FALMOUTH—Whether or not it was the final game of the season is yet to be determined.

What is certain is that the Falmouth-Gorham boys’ soccer showdown Thursday evening at Falmouth’s turf field was wild, wacky and unforgettable.

Something had to give, as neither team had lost a game when the contest began and when junior Mason Farr produced an early goal, it appeared the Yachtsmen, who beat the Rams in last year’s Class A South Final, were en route to another victory.

But they weren’t and that was just the beginning of a zany story.

Gorham drew even in the final minute of the first half, as sophomore Cole Bishop scored on a one-timer in traffic.

Neither team scored in the second half and after one five-minute, “sudden victory” overtime session didn’t even produce a shot, the final minute of the second and final OT made heads turn and jaws drop.

First, with 27 seconds left, the Rams earned a penalty kick, but missed.

Then, Falmouth transitioned to offense like only it can and sophomore Charlie Adams appeared to score a split second before the horn, but the goal was waved off and it appeared the contest would go in the books as a tie.

Instead, the coaches and officials agreed to hold a round of penalty kicks, as Falmouth and Gorham are part of a season-ending four-team tournament along with Scarborough and Windham and a winner needed to be determined.

Each team made its first four shots in the five-shot PK round and Rams senior Michal Darasz converted as well, but the Yachtsmen weren’t able to make their final shot and Gorham survived and prevailed, 2-1 (5-4 on PKs).

Falmouth fell to 7-1-1 on the season while the Rams improved to 7-0-2.

Rest assured, this one won’t soon be forgotten.

“It was a crazy game, a crazy ending,” said Gorham first-year coach Nick Viola. “I haven’t been part of one like that before. Everything has been different this year. I’m just happy the guys have had an opportunity to play.”

Unlike last year

Last year, on Nov. 5, Falmouth and Gorham squared off in the Class A South Final in Biddeford and the Yachtsmen, behind goals from Macklin Williams and Rion Dos Santos, prevailed, 2-1, en route to their first Class A state title.

The teams met again Thursday, again on Nov. 5, but under different circumstances, as there is no traditional postseason tournament this year due to COVID-19 restrictions on high school athletics.

Each squad has accomplished enough this fall to suggest they could have made a title run.

Gorham blanked its first two foes, Bonny Eagle (4-0) and Windham (1-1), then settled for 1-1 draws against Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth. After blanking Bonny Eagle again (6-0), the Rams handed Scarborough a 2-0 setback, then shut out Cheverus (6-0).

The Yachtsmen, meanwhile, opened by doubling up host Portland (4-2), then, after downing visiting Yarmouth, 1-0, settled for a 2-2 draw at Greely and defeated visiting Cape Elizabeth (2-1) before giving longtime coach Dave Halligan his 400th victory with the program, 3-0, at Brunswick. Falmouth then beat the Clippers again, this time by an even more decisive score of 3-0 at Yarmouth, blanked visiting Greely (5-0) and last week, held off visiting Brunswick (2-1).

Thursday, there was little separation between the teams and more (much more) than 80 minutes were necessary to determine a winner.

In the ninth minute, Farr broke the ice, making a nice move before shooting past Gorham senior goalkeeper Garrett Smith for a quick 1-0 lead.

Falmouth figured to add to it, but a Farr feed to senior Gus Ford was broken up and Farr missed just wide.

The Rams then drew even with 42.3 seconds on the first half clock, as Bishop got the ball in the box and in traffic, one-timed a shot past Yachtsmen senior goalkeeper Tanner Daniels to tie it up, 1-1.

Each team had chances to go on top in the second half, but wound up empty.

After Falmouth senior Cole Fairfield missed just wide with a header off a corner kick, Daniels saved a pair of shots off the foot of Gorham senior Matthew Phinney.

With 21:50 to go, Daniels robbed Rams junior Connor Callahan.

Six minutes later, Farr missed wide.

With 12:10 remaining, off a Yachtsmen corner kick, senior Sam Gearan headed the ball wide.

