BIDDEFORD—It might take Yarmouth’s boys’ soccer team a little while to hit its offensive stride, but once the Clippers get things going, the end result is something to behold.

Wednesday afternoon in the Class B South Final at Waterhouse Field, top-ranked Yarmouth found itself down a goal at halftime to upset-minded, third-seeded Greely, but once the second half began, so did the Clippers’ scoring parade.

Senior Aidan Melville scored midway through the first half to put the Rangers on top, but 2 minutes, 8 seconds into the second half, senior Will Nicholas tied it up.

Then, the game changed for good with 24:56 remaining, as junior Evan Von Lonkhuyzen played a long ball into the box, Greely senior defensive standout Chris Theodores and senior goalkeeper Schuyler Wetmore collided and junior Cam Merrill was there to clean up the loose ball and finish to put Yarmouth on top for good.

The Clippers weren’t finished, as senior Alejandro Coury put it out of reach with 17:19 on the clock, senior John Clinton scored three minutes later and with 59 seconds remaining, sophomore Aidan Kann scored to put the finishing touches on a 5-1 victory.

Yarmouth improved to 14-0-3, ended the Rangers’ fine season at 10-3-4 and advanced to take on Caribou (15-0-2) in the Class B state final Saturday at 10 a.m., at Falmouth High School.

“Greely’s a very good team, but our kids had a great effort,” said longtime Clippers’ coach Mike Hagerty. “They were unselfish moving the ball. They really wanted to get back (to states).”

Respect

Greely and Yarmouth have been rivals for years, but until 2013, the teams weren’t in the same class for the postseason.

That year, the Rangers upset the Clippers, 2-1, in the regional final and the teams played again in the 2014 regional final (a 4-2 Yarmouth win), 2015 semifinals (a 3-1 Clippers’ victory) and 2016 semifinals (a 3-2, come-from-behind overtime win for Yarmouth). The winner of each of those games went on to capture the Gold Ball.

This season, both squads have risen to the occasion time and again.

The Clippers started with a 3-1 home win over York, then blanked host Lake Region (7-0), host Cape Elizabeth (1-0), visiting Greely (4-0), host Freeport (1-0) and visiting North Yarmouth Academy, the defending Class D champion (8-0). After a 9-1 home win over Fryeburg Academy, Yarmouth blanked visiting Poland (7-0), host York (3-0) and visiting Cape Elizabeth (3-0). After settling for a 1-1 home tie against Freeport, the Clippers played host Greely to a 1-1 draw, then did the same thing at Gray-New Gloucester, before closing with a 3-0 win at defending Class C champion Waynflete.

Yarmouth had little trouble with No. 8 Gray-New Gloucester in the quarterfinal round, winning, 4-0, then got a battle from No. 4 Freeport in Saturday’s semifinals, but a first half penalty kick from senior Liam Ireland and a second half goal from Coury produced a 2-0 victory, sending the Clippers to their 10th regional final in 12 years.

The Rangers, meanwhile, edged visiting Cape Elizabeth (3-2) to start, then settled for a 2-2 home draw versus Freeport. After a 4-0 loss at Yarmouth, the Rangers handled host Fryeburg Academy, 5-1, handed visiting Waynflete its first loss, 1-0, then held off visiting Gray-New Gloucester (2-1). After a 2-2 tie at Cape Elizabeth and a 1-1 draw at Freeport, Greely blanked visiting Wells, 11-0, then settled for a 1-1 home tie with Yarmouth. The Rangers closed with wins at Lake Region (3-1), at home over York (7-1) and at Gray-New Gloucester (1-0) before falling, 2-1, in overtime, at York.

Greely blanked No. 11 Fryeburg Academy, 3-0, in the quarterfinals, then got a second half goal from Melville to beat No. 7 York, 1-0, in Saturday’s semifinal round to punch its ticket to the regional final for the first time in five years.

The teams had split six all-time playoff meetings and Yarmouth was 12-0-2 in its last 14 games against the Rangers.

Wednesday, on a chilly early-November afternoon (the kickoff temperature was 49 degrees, but it plunged from there), Greely got off to a promising start, but Yarmouth unleashed its full arsenal in an emphatic second half effort.

