Freeport’s Wes Goodwin (8) heads the ball away from Oak Hill’s Nico Soucy, center, with Freeport teammate Jesse Bennell (10) close by. Freeport rolled to a 7-0 win Class B South prelim victory on Saturday.

FREEPORT — The phrase “iron sharpens iron” is often used by coaches as their teams prepare for the postseason by facing a difficult regular season schedule.

Take the Freeport High School boys soccer team. Playing in the always difficult Western Maine Conference can leave a team lacking in confidence, facing the likes of Yarmouth, Greely, Cape Elizabeth, etc., day-in and day-out.

However, Falcons coach Joe Heathco says that he “likes our schedule,” and his team surely displayed all that they have learned so far, rolling to a 7-0 Class B South preliminary win over No. 9 Oak Hill of the Mountain Valley Conference at Hunter Road Fields on Saturday.

“It has been a good week of practice, and it is a new season,” Heathco said. “You play all those games, and the higher the seed the better. We came out and played strong. We used our experience against a young team to do what we wanted to do.”

No. 8 Freeport’s reward is a matchup with top-seeded and undefeated Yarmouth in the quarterfinals (date and time TBA), while the Raiders finished 5-8-2 after making the postseason for the first time in what head coach Bill Worth said “had to be 5-6 years.”

“Compared to where we were starting from, we came a long way this year, going 5-7-2 through the regular season,” Worth said. “Today is a bitter defeat. But you contrast that with making it to the playoffs, and we have a young team.”

Freeport jumped out early, pressuring the Oak Hill defense into several turnovers. The Falcons possessed the ball and found the back of the net 6:18 in when Caleb Arsenault finished a pass from Eriksen Shea for a 1-0 Freeport lead.

Seven minutes later, Shea made it 2-0 with a solid individual play, dribbling through several Raider defenders before sending a shot past Oak Hill goaltender Cole Whitten, who had 15 saves.

“We were trying to force the ball down the wings and trying to get behind them. Once we scored those first couple of goals we kept rolling. We always talk about working together and today we finally clicked,” Shea said.

With 17:39 left in the first half, Jesse Bennell scored off a pass from Jake Dumont, and an Evan McKittrick free kick turned into an own goal, giving Freeport a 4-0 halftime lead. The Falcons outshot the Raiders, 29-1 in the opening frame.

Freeport goaltender Atticus Patrick picked up the shutout, stopping the only shot he faced on a header by Oak Hill’s Colby Leighton.

“All of their passes are crisp and accurate, and you can see the difference when you pick your head up and find your target. They are a good team,” Worth said.

Freeport put the game away over a 2:53 stretch early in the second half. Shea scored his second, and moments later Will Winter sent a shot past the dive of Whitten for a 6-0 edge.

Nate Thomas completed the scoring for the Falcons, scoring on a penalty kick with 34:40 remaining.

Freeport, which held a 41-1 shot advantage, now faces the 14-0 Clippers, who downed the Falcons 6-1 on Sept. 29. Heathco is confident his team can come out on top.

“We have faced number-one seeds before, like a Maranacook, a place where we don’t have that history of losses like to a Yarmouth, and we’ve beaten Maranacook when they were the top seed,” the Freeport coach said. “Yarmouth’s talent is different. They have three D-I prospects, and it can’t be that we just play like this. We have to do some different things to be able to come out on top. We certainly have the talent to do it.

“Some years it is a challenge to just make the postseason. Being the eight seed sounds kind of low. We know what the competition is like.”

“We are taking it one game at a time,” Shea added. “Today was a test to see how well we could play. Yarmouth is just that next step.”

Oak Hill’s Levi Sturtevant (4) dribbles the ball while being pursued by Freeport’s Damon Butler during a Class B South preliminary boys’ soccer game in Freeport on Saturday. The host Falcons rolled to a 7-0 win over the Raiders, who finsh the season with a 5-8-2 record.


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