The longer Scarborough kept the Class A boys’ soccer championship game scoreless against Lewiston’s dynamic attack Saturday, the more one thing became apparent:

One play would make the difference.

It came with 16:32 remaining. Maulid Abdow of Lewiston uncorked one of his front hand-spring flip throws that went beyond the clogged action in front of goalie Cameron Nigro and bounced off Scarborough’s Matt Caron into the goal.

Lewiston had what it needed for a 1-0 win and its first boys’ soccer championship in front of a Fitzpatrick Stadium crowd estimated between 4,000 and 4,500.

“I had a feeling that we were going to get one of these (throw-ins) in and it happened to be that one,” Abdow said.

The Blue Devils, ranked 22nd in the latest USA Today/National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, finished a perfect 18-0 season with a 114-7 scoring margin.

Lewiston’s dominance on the field, combined with the dramatic story behind its diverse roster, has drawn significant media attention. Six nationalities are represented, including eight players who grew up in a Somalia refugee camp in Kenya before immigrating to the United States.

“As a captain I told the team all season long, that (attention) will not help us play better, that will not make us a better team,” Abdi Shariff-Hassan said. “So we just put that on the side. It was good for us that we had the national ranking, but we didn’t let that take our attention away. We just focused on what we were doing.”

Mike McGraw, coaching his 33rd season at Lewiston, said his team learned from last year’s state final loss to Cheverus and used that defeat to add focus to offseason training.

“My seniors, the leaders that I have, those guys wanted it so badly,” McGraw said. “They played a lot. Some of them devoted themselves to getting into the weight room to get better. They paid more attention to their travel league coaches. They did what they had to do to make sure they were better.”

Scarborough (15-1-2) employed a defense-first 4-5-1 formation and contested every possible play. The plan, Coach Mark Diaz said, was to make it a one-goal game and hope it was the Red Storm who would capitalize on an opportunity.

“We had a couple of chances, not as many as we’d like,” Diaz said. “Lewiston’s a great team and they certainly deserve to be a champion. We were hoping to catch a few breaks.”

“That’s probably one of the best teams I’ve ever seen in my life,” Caron said. “They just move on the ball and off the ball so well, and we had a system in play and it pretty much worked out the whole time. We just got unlucky and one of those throws went off of me and went in.”

Caron scored a regional final goal against Cheverus in similar fashion when his own powerful throw went through the keeper’s hands.

“It is a little ironic but just an unlucky play. They were all over us the whole game. A couple of bounces go our way, maybe we get a goal and we hold down the fort,” Caron said.

Scarborough came close to scoring first midway through the second half when Noah Stracqualursi blasted a short-range shot that Lewiston keeper Austin Wing handled. On its path to Wing, the ball appeared to hit a slightly outstretched Lewiston elbow.

Overall, Lewiston had significant statistical advantages in shots (17-7), shots on goal (10-2) and corner kicks (10-2). In the second half, the polish of players like Shariff-Hassan and Abdulkarim Abdulle in the midfield began to create more chances, but Shariff-Hassan could tell scoring a pretty goal was unlikely.

“Set pieces were the only things that we could score on because both teams had very good defenders,” Shariff-Hassan said. “Both teams were very skilled, with good players, and it just came down to working hard and waiting for your chance to come.”

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