FREEPORT—It took less than eight minutes for Yarmouth’s boys’ soccer team to crash host Freeport’s Senior Day party Tuesday afternoon at the Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field.

The Clippers seized control on a goal from senior Matt Gautreau, then made it 2-0 in the 18th minute, when junior Luis Cardoso finished.

The Falcons roared right back on a goal from junior Emmanuel Ekogha, but couldn’t score again and Yarmouth put it away in the second half, when senior Adam McLaughlin served up a perfect corner kick to senior Zach Kelly for the clincher.

The Clippers went on to salt away their 11th consecutive victory this fall, 3-1, as they improved to 11-1, took another step closer to locking up the top seed for the Class B South playoffs and in the process, dropped Freeport to 6-4-3.

“I was happy to come over here and win,” said longtime Yarmouth coach Mike Hagerty, after his 339th victory with the program. “There’s not a lot of love lost and we know we’ll get their best effort. They’re due (to beat us), so I’d be glad to not see them again (in the playoffs).”

Dominance continued


Yarmouth came into the season being touted as an all-time great team, but the Clippers stumbled in their opener, losing at Greely, 2-0. Yarmouth then caught fire, downing visiting Gray-New Gloucester (7-0), visiting York (3-0), visiting Brunswick (the reigning Class A champion), 3-1, then beating host Cape Elizabeth (4-1) in a regional final rematch, winning at four-time Class C champion Waynflete (3-0), rolling at Wells in a makeup game, 8-0, then edging visiting Greely (1-0) and visiting Freeport (2-1, in double-overtime) and blanking host Mt. Ararat (3-0) and visiting North Yarmouth Academy (6-0).

Freeport entered the year without much fanfare, but has been competitive throughout and appears to be hitting its stride.

After opening with a 2-1 double-overtime home win over Gray-New Gloucester, the Falcons rolled at NYA (7-0). After settling for 2-2 home draws against both Morse and Cape Elizabeth and settling for a scoreless tie at Greely, Freeport lost at home to York (2-1). After a 2-0 home win over Wells, the Falcons lost in double-overtime at Yarmouth (2-1), beat host Lincoln Academy in double-OT (1-0), then edged visiting Traip Academy (2-1) and host Waynflete (1-0) before losing at York (2-1).

In the teams’ first meeting Sept. 26, Kelly scored early to put Yarmouth on top, senior Thomas Roy answered for Freeport with 13 minutes to go in regulation, then an apparent draw ended up a dramatic Clippers’ triumph instead, when Cardoso scored with just four seconds left in the second OT.

That victory continued a long Yarmouth trend of dominance versus Freeport, as the Clippers have never lost to the Falcons since Hagerty took over as coach back in 1997.

Tuesday, on Freeport’s Senior Night, the Falcons hoped to make history, but instead, Yarmouth came out and asserted itself early en route to victory.


Freeport senior Thomas Roy gets a step on Yarmouth senior Zach Kelly early in the Clippers’ 3-1 victory Tuesday. Hoffer photos.

The Clippers first threatened in the fourth minute, when senior Zach Turkel eluded two defenders and crossed the ball in front, but Freeport sophomore goalkeeper Mason Vintinner got to it first.

Then, with 32:24 left in the first half, Yarmouth went in front to stay, thanks in part to a fortuitous bounce.

After Turkel had a shot blocked, the ball came to McLaughlin, who also had a bid deflected, but it came right to Gautreau and he ripped a shot back to the left, past a diving Vintinner for a 1-0 lead.

“Everyone came out with high intensity and that resulted in a bunch of loose balls,” said Gautreau. “Fortunately, I was in the right spot. Coach always tells us if you’re going right to shoot left, so I was aiming for the left side. When you’re away, to get that first goal is huge.”

“The ball came right to him,’ Hagerty said. “I would say more than half of Matt’s goals are off rebounds. He always follows shots in. He’s a junkyard dog in that respect. It’s ingrained in us to follow shots. When we keep shots on frame, we have chances to score.”

Freeport tried to answer, but Clippers senior goalkeeper Ian O’Connor came out to intercept a promising pass from freshman Dylan Meinert to senior Will Maneikis.


With 22:16 on the first half clock, the visitors doubled their lead, as senior Justin Dawes threw the ball in from the left sideline, Fulton got his head it and got it to Cardoso, who sent the ball home to make it 2-0.

“We usually have people all around the goal and one target,” Fulton said. “‘JD’ has a great throw. You can tell he’s been in the gym. The ball usually finds my head and goes back post and Luis was there in the right spot.”

