HAMPDEN — Lewiston wasn’t ready, and Falmouth knew it.

The Blue Devils seemed unfocused in the moments leading up to Saturday’s Class A state title game, and the Yachtsmen jumped on them early, scoring in the first minute and netting four goals in the first half en route to a 5-2 victory at Hampden Academy.

The loss ends Lewiston’s state championship streak at two.

“We respected them a lot and I don’t think they respected us too much going into the game,” Falmouth junior Rion Dos Santos said. “Their coach had the article that said we were one of the best teams, but he said they wouldn’t make it easy for us. They played really well, but I think we came out on top because we played the game as a team.”

Falmouth earned its first corner kick 30 seconds into the game. Noah Piers ripped the ball into the middle of the penalty box and Macklin Williams knocked it into the back of the net for the game’s first goal and 1-0 lead.

“We always go into games saying, ‘If we get a goal early, it’s going to be so much easier,’” Dos Santos said. “And, apparently, that was it. I guess that goal in the first minute, our heads went up really high and we started playing really well.”

The early goal knocked Lewiston onto its heals a bit and set the tone for the match.

“We were not ready,” Lewiston coach Mike McGraw said. “We were not ready right away and that’s my fault. I need to make sure that they’re ready at the beginning at the game. I thought we were a step behind to start the game, and that’s a coaching thing.”

Falmouth’s second goal came with about 26 minutes left in the half when Charlie Adams beautifully set up Gus Ford on the left side of the penalty box for a goal to put Falmouth up 2-0.

The Yachtsmen kept the pressure on early and often, fighting for every loose ball and almost always being at a Lewiston player’s foot when he received a pass.

“We respected them, but we have to play,” Falmouth coach David Halligan said. “A lot of teams don’t attack them and they knock the ball around. We tried to pressure the ball all over the field, and I don’t think they were used to it.”

Dos Santos scored the first of his three goals with 12 minutes to play. He received the ball and shot a laser that bounced off the hands of Lewiston goalkeeper Yahya Heri (eight saves) and into the goal to push the lead to 3-0.

“I felt great,” Dos Santos said. “The pressure just came off my back. I was having a difficult start and I was giving the ball away, so that first goal made it so much easier to play.”

Dos Santos struck again seven minutes later when he headed the ball into the goal off a cross from Joe Dye.

“It was his effort,” Dos Santos said. “He fought for the ball on the sideline, he did 90 percent of the work, I just tapped it in.”

With less than four minutes remaining in the first half, Lewiston’s Bilal Hersi was taken down in the box, and the Blue Devils finally had a solid chance at a goal.

Hersi shot the ball into the back-left corner to get a goal back for Lewiston before halftime, but the damage had already been done.

The penalty kick goal was the only strong chance that the Blue Devils had in the game’s first 40 minutes.

McGraw said he was surprised by how big the Yachtsmen were.

“I underestimated the size,” McGraw said. “I didn’t get a chance to see them this year and they looked awesome. I was told how hard they would go to the ball and they did. It took us by surprise. … Falmouth is everything that coaches told me they were going to be, and they were a lot bigger than I anticipated.”

Lewiston came out of the halftime break in attack-mode.

Suab Nur became a focal point for Lewiston’s offense, and Abdirahman Daud was able to control his wing.

The Blue Devils started to string together more passes, and that led to Hersi’s second goal with 30 minutes remaining in the game. Hersi received the ball in space on the right side of the penalty box and made a move into the middle before finishing, putting the Blue Devils within two, 4-2.

“One of the adjustments we wanted to make was if we got the ball up to him, we had to have some players following up so he could use them and become a wall to give it back to them and possibly find an opening,” McGraw said. “The other one was, we needed to step to the ball a lot quicker and put more pressure on them and we needed to play our own game.”

Lewiston’s offensive rhythm faded after its second score, and Dos Santos buried his third goal of the game off a volley from 20 yards out to put the game away.

Falmouth fended off further Lewiston attacks, usually stopping the Blue Devils from even entering its penalty box.

Lewiston was forced to turn to long passes into the Falmouth defensive zone and hoping for the best, but the physicality of the Yachstmen was too much.

“Size helps,” Halligan said. “We win the balls in the air, pressure forces the ball to go up in the air and the size keeps it.”

After the loss, McGraw lauded the play of his star seniors, who end their careers and two-time state champions and three-time regional champs.

“They’ve done some incredible things this year,” McGraw said. “Especially Bilal, who is a target, and Suab, who is a target, as well.”


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