SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s boys’ soccer team knew that no win in this year’s Class A South tournament would come easily.

Especially when its first foe was No. 9 Falmouth.

And sure enough, the Navigators gave the Red Storm everything they could handle Thursday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, but Scarborough responded like it champion it hopes to become and did just enough to survive and advance.

Falmouth, which has improved dramatically in recent weeks, stunned the home crowd in the third minute, when a long shot from senior Ben Pausman ricocheted off a defender and into the net for a quick 1-0 lead.

The only good thing about falling behind early is that you have a lot of time to respond and the Red Storm were able to do so, as senior Will Fallona scored a dazzling goal to tie it in the 13th minute, then Fallona set up junior Kilson Joao for the go-ahead tally in the 34th.

While the Navigators had no shortage of possession or chances in the second half, they couldn’t produce the equalizer and Scarborough held on for a 2-1 victory.


The Red Storm improved to 14-1, ended Falmouth’s season at 8-6-2 and in the process, advanced to host No. 4 Gorham (12-2-1) in the semifinal round Saturday at 12 p.m.

“Every game is going to be competitive,” said longtime Scarborough coach Mark Diaz. “Any team can beat anyone. Every game is highly contested. That’s what’s great about our league.”

Disregard the seeds

Class A South was wild and unpredictable this fall, just as most coaches expected, and not surprisingly, the postseason has already seen some upsets.

Rest assured that when the playoff pairings came out, Scarborough wasn’t thrilled to see Falmouth on its side of the bracket.

The Navigators lost four straight at one juncture and were just 4-4 after a loss at Windham in late-September (see sidebar for links to previous game stories), but they came to life, knocked off Deering and Portland and despite their low seed, managed to outlast No. 8 Kennebunk in penalty kicks (3-2) in Saturday’s preliminary round.


As for the Red Storm, they were viewed as a favorite coming in and didn’t disappoint, beating their first 13 foes by a composite 76-4 margin before falling in the finale to dangerous Deering, 3-1.

“Everybody wants to go undefeated, but it was a good thing to experience that loss,” Fallona said. “That made us want to win more.”

“It made us look at ourselves and now we have proof of what can happen if we don’t do things we’re supposed to,” Diaz said.

Scarborough hosted Falmouth back on Sept. 26, a 2-0 win for the Red Storm, as Joao and Fallona scored second half goals.

The teams split two prior playoff meetings (see sidebar).

After the game was delayed 24 hours by weather, Scarborough and Falmouth went out and put on a show on a chilly Thursday evening (51 degrees and falling at kickoff), where ultimately, the Red Storm did just enough to move on.


Scarborough coach Mark Diaz, left, who won his 300th game earlier this season, and Falmouth coach Dave Halligan, who recently reached the 500-win plateau, chat prior to kickoff of the Red Storm’s 2-1 victory in Thursday’s Class A South quarterfinal. Hoffer photos.

The Red Storm had a chance just 30 seconds in, as senior Jack Moreau got the ball to Fallona, but Fallona sent it just wide.

Then, with 37:15 to go in the first half, the Navigators staggered Scarborough, as Pausman ripped a blast with his left foot from about 30 yards out and it glanced off a defender and the subsequent change of direction handcuffed Red Storm senior goalkeeper Nicholas Ouellette as the ball sailed into the net for an improbable 1-0 lead for the visitors.

“It was just unlucky, it’s all it was,” said Scarborough senior back Ashton Blanchette. “I wasn’t worried. We pulled together and learned from our mistakes.”

The Red Storm immediately pushed for the equalizer, but sophomore Dillon MacLeod had a long free kick saved by Falmouth freshman goalkeeper Caden Berry, Berry went diving to deny Joao and after senior Oscar Davis sent a rocket just high, Fallona’s one-timer also sailed high.

But with 27:22 left in the half, Fallona got the ball in the middle of the field and somehow dribbled around or through multiple defenders, first going to his right, then doubling back to his left before finding just enough room to rip a left-footed blast into the upper left corner of the goal, past Berry to make the score 1-1.

“I was able to sneak a shot in,” Fallona said. “Everybody made runs and that opened up gaps for me. I just found room and it felt good.”


“Will’s special,” said Diaz. “Credit to him. He puts in the time and you just have to give him credit for that. He’s worked on a lot of things. You can see it pay off.”

After Blanchette missed just high off a free kick from senior Parker Killiard, Berry made a save on a Fallona shot.

But with 6:18 to go, Scarborough got the go-ahead and ultimately winning goal.

The play started with Joao flicking the ball into the box in the direction of Fallona, who was blanketed by the Navigators’ defense. Fallona managed to win the ball, touched it over to Joao and Joao buried his low left-footed shot to make it 2-1.

