READFIELD — When Maranacook needed him most, Mitch Root was in the right place at the right time.

Having subbed back in just seconds earlier, Root followed up Aric Belanger’s header off the crossbar, firing home a shot late in the second overtime to lift top-seeded Maranacook to a 2-1 win over Waynflete in a Class C South boys’ soccer semifinal Saturday night at Ricky Gibson Field of Dreams.

Connor Stockwell’s corner kick from the right side found Belanger, whose header had Waynflete keeper Max Winson cleanly beat. But as it rang off the crossbar, Root never stopped following the ball. His sure-footed strike lifted Maranacook (15-1) into its first regional final since 2014.

“Aric made a great header and I was there for the rebound,” said Root. “It went to my feet and I one-timed it in. I’m speechless.

“Coach always tells us to look at the next play and not focus on the last one.”

The Black Bears felt like their conditioning was a factor.

“I work them to death, and that’s really where it paid off,” Maranacook Coach Don Beckwith said. “Composure. Young kids in a good spot. It’s all good.”

Maranacook led 1-0 until late in the second half, thanks to Richard Down’s goal in the 25th minute. Down, a junior, scored his third goal in two playoff games by fighting through traffic in front.

Waynflete, with a dangerous counterattack that found its legs in the second half, equalized in the 67th minute on a goal by senior midfielder Christian Brooks. Brooks evaded the wall to the short side with his free kick from about 30 yards, and keeper Ryan Worster was unable to field it cleanly as the ball skipped through his grasp.

The Flyers carried the play through the remainder of regulation. Ilyas Abdi had two glorious chances to send Waynflete to the regional final, but Worster turned him away in the 80th minute, and Abdi’s hard shot in the first overtime smacked off the crossbar.

“You’re going to have moments,” Beckwith said. “You’re going to have peaks and valleys through games. We’ve talked about fighting through those for years. You’ve got to fight through the valleys and enjoy the peaks.

“We’re going to enjoy this peak.”

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