The Buckfield senior dreamed about it and thought how that milestone goal would be scored. It’s a record he’s inched closer to with each game during his career and was fast approaching this season. The when and how was prominent in his mind. Though he might have guessed the when, the one scenario he’d never considered was the penalty kick.

“I’d thought of that for a long time,” Randolph said. “I thought how cool it would be to do it this way or that way, but that came totally unexpected.”

But there he stood, on a soccer field in Rangeley with history staring him in the face. A penalty kick awarded early in the game last Thursday set Randolph up for the record-breaking opportunity.

“I was not ready,” Randolph admitted. “I really don’t have the best of luck with PKs. It just kind of hit me like, ‘Don’t think about it and just kick it.’”

So Randolph did what he does best. He put foot to ball and drove it into the net. As soon as the ball moved off his foot, he knew it was going in. He had become the all-time leading goal scorer at Buckfield.

“It was honestly just relief and finally making it,” Randolph said. “It was exciting, too, to be able to meet with the coach (Kyle Rines) and have that moment with him and tell him it was really cool to have that moment.”

Randolph had two goals that afternoon in a win over Rangeley. The next day, he wasn’t feeling well at school, but a stubborn head cold wasn’t going to spoil the celebration of his achievement at school.

“It was really cool having that kind of recognition,” Randolph said. “Having it announced and stuff, it was a really cool feeling. It was one of those once in a lifetime feelings.”

Randolph, who grew up and learned to play soccer in Brazil, had been chasing the school record all season. After a pair of 21-goals seasons, he was within reach when this soccer season started. It was a milestone he’d wondered about after his sophomore and juniors years but he didn’t realize until this fall just how realistic it was.

“It was one of those things I never thought would actually happen,” Randolph said. “I’d been thinking about it like, ‘Oh it’s a possibility,’ but as the years went on and our team continued to improve, I really saw a chance and strived for it.”

Randolph entered the season with 49 goals. That put him just seven away from the 56 that Aaron Dewitt finished his career with in 2010. So with each goal this fall, Randolph knew he was inching closer and closer. It was something that he didn’t want to dwell on but with each goal, that moment drew closer.

“I didn’t even think about it too much,” Randolph said. “I’d be like, ‘Oh man, it’s coming up right around the corner.’ I was kind of psyching myself up for it and getting prepared for that moment and how it would go.”

Making it even more pressure-packed was the thought that something could happen as he got closer to the record. One injury could change everything.

“Just because how close I was getting, something can happen,” Randolph said. “It made me nervous and hoping that I didn’t get injured or that something bad could happen. It definitely felt like it was going by very slowly.”

Randolph, who might play at the University of Maine-Farmington next year, started the season with three goals in an 8-1 win in the season opener. He scored twice more in a 7-0 win over Pine Tree. He was two shy of the mark and a hat trick away from breaking it when the Bucks hosted Sacopee Valley last Tuesday. Randolph scored twice in a win over the Hawks, tying the record.

“Everyone was like, ‘If you beat it at home, that would be amazing,’” Randolph said. “I was like, ‘That would be really cool.’ Even though I tied it, it was such a great feeling to have it just about be over. It was a really cool feeling to have that game win at the same time.”

That set the stage for Thursday’s game at Rangeley. Randolph could sense the record-breaking goal coming. He knew it would be a matter of time against the Lakers. He just didn’t expect it to be a penalty kick. A foul called about 10 minutes into the game gave him the opportunity.

“Going into that game I knew it would either be very quick or maybe be at the end of the first half,” Randolph said. “I thought about as soon as it happened, what’s going to happen? It was such a good thing to get through. It felt like such a relief. It was finally coming up, and it was such a tremendous feeling.”

With the record behind him, Randolph is shooting for his own mark. His two goals Thursday gives him 58 total. Sacopee Valley blanked the Bucks Saturday, 1-0, for the first loss of the season. Now the target of 70 goals is a number he’s chasing. But right now, Randolph is focused on just playing the game and putting aside the thoughts of records and milestones.

“I don’t have to worry about the pressure or anything outside the game,” Randolph said. “I can just be completely focused on what I need to do and get it done.”

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.