The Clippers dominated possession the first 15 minutes and had three corner kicks, but produced just one shot, a header from senior Aidan Hickey which Wetmore saved in the third minute.

The Rangers then tilted the field and after having a corner kick headed out, Greely took the lead with 20:07 remaining in the first half.

Off a free kick from senior Silas Cunningham, Yarmouth senior goalkeeper Isaac Owen came out to handle the ball, but couldn’t cradle it as he made contact with an attacker and with the ball sitting free, Melville pounced and after lining up his shot, he sent it into the net for a 1- 0 lead.

“After that goal, I would say there was less concern and more disappointment,” said Yarmouth senior back and captain John D’Appolonia. “That goal, there may have been a foul that wasn’t called. It was unlucky, but we still had time to get a goal and we wound up getting five.”

“Our goalie knows to punch those balls out,” Hagerty said. “He tried to make a catch instead and they made a good play and it happens. They had one good chance in the first half and they scored.”

The Clippers hoped to equalize before halftime and had a great opportunity with 18:44 left, as Ireland served in a corner kick which Hickey headed toward the left post, but Wetmore dove and made the save.

With 8:57 left, Ireland had a shot from the top of the box blocked.

With 3:45 on the clock, off a free kick from Ireland, senior Jason Lainey headed the ball just wide.

The last chance came with 1:59 to go, but sophomore Steve Fulton’s header off a Hickey throw was saved by Wetmore and the game went to the break with Greely up one.

Yarmouth had a 3-2 edge in shots and a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks, but Wetmore stopped all three shots he saw to keep the Rangers in the lead.

All Yarmouth

The Clippers came out with renewed energy to begin the second half and a minute in, off a corner kick, Lainey sent a shot off the crossbar and Clinton’s rebound bid sailed high.

“I was a little frustrated, but I tried to keep my head in it,” Clinton said.

Yarmouth kept the pressure on and Coury won the ball, sent it over to Nicholas and Nicholas drilled the ball past Wetmore and into the net to tie it, 1-1, with 37:52 to go.

“We were concerned (at halftime), but we’ve come back a lot this season,” Nicholas said. “One of our strengths is getting our energy back and keeping going. It was a little bit of a scrum in the middle and Alejandro came out with it on the right side. I just came up the left side and tapped it in.”

“When we tied it, I felt a lot better,” D’Appolonia said. “The game could still go either way, but we just had to play as hard as we could.”

“We scored quick and that helped a ton,” Hagerty added. “We knew our weak-side runs were on. We have good dribblers and they draw attention and that shrinks the field. The backdoor run Will scored on was open in the first half too. He played outside back on that and finished that nice run.”

Greely got one chance to answer, as with 31:23 remaining, junior Chase Cornwall had a look, but he missed wide.

The rest of the game belonged completely to the Clippers.

With 24:56 left, Yarmouth went on top for good and the goal was costly for the Rangers in more ways than one.

The play began innocuously enough, as Van Lonkhuyzen sent a long ball out of the back into the box. Merrill, Wetmore and Theodores all converged on it, there was a collision and Merrill got the best of it, as both Theodores and Wetmore hit the turf and Merrill was able to send the ball in for a 2-1 lead.

“It was a great build-up from the back,” Merrill said. “Evan had a great ball to me. I tried to get it from the defenders and they dropped in front of me and I had a nice little tap-in. I made a little contact (with Theodores), but that’s the game of soccer.”

“Theodores is one of the best center-backs in our conference and we wanted to put him under pressure so other things could happen,” Hagerty said. “Cam just put him under so much pressure I don’t think he heard the goalie call for it. That was a nasty collision. Good for Cam to have the composure to finish and not get a foul.”

On the play, Theodores suffered a head injury and left the game for the duration. Wetmore came out as well, but immediately returned.

The tide had turned for good, however.

With Greely unable to answer, Yarmouth got some breathing room, as after sophomore Steve Fulton just missed a blast with his left foot, a nice run from D’Appolonia moved the ball into the Rangers’ defensive end and after D’Appolonia passed to Merrill, Merrill fed Coury for a left-footed blast that Wetmore couldn’t stop and with 17:19 remaining, the lead was 3-1.

