eight-game, four-week string of strong play ran into a road block on Thursday, and it came against the SMAA’s top team. Undefeated Scarborough got ahead early in the late-season boys soccer clash, then a heavy downpour finished off the Trojans in a 4-0 defeat at Hill Stadium.

Noah Stracqualursi scored a pair of goals amidst some light rain during the first 15 minutes. A few minutes later, the heavy rains came, which sunk Thornton (7-3-3).

“Scarborough outplayed us today. They were definitely the better side from the get-go. I don’t think the game was really in doubt at any point,” said Thornton head coach Andy Carlson. “ I think from the opening whistle, they were much more into the game; they played with a lot more energy.”

“It just came down to we got a couple bounces go our way in the first half,” said Scarborough head coach Mark Diaz. “The first 20 minutes the rain really wasn’t much of a factor. Of course when it got bad, the play got bad on both sides, I thought quite sloppy.”

Though the game was played on artificial field turf, the rain made any kind of consistent play nonexistent, and that spilled over into players from both teams failing to keep level heads. Playing from behind, that made that task at hand nearly impossible for the Trojans.

“I don’t know if we ever had a chance to compete,” said Carlson. “Scarborough is disciplined. Coach Diaz has them well-prepared. They play with a lot of confidence.

“They’re a thoroughbred, and maybe we’re an up-and-coming yearling, if you want to use a horse analogy. Yearlings sometimes can play above themselves, but maybe eventually they come back to earth. A high-caliber, championship team even in less than desirable conditions can play well.”

“That was the first time we had played in that type of weather, and Thornton is a quality team,” said Diaz. “In that sense, yeah, it was a big win for us, to know that we can play in those types of conditions.”

Garrett King added a goal before half for the Red Storm (12-0-1) to all but put the game away, and Sam Ware scored on a penalty kick in the second half to put the final nail in the coffin.

It was a far cry from the Thornton team that 6-1-1 in its previous eight games, including wins over Cheverus, Portland and Marshwood and a draw against Gorham.

“We’ve been playing some hard games lately. And maybe our hard work and our fatigue maybe caught up to us in terms of our fitness level and our execution and our commitment,” said Carlson. “I think our hearts were in it, I just don’t think our bodies were in it.”

Despite the lopsided score, Carlson saw some positives in the defensive end, which has been the difference for Thornton when it was playing well.

“I thought defensively, our central guys played really well. Noah Niles and Simon Belliveau played really well. Dalton Moore played really well. Alex Arnold turned in another good game,” Carlson said. “But I don’t know if collectively we played good enough on defense.”

The Trojans have one game left in their regular season ”“ a home game against non-playoff bound Massabesic at home on Tuesday ”“ before the playoffs begin next Friday. Carlson said he hopes the team that won six straight shows up a week from now rather than the one that was drowned by a dominant Red Storm squad.

“We’ll see if we’ll bounce back. I think the guys are pretty veteran; I don’t think they’re going to let this faze them. We know what we need to do. We know how to do it. We’ve done it,” said Carlson. “I think this is hopefully a blip.”

— Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.

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