Falmouth 6 Scarborough 5

F- 1 0 4 1- 6
S- 3 0 0 2- 5

First period
9:54 S F. Pedersen (unassisted)
9:02 S Fogarty (unassisted)
5:51 F Mitton (Allan)
4:53 S F. Pedersen (Carlista)

Second period
No scoring

Third period
9:08 F Barnard (unassisted)
8:22 F Grenier (Mitton)
3:06 F Skillin-Lanou (unassisted)
1:20 F Allan (unassisted)

Fourth period
7:34 S F. Pedersen (Rumelhart)
6:45 F Mitton (unassisted)
6:33 S O. Pedersen (Rumelhart)

F- Mitton 2, Allan, Barnard, Grenier, Skillin-Lanou 1
S- F. Pedersen 3, Fogarty, O. Pedersen 1


F-Allan, Mitton 1
S- Rumelhart 2, Carlista 1

Faceoffs (Scarborough, 10-5)
F- G. Guerrette 5 of 10
S- Rumelhart 10 of 15

Ground balls:
F- 27
S- 32

F- 18
S- 13

F- 26
S- 45

Shots on cage:
F- 16
S- 22

F (Noyes) 17
S (Kerbel) 10

SCARBOROUGH—Falmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team hears the talk.

That it’s playing a supporting role in Class A and even if it again captures the North Region and makes it to the state final, that it will take a back seat to one of the highly touted teams from the South.

Well, the Navigators have other ideas.

They believe they can be the last team standing and Thursday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, they made a statement at Scarborough, one of those aforementioned South Region powers.

Even if it didn’t start out that way.

The Red Storm shot to a quick 3-1 lead behind a pair of goals from senior Finn Pedersen, but behind junior goalie Drew Noyes, Falmouth didn’t allow another goal until the fourth quarter.

The Navigators then kicked their offense into gear in the third period, pulling even on a goal from senior Xavier Grenier, then going ahead to stay when classmate Rory Skillin-Lanou scored.

Falmouth took a 5-3 lead to the final stanza and while Scarborough twice pulled within a goal, the Navigators were able to close it out and earn a huge dose of confidence with a 6-5 victory.

Five different players scored and Noyes made 17 critical saves as Falmouth won its fifth game in a row, closed the regular season  at 9-3 and in the process, dropped the Red Storm to 9-3.

“It wasn’t pretty to start,” said Navigators coach Dave Barton. “You don’t want to spot a team like that a 3-1 lead, but I’m super-proud. It’s a tough group. They love playing together.”

Playoff tune-up

Falmouth has been to the Class A state final each of the past three times it was contested, while Scarborough, a longtime Class A power, has returned to upper echelon status after a couple of down seasons.

This spring, the Red Storm opened with victories over visiting Marshwood (10-3), host Windham (13-8) and host Deering (22-1), then rallied for a 9-6 home win over South Portland and downed host Bonny Eagle (18-4).  Scarborough hung tough with visiting, reigning Class A champion Cape Elizabeth for three quarters before falling, 14-8, then bounced back at Gorham with a 12-7 victory before holding off visiting Brunswick (10-8). A tough 5-4, triple-overtime home loss to Thornton Academy followed, but the Red Storm responded by defeating host Portland (16-1) and Massabesic (22-0).

As for the Navigators, they started with a 16-2 victory at Kennebunk and after losing at home to Thornton Academy (4-1), they held off host Gorham, 9-6. After falling just short in a bid to upset visiting Cape Elizabeth (11-10), Falmouth edged visiting Windham in overtime (7-6) and rolled at Portland (13-2). After losing at home to South Portland (9-5), the Navigators defeated host Marshwood (13-7) and Noble (18-5), downed Brunswick in a neutral site contest (16-7) and Tuesday, dispatched visiting Cheverus (14-6).

The teams played two thrillers a year ago, with Falmouth winning at home in overtime (10-9) and Scarborough returning the favor on its home field, scoring in the final minute of regulation to win, 7-6, and snap a nine-game, 12-year losing streak in the series.

Thursday, on Scarborough’s Senior Night, the teams would produce another one-goal affair and the Navigators overcame an abundance of adversity to earn the win.

The Red Storm had plenty of possession early and after Noyes saved a shot by Finn Pedersen, Pedersen scored unassisted with 9:54 to go in the opening stanza, then senior Quinn Fogarty added a goal 42 seconds later for a quick 2-0 lead.