“That was cool because I’m not a scorer,” D’Appolonia said. “I’ve scored one goal in my high school career. I’m not looking for that, but it was fun to participate in a goal.”

“We all needed to have John’s energy,” Hagerty said. “He was on fire and we needed to channel that. He affected the game without scoring a goal.

“One of the things we talked about when we changed our formation in the second half, we knew we’d open up more space for Alejandro in the midfield. In the first half, he and Liam were too close to each other. They’re so good and they draw extra defenders so there’s no room. We told Alejandro in the second half, you’ll have more space and shoot from the outside. That was a great hit with his left foot.”

The fourth goal came with 14:34 on the clock and featured a gorgeous passing sequence.

Ireland got things started by passing to Coury, who got the ball to junior Will Dickinson, who passed to Clinton, who one-touched the ball into the net for a 4-1 advantage.

“It was just a good passing play and I was able to finish it,” Clinton said. “Luckily, I was in the right spot at the right time.”

“We have a lot of talent and when we play on the ground and we pass, I don’t think there’s any team in the state that can beat us,” Nicholas said.

Both teams substituted liberally down the stretch, but the Clippers weren’t done.

With 59 seconds remaining, Kamm showed some nice footwork, then finished unassisted to put it away.

At 5:47 p.m., the final horn sounded and Yarmouth celebrated its 5-1 victory.

“At halftime, Coach talked to us and we got our heads on straight and after that, we really turned it around,” said Merrill.

“We knew we had it in us and we put in the extra effort in the second half,” Clinton said.

“We just talked about calming down,” added Hagerty. “We thought we were the better team in the first half and we made a couple adjustments. We pushed more numbers forward and played our game. There was no need for panic with 40 minutes left.”

The Clippers enjoyed an 8-2 advantage in shots on frame, got one save from Owen and had a 6-2 edge in corner kicks.

Yarmouth didn’t surrender a single shot on frame in the second half.

“Our defense has been strong all year long,” D’Appolonia said. “It starts with the strikers. They press quickly and high and that prevents long balls over the top which challenge us and they have to end up building around us. The whole team has been able to defend.”

Nothing but respect

Greely, which got three saves from Wetmore, could only tip its cap to Yarmouth’s second half dominance.

“Two things didn’t go in our favor tonight,” said longtime Greely coach Mike Andreasen. “Number one, we scored too early and the second thing was Chris Theodores got hurt. We were down a goal and had to go to a 3-5-2 (formation) and the center of that formation is Chris Theodores. Not having him really threw us, but we looked disjointed even coming out of halftime.

“Regardless, Yarmouth’s good. Whether Chris gets hurt or not, they were a better team than us tonight. They’re deep. They have stars everywhere. Even our first half lead was tenuous. They had the better run of play. I’m sad because the season ended, but you see a team put on a second half performance like that and it’s pretty hard to refute that. They’re the gold standard right now in Class B soccer. This team’s as deep as they’ve had. If you lose, you want to lose to the best team and they’re the best team.

“We had a really good season. We had games where we stubbed our toe, but we played really good soccer. To beat a great team you have to play great and we weren’t great tonight.”

Another Gold Ball?

Yarmouth has won 11 championships outright and shared another in 1989 with Ellsworth. The Clippers, who have lost just once in a state game, will go for title No. 13 against a Caribou squad which has yet to lose this season. The teams have no playoff history, but they did meet in a preseason tournament which Yarmouth won decisively.

“It’s awesome to do this senior year,” said D’Appolonia. “We want to end on a high note. Our heads are high. We’re optimistic and we’re hoping for a good game Saturday.”

“If we play our game, I don’t think we have to worry,” Nicholas said. “We just have to keep doing what we’re doing.”

“I think we just have to look at (Caribou) like they’re Greely or Cape,” Merrill said.

“It’s nice to go back to states,” Clinton said. “We just have to play our game and do the simple things well.”

“Caribou didn’t have their whole team last time, so I think it will be closer,” Hagerty added. “I like to think we’re making a claim for not just the best team in Class B, but the whole state.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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