YARMOUTH — The thing that Yarmouth Coach Mike Hagerty treasures most is not a potential fourth straight Gold Ball on Saturday, nor the satisfaction of Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over York in the Class B South boys’ soccer championship game.

“I’m more excited,” Hagerty said in the gathering darkness Wednesday night, “about two more practices. This senior class we’ve known since they were 3 years old, and it’s really kind of fun to be able to hang out with them for two more days.”

One of those 14 Yarmouth seniors, midfielder Max Coury, postponed autumn’s inevitable end by curling a shot inside the far post for a tie-breaking goal, the only score of the second half.

The top-seeded Clippers (17-0) advance to the Class B state title game against either Winslow or Washington Academy on Saturday at Deering High.

No. 2 York finishes 14-3. All three losses came against Yarmouth, all decided by one goal.

“It hurts to lose,” Wildcats Coach Eric Martens said, “but to a team like that, I think we’ll look back on it and say, ‘Wow, they’re a good team.’ We really respect them.”

Eric Loomis set up Coury, who was moving horizontally near the top of the box. He couldn’t get his stronger right foot in position to shoot, so he took a chance with his left.

“I couldn’t really see,” Coury said. “I just kind of took a shot in the dark and I turned around and saw it go in.”

Coury, Hagerty said, is the type of player who often provides the pass that sets up the pass leading to a goal. In hockey, that counts as an assist. In soccer, it gets you appreciated by teammates and coaches.

“He finds pockets and corners,” Hagerty said. “His game is about movement and skill. It’s not about power, and I thought he slotted that nicely.”

More than 29 minutes remained in the contest, but instead of falling back into a defensive shell, the Clippers kept up the pressure on York and keeper Brett Smith, who kept the game close with several leaping stops. He finished with nine saves.

“They were really savvy the way they managed the game after that,” Martens said. “We were caught defending for most of it. It was tough to find a tactical decision that really counteracted what they were doing, because most of it was just individual skill that was beating us.”

Each team scored in the first half. Yarmouth went ahead 1-0 in the 20th minute when junior Eric LaBrie banged home the rebound of a shot from his brother, freshman Ian LaBrie, that had been blocked by York defender James Peter.

“It all started with Tahj (Garvey) pressing the defender in the corner,” Eric LaBrie said. “He somehow got the ball and kicked it to my brother.”

The carom came so quickly that LaBrie barely had time to react.

“I’m not even sure what happened,” he said. “All I know is it went off my knee and into the net.”

Five minutes later, Peter made it 1-1 on a 26-yard free kick from directly in front of the net. With dangerous Alex Nickerson on the left of the ball, Peter approached from the right and poked it just inside the left post.

“I didn’t see it until it was too late,” Clippers keeper Cal Owen said. “And even if I had seen it, I’m not sure I would have gotten to it. It was a great shot.”

Yarmouth had three good chances to go ahead before intermission, but a Garvey blast sailed high, Smith tipped Silas Chappell’s shot over the crossbar and a rocket from Luke Groothoff whizzed just wide of the right post.

One minute into the second half, Nickerson threatened with a cross from Zach Westman, but Owen raced out to intervene.

“That was probably the best save I had,” said Owen, who finished with four. “My backs set me up well by not giving him a clean look inside, so he wasn’t in complete control of the ball when he got inside, and I just had to handle the bouncing ball.”

Now only one game – and two practices – remain.

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