Momentum then turned after Falmouth prevented Scarborough from scoring man-up and with 5:51 on the clock, on their first sustained offensive possession, the Navigators cut the deficit in half when sophomore Cole Allan found junior Zach Mitton for a shot that Red Storm sophomore goalie Ben Kerbel couldn’t save.

Finn Pedersen answered right back 58 seconds later, finishing a feed from senior Jack Carlista to make it 3-1, but it would be a long, long, long time before Scarborough tickled the twine again.

Both teams would have ample opportunities to score in the second period, but Kerbel and Noyes stole the show.

Early in the frame, Falmouth went man-up, but senior Robby Drum, Allan, Mitton and Drum again all had shots saved by Kerbel.

At the other end, Noyes denied both Finn Pedersen and Fogarty. Noyes then three times saved shots from senior Tae Delaware and after he made late stops on shots from Fogarty and Carlista, then game remained 3-1 heading into the break.

The Red Storm had a commanding 27-7 shots advantage in the first half, but Noyes’ 11 saves kept the game within reach.

The Navigators then flipped the offensive switch in the third quarter and went on top to stay.

After Kerbel stopped an early shot from Grenier, sophomore Caden Barnard pounced on the rebound and buried it with 9:08 to go in the frame, ending a 20 minute, 43 second scoring drought.

Falmouth needed only 46 seconds to score its next goal, as Mitton found Grenier in front and Grenier climbed the ladder to catch the ball before firing it home to tie the score.

“It’s just a play we’ve worked on,” said Grenier. “We’ve been more consistent with it. I come around the low side of the goal on a fastbreak and (Zach) passes it to me. He put it right on my stick and made it easy for me to score that one.”

Scarborough tried to answer, but Noyes denied Fogarty.

Skillin-Lanou nearly put the Navigators ahead midway through the third, but the ball hit the post and the crossbar.

After Grenier and Barnard had shots saved by Kerbel, the visitors finally got the go-ahead goal.

With 3:06 on the clock, Skillin-Lanou finished unassisted and suddenly, Falmouth was in front.

“In the third quarter, we got the lead and had the momentum,” Grenier said. “Our offense needed to get going and wound up working hard. We put some in and got the momentum back.”

With 1:20 left, Allan scored unassisted and the Navigators took a 5-3 lead to the fourth period.

Where they would hold on for dear life to get out of town with a victory.

After going scoreless for 33 minutes and 19 seconds, the Red Storm finally answered with 7:34 on the clock, as senior Sam Rumelhart, who was tenacious in the faceoff circle all night, fed Finn Pedersen for a goal.

But Falmouth struck right back, as Mitton scored unassisted with 6:45 to play, pushing the advantage back to two goals.

Scarborough then answered off the ensuing faceoff, as Rumelhart won possession and set up Olin Pedersen to make the score 6-5.

The Red Storm then had ample opportunities to pull even, but would be frustrated right through the final horn.

With 5:44 on the clock, Finn Pedersen bounced a shot that Noyes couldn’t save, but luckily for the visitors, the ball rang off the crossbar.

With 4:41 to go, Delaware hit the post.

With 2:49 remaining, Fogarty bounced a shot just over the goal.

Scarborough would have one more good look, with 1:04 to play, but Noyes made a clean save on a shot from senior Jeremiah Park.

The Navigators then transitioned to offense and tried to run out the clock, but they turned the ball over.

Falmouth got the ball right back and turned to Grenier to ice it and Grenier ran down the right sideline, then toward the end line, and he milked the clock all the way down to 5 seconds, while drawing a pair of penalties in the process.

“I love those situations,” said Grenier. “I knew I had to do my part and I knew there wasn’t any way that they were getting it out of my stick and I wasn’t going to let my team down.”

“Xavier is one of the tougher guys out there,” Barton said. “He was eating checks there at the end. He understands he’ll probably draw a foul there, so credit to him.”

The Navigators then ran out the clock and celebrated their hard-fought, inspirational 6-5 victory.

“After those first couple minutes, I was thinking we had to lock down,” Noyes said. “We’re like gears. We were rusty at the beginning. We had to lube up. After that, it was like clockwork the rest of the game.”

