Yarmouth High won its eighth Class B boys’ soccer state championship Saturday. The Clippers also won the battle of emotions.

Patrick Grant’s first-half goal gave Yarmouth a 1-0 win over Ellsworth at Deering High’s Memorial Field in a game marred by the ejection of four Ellsworth players.

With 2:19 remaining, four Ellsworth players received red cards for after-whistle physical confrontations with Yarmouth players.

While Ellsworth players and then coaches came onto the field and the pushing and shoving came perilously close to escalating into a full-scale brawl, Yarmouth’s assistant coaches kept head coach Mike Hagerty and the Clipper reserves in check at their bench.

Hagerty said the ugly ending did not detract from his team’s triumph.

“Absolutely not,” Hagerty said. “In many ways I’m proud of the way the kids didn’t retaliate. I’m not sure if I was 16 and somebody punched me in the back of the head if I would be able to not punch back.

“I was really pleased with how our teammates grabbed one another and pulled them away, because that easily could have turned into more of a melee than it was.”

Ellsworth’s Brady White and Griffin Nightingale had spent much of the second-half trying to instigate retaliatory reactions from Yarmouth players, particularly going after star striker Adam LaBrie. LaBrie was already sporting a bloody lip suffered with 26 minutes remaining after a physical and verbal altercation with Kyle Golding. LaBrie said after the game he was punched.

White, Nightingale, Jared Whitney and Golding were ejected by head referee Larry Giddings, according to Ellsworth Coach Brian Higgins.

“It was a pretty rough game but there’s no excuse for what happened at the end,” Higgins said. “For our school, for the event, for Yarmouth and the fans, it was not very classy and we’re better than that, so I’m pretty disappointed.”

Playing 11-on-7 to finish the game, Yarmouth (14-2-2) played keep away until it could celebrate the school’s first title since 2010 – when senior standouts LaBrie, Ben Vigue, Connor Lainey, Garrett Flanagan and keeper Alex Lyon were eighth-graders. The Clippers beat Ellsworth 5-0 in the 2010 final.

“It was a dream come true,” Vigue said. “We played as a team. We played the whole game as a team. We worked hard all season for this and it was awesome.”

“They were trying to get me out of my game and I just wanted to play with my teammates,” LaBrie said.

Yarmouth’s goal came after LaBrie got a step behind the defense and then drove a tough-angle shot from the right. Ellsworth keeper Nicholas Bagley (five saves) made a sprawling save but was unable to hang onto the ball.

Grant had been running hard from midfield for just that type of opportunity.

“I read it and just ran down the left side and cut in and tried to time it, and I was there at the right time,” Grant said.

“I’ve never had anything like this in my entire life,” Grant said. “I’ve never played on a stage this big and it’s really something special.”

Ellsworth (16-1-1) put only two shots on Lyon. Its best bid came when defender Jeff Weeks dribbled from midfield and put a short shot into Lyon’s gut with just 5:40 to play. But Ellsworth had shown the ability to create some dangerous situations, especially when forwards Jack Weeks and Anthony Gardner were in possession.

The ability of Yarmouth defenders Flanagan and Walter Conrad to keep Gardner from attacking on the run was pivotal to the victory.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig

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