Neither team had a good look from there and it was on to overtime.

Neither squad managed a shot in the first five-minute OT, so one more was needed.

With 1:45 left, Falmouth had a corner kick and the ball deflected out to Farr, who fired a rocket which Smith managed to save.

Then, at the other end, a shot from Gorham junior Colin Albert was ruled to have hit a Yachtsmen defender’s hand in the box and the Rams earned a penalty kick, which most on hand expected would bring an end to the festivities.

Instead, the festivities were just beginning.

Junior Kyle Landry did the honors, but he put too much air under the ball and it sailed over the crossbar to keep the game going.

Falmouth then made one final push and Adams raced down the right side, turned the corner on a defender and buried a shot into the far corner either a split second before or after the horn sounded.

Depending on who you asked.

The Yachtsmen celebrated, thinking the game was over, but the officials emphatically ruled the horn sounded before the ball found the net.

Not surprisingly, Halligan didn’t see it that way.

“I thought (the shot) was in time,” Halligan said. “It hit the post and went in and the buzzer went off. I don’t think the referees wanted to decide the game there.”

The teams then saluted each other (due to COVID-19 restrictions, teams are eschewing postgame handshakes this fall) and the referees prepared to leave the field, but after consulting with the coaches, it was determined that the game needed resolution and it was on to penalty kicks, as each team takes turn shooting five times and the squad that makes more is victorious.

Halligan inserted junior Sean MacDonald into goal for the PK round.

“Sean is quick, but it’s a difficult position to put him in because we hadn’t practiced that,” Halligan said.

Gorham went first and Phinney beat MacDonald low to the goalie’s left.

Gearan then answered with a high shot to Smith’s left.

After junior Curan Bassingthwaite converted for the Rams, to MacDonald’s left, Dos Santos scored on a similar shot for the Yachtsmen.

Landry then avenged his earlier miss by beating the goalie with a low shot just inside the post, but senior Willie Parker answered for Falmouth.

Smith then took a shot for Gorham and converted and Farr followed and made his shot just inside the right post to tie it again.

Darasz took the Rams’ final shot and while MacDonald guessed that he’d shoot low, Darasz shot high and into the net to leave it up to Yachtsmen senior standout Gus Ford.

Ford missed his shot high, however, and just like that, it was over.

Gorham had won on PKs, 5-4, and on the scoreboard, 2-1.

“This team has shown resiliency all year,” said Viola. “We lost a lot of seniors last year and these guys had big expectations. A lot of guys stepped up. We haven’t dropped a game yet and that’s something they’re proud of. Defensively, we’ve been excellent. Tonight was an overall great performance. I’m proud of them.”

Falmouth tasted defeat for the first time since last year’s regular season finale, against Portland.

“What happened is we had chances and we didn’t put them away and you can’t let a good team like that stick around,” Halligan said. “They were motivated from last year, I’m sure.

One more?

Scarborough and Windham are scheduled to meet in the other semifinal of the four-team tournament Friday, but there is serious concern that Cumberland County will receive a yellow designation from the state tomorrow, which would end the season prematurely.

If games are given the OK to continue, Gorham will meet the Scarborough-Windham winner for the title, while the Red Storm-Eagles loser will meet Falmouth.

Those games would be either Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Regardless of when the season ends, it’s been a huge success for both teams and both Falmouth and Gorham will be favorites to win the title if life returns to normal by fall, 2021.

“These two teams have been rivals for a long time and it will stay that way,” Viola said. “We lose a good amount, but we always have good kids coming through, so we’ll be fine next year.”

“We’ve had nine tough games,” Halligan said. “No easy games. Down the road, that will help us. This is part of a two-year process. The seniors did a great job focusing and treating it like a real season. I have to give them credit because some other programs treated it like an intramural season. They worked hard every day. We lose 10 seniors, seven starters. Some of them are three-year, four-year starters. Where they took this team from their freshman year, they took us back where I think we belong.”

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

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