Cape Elizabeth junior Tiernan Lathrop tries to get past Scarborough senior Aidan Joyce during Saturday’s contest. The Red Storm eked out a 3-2 victory.

CAPE ELIZABETH—Scarborough’s boys’ soccer team let a two-goal lead slip away Saturday afternoon at Hannaford Field, but instead of lamenting it, the Red Storm went out and wrested it right back from host Cape Elizabeth in a rare, countable, inter-class showdown between the neighbors.

After a pair of nearly identical, gorgeous goals from sophomore Zander Haskell late in the first half, Scarborough appeared to have a stranglehold on the contest, but with 2:37 to go before halftime, the Capers got some life, as senior Egan Doherty won a ball in traffic and finished.

Early in the second half, on another goal that was gritty from a Cape Elizabeth perspective and ugly from the Red Storm’s point of view, junior Nic Boudreau finished off a corner kick and just like that, the contest was even.

But Scarborough wasn’t done scoring and with 18:31 left, senior Alan King served in a corner kick, got the ball back, then scored to put the Red Storm back on top.

And this time, Scarborough slammed the door and went on to a 3-2 victory.

The Red Storm swept two games from the Capers this fall, improved to 6-1-1 and in the process, ended Cape Elizabeth’s campaign at 2-5-1.

“I was really proud of the guys today,” said longtime Scarborough coach Mark Diaz, who now has 281 victories in his 22 years with the program. “On the road, giving up the two goals like that and losing momentum, coming back and answering the bell.”

Rare encounter

Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough High Schools are located just a few miles apart, but with the Capers residing in the Western Maine Conference and the Red Storm in the Southwestern Maine Activities Association, other than playoff encounters in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 Western A semifinals (all won by Scarborough), the teams didn’t meet in a countable game from Oct. 9, 2002 until Sept. 30 of this year, when the host Red Storm blanked the Capers, 2-0, behind goals from senior Zach Chaisson and Haskell.

That win started a strong season to date for Scarborough, which next blanked Bonny Eagle (1-0) and after tying host Gorham (1-1), won at South Portland (4-0). After a 2-0 home loss to Gorham, the Red Storm bounced back with a 3-0 victory at Bonny Eagle and Tuesday, blanked visiting South Portland (3-0).

Cape Elizabeth, meanwhile, began with a 2-0 home win over Greely, then fell at Scarborough (2-0), at home to defending Class B champion Yarmouth (4-0) and at reigning Class A champion Falmouth (2-1). After playing visiting Gorham to a 1-1 draw, the Capers fell at Greely (5-2), then bounced back last Saturday with a 5-2 victory at South Portland.

The teams were originally scheduled to play Friday night, but predicted poor weather moved it back to Saturday afternoon, which produced a pleasant setting (45 degrees at kickoff), as long as the sunshine lasted.

Cape Elizabeth sought its first win over Scarborough in 18 years, but instead, the Red Storm scored last.

Much of the first half was a story of near-misses.

Early on, Red Storm senior goalkeeper Peter O’Brien denied Capers junior Stewart Kelley, senior Dylan Hewitt’s low rocket sailed just wide, senior Nick Clifford missed just wide and Clifford set up junior Tiernan Lathrop for a header which went just wide.

Scarborough didn’t have much luck either, as a Haskell pass rolled through the goalmouth untouched, senior Jarod Glidden was robbed on the doorstep by Cape Elizabeth junior goalkeeper Quinn Gordon, junior Finn Pedersen had a sure goal taken away by a diving Gordon, Haskell’s rebound shot missed high and Pedersen and Haskell each were off-target on good looks.

Then, with 8:23 left in the first half, Stimson found Haskell, who got just enough space while moving to his right to fire a shot back toward the far post and despite a dive to his right by Gordon, the ball rolled into the net for a 1-0 lead.

“I see Zander running and we have a good connection,” said Stimson. “He’s always in the right spot. I have the easy part, pass him the ball, and he always finishes.”

Just over two minutes later, with 6:08 on the clock, the same combination produced a nearly identical goal, as Haskell snuck it just a little closer inside the post for a 2-0 advantage.

“(Ryan and I) just seem to work together really well and find the back of the net,” Haskell said. “I was just trying to go far corner.”

