LEWISTON — It couldn’t be this easy. If you’ve followed the fortunes of Lewiston boys’ soccer for a season, or two, or 20-plus, you knew it wouldn’t be this easy.

After back-to-back heartbreaks in the Class A East championship, the Blue Devils were six minutes away from an unblemished, unscored-upon march through the regional tournament at Don Roux Field.

Then Brunswick captain Keenan Welzel buried a blast to break a 235-minute scoreless streak. Heads dropped ever so slightly.

Eric Kousky rattled the crossbar. Eyes widened. Thoughts of “not again” certainly wedged their way into a few minds.

Not again, indeed. Led by Mike Wong, Zakariah Abdulle and Ibrahim Hussein, Lewiston’s defense cleared its zone, killed three minutes and sealed a 2-1 victory.

It’s the first regional title for Lewiston (16-0-1) since 1991. Mt. Ararat and Hampden knocked off the Devils in the final the past two years.


“We’ve played two excellent, playoff-caliber teams,” Lewiston coach Mike McGraw said. “I think drama is our middle name.”

After a relative cakewalk in the quarterfinals, a 6-0 ouster of Mt. Blue, Lewiston withstood a furious late flurry to dispatch Bangor, 1-0, in the semis.

This one appeared to be in the bank after back-to-back lasers by Abdulkarim Abdulle in a 27-second span early in the second half.

The first celebration, in particular, was World Cup-esque, and the Brunswick bench took notice. Admittedly, so did Wong.

“Some of the guys lose sight of what’s to come in 10 or 15 minutes, like our celebration here at the end,” Wong said. “We’ve just got to make sure we know what the outcome can be if we let up at all.”

Brunswick (12-3-2), a program with six state championships and a dozen Eastern titles in its trophy case, isn’t the type to fade away.


The Blue Devils already knew the damage the Dragons could inflict after a 2-2 deadlock during the regular season. Brunswick was one of only two teams to score multiple goals against Lewiston.

“You knew as long as the game was 2-0, the way they were pressuring, there was going to be a break,” McGraw said. “They took advantage of that one great opportunity they had, and then we just finished.”

Wong tirelessly pursued the ball in Lewiston’s defensive third all evening, rarely allowing Brunswick to get a point-blank look at the net behind goalkeeper Austin Wing.

After a whistle in the continuing action following Kousky’s rattler, Wong and others sacrificed their bodies in the middle of a wall to stifle a direct kick by Reed Foster.

“We’ve just got to make sure we’re not giving them space to dribble, to do anything,” Wong said of Lewiston’s defensive approach. “We’ve always got people behind ready to cover anything that drops in. We’re great defensively on the ground. In there, as long as we see who’s around us, we can play good defense.”

Zakariya Abdulle’s return to the game with nine minutes to go was crucial. The junior departed briefly to catch his breath after a collision with Jesse Arford.

Wing also made four saves for Lewiston, which has given up 0.76 goals per game on the season. Brunswick’s only two shots on goal in a first-half stalemate came in the final 58 seconds.

“We’ve been playing great all year,” Wong said. “Preseason it started out a little shaky, but once we get used to how we play, we have great chemistry. We just have to keep talking to each other and covering for each other, and it’s turned out really well.”


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