The 14 seniors on the Foxcroft Academy soccer workforce — already the homeowners of two state championships trophies — know the street to a gold ball isn’t with out challenges.
So when second-seeded John Bapst of Bangor — which misplaced to the undefeated Ponies by 48 factors of their season opener greater than two months in the past — refused to go away of their rematch at Hampden Academy on Saturday, coach Danny White’s membership didn’t panic and ultimately pulled away for a 29-8 victory to seize its third straight Class D North title.
Foxcroft (10-0) will try and seize a 3rd straight state title for the primary time at school historical past subsequent Saturday at Lewiston Excessive College towards South champion Wells, a 35-6 winner over Winthrop/Monmouth/Corridor-Dale on Friday evening.
“We’re going to get pleasure from this, however it’s time to maneuver on,” mentioned Foxcroft senior quarterback Wyatt Rayfield after the Ponies gained a regional crown for the fifth time within the final six soccer seasons. “We’re not accomplished but.”
Foxcroft, which had outscored its opposition 468-33 via its first 9 victories, led simply 7-0 at halftime of the Large 11 Convention Class D ultimate, the lone landing approaching a 5-yard run by Finn Holmes simply 1:56 into the competition. That got here two performs after Silas Topalski returned a cross interception 24 yards to the John Bapst 18 on the Crusaders’ first possession of the sport.
When John Bapst was pressured to punt on its subsequent possession and the kick traveled simply six yards to offer Foxcroft possession at midfield, there have been some ideas that this postseason matchup would possibly develop into much like the Ponies’ 54-6 opening-night rout.
However that didn’t materialize, as John Bapst was in a position to match Foxcroft defensively for many of the contest. Foxcroft step by step took management after intermission regardless of initially being stopped on downs on the John Bapst 9 after receiving the second half kickoff.
However a three-and-out by John Bapst adopted by a 12-yard punt gave the Ponies nice area place once more, and senior Gage Beaudry capped off a four-play drive by scoring on a 4-yard run with 5:36 left within the third quarter. Senior lineman/fullback Hunter McSorley then rushed for the two-point conversion run to make it 15-0.
“Props to John Bapst for positive, they performed arduous however these brief fields undoubtedly helped and our offense within the second half was in a position to do what we do and we have been ultimately in a position to draw back,” Rayfield mentioned.
McSorley recovered an errant John Bapst pitch close to midfield on the Crusaders’ subsequent possession, and Beaudry scored his second landing one play afterward a 39-yard run after which added the two-point conversion run because the Ponies immediately constructed a 23-0 cushion with 1:34 left within the third quarter.
“Within the regional ultimate sport you count on each workforce to offer it their all,” mentioned Beaudry, who completed the day with 129 yards on 22 carries to surpass 1,100 dashing yards for the season. “We had a troublesome time transferring the ball within the first half, however within the second half we knew what we would have liked to do and we did it.”
However John Bapst wasn’t accomplished, as on the primary play after the following kickoff senior Nathan Butler outwrestled a Foxcroft defender for a cross down the fitting sideline from junior quarterback Aiden Ouellette and raced 62 yards to the tip zone to get the Crusaders on the scoreboard.
Senior Logun McMahon then threw an choice cross to Butler for the two-point conversion, and John Bapst was nonetheless inside two possessions at 23-8 with nonetheless 1:13 left within the interval.
However Foxcroft’s protection rose as much as shut out the Crusaders the remainder of the best way, and McSorley added an insurance coverage landing on a 2-yard run to cap off a 56-yard scoring drive with 4:03 left within the sport.
The Ponies’ protection restricted John Bapst to 161 whole yards and had two interceptions and a fumble restoration.
“We actually centered on our protection loads this week and all of us got here as one. We have been all there for one another,” FA senior defensive finish Devin Henderson mentioned.
John Bapst’s protection held Foxcroft to a season-low in factors and 258 whole yards, an effort a lot totally different that the sooner assembly.
“We did some issues that the children believed in when it comes to physicality that perhaps we weren’t prepared for the primary time,” Crusaders’ coach Dan O’Connell mentioned. “Then after we had some success particularly on protection … they actually began to imagine they may do it and I used to be pleased with them for hanging in the best way they did and competing for 4 quarters.”