“Zander’s a special player,” Diaz said. “He’s unselfish. He doesn’t care who gets the glory.”

But just when it seemed Scarborough would hold a comfortable lead at the break, Cape Elizabeth answered and took momentum back.

With 2:37 on the clock, off a throw-in from the side by sophomore Sebastian Moon, Doherty managed to out-work several defenders to get to the ball, then blast it with his left foot past O’Brien to cut the deficit in half.

With just seconds remaining, Clifford nearly tied the score, but his blast sailed high and the Red Storm were still up, 2-1, at halftime, thanks in part to a 4-2 edge in shots on frame.

Scarborough had some chances to go back up by two early in the second half, but junior Nate Needle missed just wide, Haskell split two defenders then fired a shot which Gordon saved, King’s low blast on a free kick was saved by Gordon and senior Trevor Sandler had a shot blocked in the box.

Then, with 27:54 to go, off a corner kick, Boudreau willed his way to the ball and headed it past O’Brien to improbably tie the score, 2-2.

“That was a good lesson for us in the back,” Diaz said. “(Cape’s) big and strong on corners and we had to deal with it.”

Cape Elizabeth never had a look at the lead, however, as after Stimson had a shot saved by Gordon, the Red Storm earned a corner kick of their own which resulted in the winning goal.

With 18:36 on the clock, after King served the ball in, it was kicked out, but retrieved by Chaisson, who got it back to King, King then ripped a left-footed rocket that Gordon couldn’t stop and when the ball tickled the twine, Scarborough had a 3-2 lead.

“That ball was bobbling around and (Alan) just had to finish and seal the game,” said Haskell.

“(That) was a very nice finish, side netting,” Diaz said.

“One of the issues we’ve had this season is with not making decisions quickly enough in those types of situations,” lamented Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond. “Everybody tries to do too much sometimes, but we made way fewer mistakes tonight than in most of our games.”

The Capers hoped to answer again, but a long free kick from senior Gavin Simopoulos was saved by a leaping O’Brien and a final corner kick was cleared by the Red Storm defense.

Scarborough ran out the clock from there and celebrated its 3-2 victory.

“We let in an easy goal and that put us down a little bit, but we’re mentally tough though and we didn’t let up,” Stimson said. “We just stayed in the middle and kept them out wide.”

“We locked it down at the end,” Diaz said. “(Senior back) Aidan Joyce did a great job.”

The Red Storm out-shot the Capers, 10-5, on frame, and got three saves from O’Brien.

Cape Elizabeth took seven corner kicks to Scarborough’s six and Gordon made seven saves, but the Capers fell one goal short.

“I think our guys have played well against really outstanding competition,” Raymond said. “It’s good to play these types of teams and see how we measure up. I think it was a pretty even soccer game. Both teams had chances. They had two nice goals, then we scored and it wasn’t the prettiest. We had some great opportunities to get more. The kids should be really pleased with how they played tonight.

“I think things went pretty well this year. I’m happy we got this far. In a lot of ways, it was a great season. Having one game a week was great for practice purposes. We got to train more than any other year and the kids improved from the beginning to the end.”

High hopes

Cape Elizabeth will now look ahead to 2020.

“We lose 11 seniors,” said Raymond. “Gavin, Archie (McEvoy), Nick Clifford and Dylan are starters. Other guys played a lot. We lose a good bit, but we have a huge sophomore group that got a ton of experience in practice this year. They’ll be ready next year and understand what the expectations are. We have a good group of freshmen. Numbers are great. Good kids. Hopefully it will be a normal season.”

Scarborough will join Falmouth, Gorham and Windham in a four-team tournament next week. The Red Storm go to Windham Friday and if victorious, could meet up with reigning Class A champion Falmouth, or have a chance to avenge their blemishes to date at the hands of Gorham in the championship game the following week.

“I’m excited,” said Haskell. “We haven’t played Falmouth yet, so if we do, that would be a good test.”

“It’s definitely different this year, but getting to play and being around everyone still doing most of the stuff we did last year is great,” Stimson sad. “That will be fun next week.”

“Hopefully we can have a little fun,” Diaz added. “We’re excited to play some good teams. We’re lucky to still be playing.”

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

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