DEXTER – It was a good old-fashioned shootout between neighbors and rivals who split during the regular season.
And when the final whistle blew, the Piscataquis Community High School Pirates of Guilford had earned an Eastern Maine Class C schoolboy soccer championship by upsetting Dexter 4-3 in a scintillating game Friday.
Mike Wharff scored a pair of goals and assisted on Jarrod Robinson’s pair as the Pirates built a 4-1 lead and withstood late goals from Dexter’s Aaron Woodman and Dan Beatham.
Fifth seed PCHS improved to 12-4-1 and will face Traip Academy of Kittery in next Saturday’s state C final.
Second seed Dexter wound up 11-3-3.
Wharff opened the scoring just 1:24 into the game and, after Rick Stewart equalized, Robinson struck back with 13:49 left in the first half. Wharff and Robinson scored 11:24 apart in the second half before Woodman made it 4-2 with 7:38 left and Beatham scored with 1:18 remaining.
The Woodman brothers, senior Aaron and junior Ethan, dominated the midfield in the first half with their speed, tenacity and skills as Dexter had a decided edge in play and an 18-7 shots-at-goal advantage.
“We had a lot of missed shots in the first half,” said Stewart.
But talented senior strikers Wharff and Robinson created problems for the young Tiger defense.
Wharff scored first when the ball glanced off a Tiger defender and he ran on to the ball and roofed a 14-yard blast over goalie Chris Eastman.
Stewart tied it when Beatham flicked a pass to the middle of the penalty area and he sliced a 15-yarder past Ryan Martell.
Robinson made it 2-1 when he accepted a Wharff pass and found himself in a one-on-one with a Tiger defender.
“I made a quick move, a little quicker than the defender, and put a hard shot to the [far] corner. I was thinking ‘I’ve got to score.’ I didn’t even see the goal. I was looking down at my feet. I just kind of knew where it was and I fired it,” said Robinson.
PCHS controlled the first 30 minutes of the second half, limiting Dexter to just five shots at goal.
Senior attacking midfielder Roy Burdin dropped back and took it upon himself to mark the dynamic Aaron Woodman.
“I tried to keep him from getting the ball. I noticed they were getting too much open space with the ball [in the first half] and I had to take that away,” said Burdin, whose pass set up Wharff’s second goal.
Wharff put the ball “between a defender’s legs” to create a one-on-one with Eastman before finding the far corner.
A little later, Wharff slipped a pass ahead to Robinson, who ran on to the ball and tucked it inside the far post past the helpless Eastman.
“We made some stupid mistakes,” said Stewart. “We’d let a few slip and, bam, they’d be one-on-one with our goalie.”
“They were quick up front,” said Eastman.
Woodman scored with a screened bullet from 30 yards out and Beatham converted a Woodman rebound that was parried off the cross bar by Martell.
It was Beatham’s 24th goal but he was effectively limited to three shots by Justin Davis.
“He’s a good player. He’s quick,” said Beatham.
Martell made six saves on 31 shots and Eastman had three stops on 19 shots.