“It’s a huge game to come out here and win,” Grenier said. “We had nerves, but we pulled through. We’ve been down before in games. You get frustrated, but you have to keep your head up and keep going. We pushed through.”

“We’re down two starting attackman (senior Jay Thomas and sophomore Cyrus Boothby) and our best defenseman (senior Ben Wentworth) didn’t play tonight, so I’m proud of the guys,” Barton added. “You could see right away we weren’t going to back down.”

Six different players scored goals for Falmouth, as Mitton had two goals and Allan, Barnard, Grenier and Skillin-Lanou added one apiece.

Allan and Mitton also had one assist.

Noyes stole the show with 17 saves, with plenty of help from his defensive unit.

“Before the game, I got turf in my eye,” Noyes said. “I went in the bathroom and had to get it out myself. I loved their student section screaming at me. I was mad and had the last laugh. Coach is on me about being as loud as I can be and just making the right decisions on the clear. (Freshmen) Indi (Backman) and Miles (Thaxter), I love those guys. I cannot wait to play another season with them. I’m ecstatic to see them on the field every day and I can’t thank Coach Barton enough for how far I’ve come.”

“We have the best defense in the league,” Grenier said. “When playoff-time comes, defense wins games.”

“Drew played out of his mind,” Barton said. “(Senior) Cooper Bush has come a long way directing traffic. Indi and Miles aren’t freshmen any more.”

Backman and Grenier each had a team-high five ground balls.

The Navigators overcame 18 turnovers.

Scarborough got three goals from Finn Pedersen and one each from Fogarty and Olin Pedersen.

Rumelhart had two assists (and also won 10 of 15 faceoffs) and Carlista finished with one.

Kerbel made 10 saves.

The Red Storm had a 32-27 edge in ground balls (Rumelhart had a game-high 10 and senior defenseman James Day collected eight) and out-shot the Navigators, 45-26 (22-16 on cage). Scarborough committed 22 turnovers.

“I can’t explain it,” Red Storm coach Zach Barrett said. “We have the capacity to create plenty of opportunities. I don’t know what it is. The guys aren’t doing what we teach and they’re not playing the way we practice. I think what happens when the game gets tight, is they try to take on too much individually and stop playing as a team. They beat their man, but they just don’t get good enough shots. We had a good start and we created good opportunities and put the ball in the back of the net, but then it stopped and we couldn’t recover. I’m a little bit frustrated and don’t really know what the next step is other than I hope they figure it out.

“Defensively, we’re still giving teams a hard time. Tonight, (Falmouth) had to work really hard for their goals and I’m pleased with that. We’re getting turnovers, we’re beating them in the middle of the field, but the offense isn’t living up to it. Offense is tough because there are nuances. Sometimes you get lucky and things go your way and sometimes they don’t. You have to be ready to make the play and right now, we’re not ready when it matters, so we have to figure that out.”

North and South

Scarborough will be ranked fourth in an incredibly deep and talented Class A South field. The Red Storm will host the quarterfinal round, likely against Gorham, next Wednesday.

“Now, it’s win or go home,” said Barrett. “We know Gorham well. Getting back on track is about our focus in practice and commitment to each other and making sure we make sure we play the right kind of lacrosse. We have what it takes.”

Falmouth will be the top seed in Class A North yet again and is the prohibitive favorite to represent the region for the fourth consecutive postseason.

The Navigators open the playoffs against a yet-to-be-determined foe next week.

“If everyone’s focused on the (South) teams, that’s fine with me,” said Grenier. “We’re just worried about focusing on us. If teams sleep on us, that’s on them because we’ll be ready.”

“We just have to hit the practice field and make those two hours count every day,” Noyes said. “We’re ready for the playoffs.”

“We don’t want this to be the highlight of our season,” added Barton. “I like to think we’re playing better than we were a month ago. We have a week until our next game. We’ll be as healthy as we’ve been all season. It’s fun. It’s good for Maine lacrosse what’s happening in Class A South right now. The parity and competition are good for the game. We have teams in the North who are chomping at the bit to get a chance at us.

“It’s a one-game season now for us. Our schedule was a gauntlet, but we’re better for it. Taking lumps against teams like Cape, TA and South Portland, it didn’t feel like it in the moment, but we’re better for it and I’d like to think we’re playing better now because of it.”

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

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