“It’s playoffs and when the ball’s bouncing in the box, if you don’t give 110 percent, you’ll have regrets,” Fallona said. “I went it at full-speed and Kilson came in after me and finished it up.”

“(Kilson and Will) work really well together this year,” said Diaz. “The way they connect, they’re both unselfish, and they really help us out.”


Falmouth nearly answered late in the half, but a header flick from junior Caden Barnard off a corner kick was snared by Ouellette.

Scarborough then held on for dear life the final 40 minutes of the contest.

Scarborough junior Zakary Sanders defends Falmouth sophomore Sam Yoon

Four minutes in, junior Michael Christman sent a header on target, but Ouellette made the save.

The Red Storm then tried to gain some breathing room, but Fallona missed just wide and Moreau fired a blast from the top of the box that Berry had to dive to save.

After Davis missed high and Moreau shot wide, the Navigators carried play most of the rest of the way, but simply couldn’t produce the tying tally.

After Davis blocked a shot from dangerous senior Mason Quiet, senior Finn Cameron had a look but missed just wide.


Off a corner kick with 13:10 remaining, Cameron passed the ball to Barnard, who missed just wide.

A minute later, Christman got behind the defense, but Ouellette came out to break up the play at the last instant.

With 7:02 showing, a long free kick from Quiet forced Ouellette to go to his knees to cradle the ball.

After Blanchette broke up a Quiet rush, junior Alex Bezanson produced Falmouth’s last shot, a header which Ouellette saved.

Scarborough was able to run out the clock from there and celebrated its 2-1 victory.

Scarborough players run to congratulate senior goalkeeper Nicholas Ouellette at the final horn.

“We knew they’d give us everything they had tonight,” Fallona said. “What you can control is how hard you work and we work to the bone.”


“Falmouth’s a good team,” Blanchette said. “All the respect in the world to them.”

“We hadn’t played in 10 days,” Diaz added. “You can practice and scrimmage all you want, but it’s just a different pace when the game starts. I like how the kids responded. They stuck to the game plan. We created some chances tonight and we were fortunate enough to get a couple in.”

Both teams put six shots on frame and took two corner kicks.

The Red Storm got five saves from Ouellette, who was assisted mightily by his stout defense.

“We stayed compact,” said Blanchette. “We gave up some lanes, but stepped on them hard and cleared the ball wide and got some space.”

“We saw that (first) goal go in, but we have guys like Ashton Blanchette, Oscar Davis, (senior) Dylan Wilkinson, Parker Killiard, (senior) Noah Flagg,” Fallona said. “They just work, work, work and they brought us back.”


“Everyone who played in the back did a great job,” Diaz added. “Those guys have the experience. They’ve been through these games.”

Falmouth pride

Berry made five saves for the Navigators, who refused to give in until the final horn and finished the season on a high note.

“We got the first goal, but we knew they have two of the most dangerous offensive players in the state and it’s tough to keep them down,” said longtime Falmouth coach Dave Halligan. “I’m pleased we battled to the very end. The veteran team won tonight.

“We came a long way. We’re pleased. We didn’t win our last game, but we consider this a successful season. We had a tough stretch and we leaned on our seniors. We brought them together and said, ‘You can play for next year or you can show the younger guys what you do when you get knocked down, you get back up and work a little bit harder.’ Justin (Mayo) was our goalkeeper, but I had to move him up top because we didn’t have a physical presence. Once we did that, our season turned around. We asked our senior captains, Mason and Ben, to assume all kinds of responsibilities. Hopefully they won’t have to do everything in college like they did for us. Jackson (Boyd) was a midfielder and he played in the back. I’m as proud of these guys as the guys who won the state championship in 2019 because these guys had it a little harder.”

While the Navigators were young this season and took their lumps, that should help them boast a better record and make a deeper run in 2023.


“Experience is something you can’t coach,” Halligan said. “You have to be here to understand it. The younger kids got a taste of it. They saw how hard you have to work to be successful.”

High noon Saturday

Scarborough and Gorham didn’t meet during the regular season.

They are well-acquainted over the years in the postseason, however, having played 11 previous times with the Red Storm holding a 7-4 advantage. The most recent encounter came in last year’s quarterfinals where the Rams prevailed, 2-1, winning on penalty kicks, 8-7.

Scarborough has some unfinished business and will look to move on to the regional final for the first time since 2015.

“They knocked us out last year, so we’ve got something to play for and I’ll leave it at that,” Fallona said.

“I know Gorham’s a good team, but we have a good team and we’ll bring our ‘A’ game,” said Blanchette. “If we keep playing our game and stick together, we’ll be good.”

“We just have to play the way we’ve been playing,” added Diaz. “Stick together as a group and stay positive. We don’t care who we play. We’ll just go out and do our thing.”

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

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