LEWISTON — Between the chill in the air, the autumn color in the leaves and the glowing half moon in the sky, the signs of a waning fall were evident Tuesday night.

Another sure sign of autumn’s progress was the play of the Lewiston and Mt. Ararat boys on the soccer field. With the playoffs a few weeks away, the Blue Devils and Eagles produced a playoff-like tune up while battling in a hard-fought 1-1 tie.

Lewiston edged the Eagles 3-2 earlier in the year, but any late season meeting between the two rivals was going to be full of intensity, drama and excitement. It proved to be a great test for both clubs as they jockey for the final positions in the standings.

“You knew Mt. Ararat was going to come in a much improved team from last time,” said Lewiston coach Mike McGraw, whose team lost to the Eagles in overtime in the Eastern A final last fall. “I think we’ve improved too. There’s always something you can find to work on, but I thought our kids played a great game.”

It was a back-and-forth showdown featuring two of the top teams in Eastern A. Lewiston (8-1-1) is ranked No. 1 while the Eagles ((7-2-2) are fourth. Both teams had the other on its heels at times but neither could produce the game winner in a nail-biter of a second half and overtime. It left many a frayed nerves among the coaches.

“It’s fun playing them but oh my God,” said Mt. Ararat coach Rick Renaud. “It’s not one of those middle of the field games. There were a lot of chances on both sides. It’s great for the fans but tough on the coaches.”

Both keepers were outstanding. Lewiston’s Austin Wing made nine stops, including a leaping save late in overtime to save the tie. He also made a diving save off a header early in the second half, disappointing an Eagles club that was certain they had scored.

Jon Roux made six saves for Mt. Ararat. He made a leaping save on Lewiston’s Abdibaari Hersi late in regulation.

“I thought both teams played pretty well,” Renaud said. “Neither team finished and that’s why we ended up 1-1. We’re getting better and that makes me happy.”

Though Lewiston got an early shot by Abdullahi Shaleh that hit the crossbar, Mt. Ararat scored first. A Chris Pepin corner from the left side was steered home in front by Griffin Stockford just 5:09 into the game.

“With these guys, that’s where we have the advantage,” Renaud said of the set plays. “They’re so quick on the field, scoring goals off the run of play is a lot tougher but still balls, that’s what we’re trying to do and get as many as we can. We had a lot of them, and we just didn’t finish.”

Lewiston appeared a bit stunned at the early goal. It was only the second goal allowed by the Blue Devils since the first game with Mt. Ararat in early September. Pepin nearly made it 2-0 on a shot that hit the crossbar.

Lewiston started to rally and increased its pressure. With 11:48 left in the half, Ibrahim Mohamed tied it. Michael Wong had a shot blocked by a defender. It was redirected toward Mohamed who fired in the rebound.

“I thought we responded great,” McGraw. said. “Ibrahim’s goal, he was in the right place at the right time. The ball came out to him and he did what he had to do. That was the only way you were going to beat that keeper.”

The teams took turns in the second half controlling play and getting quality shots. The Eagles had a header in front off a free kick that went over the net. Another opportunity in a crowd in front was stopped by Wing. The Eagles had a crack at the rebound but it was cleared out.

Robbie Small had an open look that was saved by Wing and the Eagles even had two players on a ball at the right post late in regulation but neither could put it into an open corner.

“That hurts you in a game like this,” Renaud said. “We had those chances.”

Lewiston had a run by Wong that was stopped by a charging Roux. When he couldn’t hold the ball, Mohamedkheir Mohamed had a try with an open net, but Roux was able to block the shot and smother it. Roux also made a stop on Gage Cote from the right side and then saved the best stop with the leaping save on Hersi with 2:32 left.

In the first overtime, Wong had a shot saved at the left side. Abdi Shariff-Hassan dished a pass to Maslah Hassan but a defender was able to block the shot.

In the second overtime, a Shariff-Hassan shot deflected off a defender and went just wide. Then at the other end of the field, Stockford had a great chance that Wing leaped to tip over the net with 25 seconds left.

“I was telling the guys that when we play Mt. Ararat, they’re going to throw everything at you,” McGraw said. “You have to be able to deal with it. They’re a great opponent to play against because every time we play them, it’s got a playoff type atmosphere.”

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