PORTLAND — As the soccer season continued to evolve, Walter Conrad believed he’d be back.

Though the Yarmouth senior midfielder broke his ankle during the preseason, despite doubt and a season moving on without him, Conrad remained hopeful.

“I kind of had the whole philosophy that I’d make it back,” Conrad said. “I realized I had to believe it or else it probably wasn’t going to happen.”

Saturday, Conrad’s belief became reality. He had his first start of the season and scored the first goal for his Clippers in a 3-0 win over Erskine in the Class B boys’ soccer state championship game at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

It is the 10th state title for Yarmouth (16-1-1) and seventh for Coach Mike Hagerty. Yarmouth has now won back-to-back titles and six of the past 12. The West/South team has won the past 22 state Class B crowns.

“They were just psyched because (Conrad) was starting,” Hagerty said. “He played varsity for four years. He finally gets to start again. When they found out he was starting today and that he had two good days of practice, just that alone, when he scored that first goal, it was storybook.”

Conrad had played all of 12 minutes total for Yarmouth in the previous two playoff games. His ankle felt stronger and was ready to give it a start. Hagerty said he was only still at about 80 percent.

“When he’s 100 percent, he’s one of the top three players in the state, easily,” Hagery said.

To have missed the entire regular season and most of the playoffs, and then get a start in the state game and score the winning goal, it was an amazing comeback for Conrad. It was also the completion of a challenging year. The Clippers faced an abundance of adversity from players lost to the season because of concussions and knee injuries, as well as a cancer diagnosis for one of the coach’s wives.

“It’s definitely an amazing feeling for me,” Conrad said. “I’m so happy for all these guys because we came together and made an amazing season out of it. We faced so much adversity, but we came out and made a successful season out of it.”

Yarmouth controlled play early against Erskine, a 10th seed that stunned all the top seeds in Class B North. Despite possessing the ball, the Clippers couldn’t convert. Then with 11:02 left, Conrad put Yarmouth on the board.

“I just saw one of my teammates going down the left side,” Conrad said. “I decided it would be a good idea to get behind the defense. The ball bounced my way. I happened to be in the right place and put it home with the right foot.”

The right foot just so happens to be the one that he broke. Typically, Conrad is heavily left-footed.

Then with 4:33 to play, freshman Eric LaBrie, who scored the game-winner in the regional final against Maranacook, put a nice chip high into the left side of the net for a 2-0 lead.

In the second half, Yarmouth made it 3-0 with 28:33 left. Christopher Pidden crossed it from the right side. Nicholas Kamra was in front. After a defender missed an attempt at a clear, Kamra buried it.

“We hoped Walter could be here,” Hagerty said. “We knew we’d probably have to get to a Western Maine final or a state final to get him to play it game. It couldn’t have ended up any better.”

Though it was a disappointing finish for the Eagles (14-5), it was an impressive postseason for the 10th seed.

“That tells you what discipline, hard work and heart does,” Erskine coach Phil Hubbard said. “They really played their hearts out. People thought the 10th seed couldn’t do it. I knew the kids had it in them, but it getting hot at the right time.”

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