The Falcons responded quickly, as with 20:25 remaining, after a long ball was sent in by senior Gordon Foye, Ekogha managed to run it down, win possession and with O’Connor bearing down, fire a left-footed shot into the net to cut the deficit in half.

“Ian would like to have that goal back,” Hagerty said. “He came out and cut the angle off, but he came out bowl-legged and it was a nice finish.”

Late in the half, Vintinner kept the score at 2-1 by robbing Gautreau in front and beating Turkel to a feed from Fulton, while Freeport’s hopes of equalizing were denied by Dawes breaking up senior Garrett Ritcheson after a turnover and senior Owen Rusiecki missing wide.

Freeport senior Garrett Ritcheson and Yarmouth senior senior Jonny Fulton battle for the ball.

When the second half commenced, both teams knew the next goal would be critical.


Yarmouth tried to open it back up early, but a great chance for McLaughlin off a Dawes throw resulted in a defensive save from Freeport junior Camden Tourigny and Dawes’ shot off a corner kick was denied by Vintinner.

At the other end, O’Connor kept the Clippers in front by diving to rob Maneikis after a turnover.

Sophomore William Emmons then shot high.

With 21:10 remaining in regulation, Yarmouth restored its two-goal advantage, as McLaughlin served in a corner kick to Kelly, who was waiting at the far post to head it home to make it 3-1.

“It would have been nice to be up 2-0 or 3-1 at halftime because Freeport doesn’t quit,” Hagerty said. “We needed that third goal. Zach’s playing now with the speed and confidence he had before his ankle injury. He’s built like Wayne Rooney, but he’s a lot faster than people give him credit for. He and Matt are similar in that they never give up. Their persistence creates great opportunities for us.”

The Falcons hoped to rally, but Ritcheson was denied by O’Connor, a long free kick from Roy was cleared by Clippers junior back Ward Jenkins and in the final minute, O’Connor robbed both Maneikis and Meinert to slam the door on a 3-1 victory.


“They’re great competition every time, but we always get a result,” Fulton said. “It was a tough challenge.”

“We’re a really confident team,” said Gautreau. “We stayed composed and deliberate and passed quickly. Coach emphasized playing quickly and utilizing our speed. We did that.”

“This is a really fast turf,” Hagerty added. “It plays faster than our turf, so we focused a lot on what we were doing without the ball to make passes easier to connect. I thought for parts of the game, we connected passes well. Once we pass the ball, we’re pretty good. We’re healthy again at the right time and we’re finding spots for people to contribute. We played an intelligent game today. The boys knew this had huge playoff implications and we knew we had to get a result to keep the number one seed. I thought (senior) Mihailo (Medenica) and Jonny and Adam and our defensive midfield positioning was excellent tonight. The first game, Freeport came down the middle too much against us. Tonight, we took away their ground game down the middle and our off-ball positioning was better.”

Yarmouth finished with a 10-4 advantage in shots on frame and got three saves from O’Connor.

Freeport got seven saves from Vintinner and had a 5-4 edge in corner kicks, but was ultimately stymied by the Clippers again.

“Yarmouth came out with energy and we didn’t match it the first 10, 15 minutes,” Falcons coach Bob Strong said. “We fixed things and got on the board, but we couldn’t finish it off. They were really well organized in the back. That third goal header was sensational. We created some opportunities the last 10 minutes from guys off the bench. That was nice to see.”


The best time of the year

With the playoffs right around the corner, Freeport (now sixth in the Class B South Heal Points standings) has one game left, at Cape Elizabeth, in a pivotal affair, Thursday night.

“We know we’ll be in the playoffs and we’ll learn and get better,” Strong said. “There’s a lot of parity in the league this year. We’ll host a first round game and we know anything can happen. We’re healthy and that’s important. We’ll take our chances. We’re overdue.”

Yarmouth, which appears destined for the top spot in the region, goes to York Thursday, then finishes at home versus Cape Elizabeth Monday.

“Playing at home is an advantage, but I think we’ll fine no matter what,” said Fulton. “We’re ready.”

“We’re looking forward to competing against York and Cape and we’re excited for postseason,” Gautreau said.

“I think we’ve solidified some kids in our depth chart and they can settle in their roles and space,” Hagerty added. “Every season has ups-and-downs. I feel like we’re getting back to our groove. I’m pretty psyched.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at For game updates and links to game stories, follow him on Threads: @foresports2023

Comments are not available on this story.