BIDDEFORD — Rion Dos Santos’ header knocked off the champions from the South. Now, the Falmouth High boys’ soccer team gets a crack at the Class A kings.

Dos Santos scored with 3:24 to play in regulation and gave No. 2 Falmouth a 2-1 win against No. 1 Gorham in Tuesday’s Class A South regional final at Waterhouse Field.

Electric sophomore forward Gus Ford set up the goal when he nudged an entry pass with his right shoulder to get space and then chipped the ball from right to left across the crease where Dos Santos was stationed. His first header was deflected, “but it came back perfectly and I headed it,” Dos Santos said. “I was so happy, not only for me but for the whole team. We’ve worked so hard since August for this. This is a big step.”

Falmouth (14-2-1) will go for its first Class A championship Saturday at Hampden Academy against Lewiston (15-1-1) at 3 p.m. The Blue Devils, winners of two straight and three of four Class A state titles, beat Brunswick, 3-0, in the North final.

“I’m fine with whoever we’re playing,” Ford said. “I think we’ve just been playing our best game right now. We just have to keep moving the ball, play to feet, stay composed and we’ll be fine.”

Falmouth, a Class A school since 2016, has won 11 state titles (in 11 attempts) under Coach David Halligan, two in Class C (1996 and 1997) and nine in Class B between 2000 and 2012.

“We’ll see if we can play as a team and see what happens. Either way it will be a great experience for our young kids,”
Halligan said.

Gorham (13-3-1) struggled to keep pace with Falmouth in the first half, and fell behind 6:41 into the game when Falmouth senior Macklin Williams took advantage of a defensive miscue to get behind the Rams’ defense for a goal. Macklin scored both Falmouth goals in a 2-0 semifinal win against Scarborough.

But Gorham came out with greater intensity in the second half, nearly scoring 15 seconds in when Travis Matheson broke free but pulled a shot wide left.

Gorham, which has played without injured 2018 Varsity Maine Player of the Year Andrew Rent since the first game, was also without forward senior Javin Stickney, who was injured while scoring in a 2-1 semifinal win against Portland.

Junior Nolan Gava, who missed two weeks this season with a broken nose, was the next man up.

Gava tied the game for Gorham with 20:11 to play by banging in his own rebound, sticking with a scoring chance in a manner Dos Santos would eventually duplicate.

Gorham Coach Tim King didn’t prescribe to the theory that injuries finally caught up with his team. Instead, he acknowledged his senior class that includes his son Brady and played in four straight regional finals, winning in 2016 and 2018.

“I’ve had these guys for 10 years. There’s been sleepovers at my house and the whole thing, so this is a real special group for me,” King said. “We all really wanted it to happen but in the end, it didn’t, but I’ve been really proud of what they’ve accomplished.”

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