HAMPDEN — Falmouth High kicked Lewiston off the Class A boys’ soccer throne – with authority.

Gus Ford headed in a corner kick from Noah Piers just 49 seconds into the game to set the tone for a 5-2 win Saturday by the Yachtsmen in the state championship game at Hampden Academy.

“We knew they weren’t really stable in the back, so if we pressed the back we would get a turnover and then we would just go for the goal,” said Rion Dos Santos, who scored three goals.

Lewiston, which had won back-to-back state championships and three in four years, was making its fifth state final appearance in six years. For Falmouth (15-2-1), a former Class B power, it was the first trip to the Class A final.

But the Yachtsmen took the play right to Lewiston, consistently winning contested balls, outworking Lewiston along the sidelines to create chances, and doing a reasonably good job of bottling up Bilal Hersi, the 2018 Maine Gatorade Player of the Year.

“We respected them, but we (have) to play,” said Falmouth Coach Dave Halligan. “A lot of teams haven’t attacked them, so they’ve just been able to knock the ball around, and we just tried to pressure the ball all over the field to see how they’d react to that, because they’re not used to that.”

Halligan is 12 for 12 in state championship games with Falmouth, winning two in Class C (1996 and 1997) and nine in Class B (from 2000 to 2012) before the school moved up to Class A in 2013.

Falmouth built a 4-0 lead on three goals created by superior efforts from their wings.

Charlie Adams kept a ball alive and in play near the left post and got it to Ford, who did a 270-degree spin to his left to free himself for his second goal that made it 2-0 with 26:26 left in the first half.

“We had to get to the end line and then get it to the middle. We knew that was a way to score on this team,” Adams said.

Dos Santos’ first two goals came after similar hustle plays, first from Sam Gearan, and then freshman Mason Quiet (subbing in for Ford). Both worked the ball past a defender near the end line before making an on-target crossing pass. Dos Santos turned Gearan’s low pass into a shot that hit Lewiston keeper Yahya Heri in the chest and caromed into goal. Quiet’s cross resulted in a crisply struck header that Heri (seven saves) had no chance of stopping.

Lewiston got on the board with a penalty kick by Hersi with 3:32 to go in the first half. Falmouth had a 13-4 edge in shots and a 4-0 corner kick advantage in the first 40 minutes.

Throughout the game, Hersi was marked by senior captain Adrian Friedman, whose job was to keep the talented striker from turning. Friedman had help behind from Joe Dye, Cole Fairfield and Piers.

In the second half, Hersi got a rare opportunity to receive a ball with space and showed his skill by ripping a shot from distance that cut the lead to 4-2 with 30:32 remaining. But Dos Santos answered with a beautiful one-timer off a bounce 10 minutes later.

“I was told how hard they would go to the ball, and they did,” Lewiston Coach Mike McGraw said of Falmouth. “It took us by surprise. That’s how they got that first goal. We recovered in the second half and I thought we got things going in the second half, but that fifth goal took a little wind out of our sails.”

UPDATE: This story was updated at 12:49 p.m. on Nov. 11 to correct Falmouth’s first goal-scorer. It was Gus Ford.

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