HAMPDEN — It’s getting so the Bangor Christian boys soccer team almost gets a feeling of comfort whenever they see the Richmond Bobcats warming up on the other side of the field before a state championship game.
Maybe it’s the familiarity…
For the second straight year and the the third time in the last six years, the Patriots won a Class D state title against the Bobcats, this time via an offensive explosion in the second half en route to a 5-2 victory on a clear, chilly night at Hampden Academy’s artificial turf field.
“I’d love to be on the (winning) side against those guys,” said Richmond coach Joe Scribelitto. “They took advantage of their opportunities. When you’re playing a quick team, if you make a mistake, they’ll usually penalize you for it and they did.”
Juniors Bradley Wilcox and Rem Poulin each scored two goals to lead the 16-1-1 Patriots’ opportunistic offense, which scored three goals off deflections.
“Richmond came out to play in the first half and I don’t know that we matched that intensity until the second half,” said Wilcox, who scored BC’s first goal to tie the game with 43 seconds left in the first half. “We are kind of scrappy, but we scored more off those kinds of plays than usual today.”
Wilcox took control of a loose ball on the left side near the 18, faked a defender, and shot the ball into the right corner.
His second score was off a scramble in front of the net. Zach Sirois rifled a shot that was deflected back out by the goalie right to Wilcox, who wasted little time rifling it into the right side of the net.
Poulin made it 2-1 Patriots just 6:12 into the second half as his curving corner kick from the left side skimmed off a defender and into the left side of the net. His second goal came after Wilcox’s, with 22:26 left in the game, when Nate Kutz’s high direct kick from about 30 yards out sailed over a cluster of defenders and bounced right back off the right goalpost to Poulin, who kicked it into the left corner.
“Yeah, that second one came right off the post and I came up to it and put a nice volley right into the goal,” Poulin said. “We got some good bounces.”
That, they did. BC’s fifth goal came with 3:06 to play as Sirois got a loose ball and rushed toward the net unaccompanied by a defender. Richmond goalie Tyler Harrington came out to wrap the ball up before Sirois booted it, but Sirois kicked it just as Tyler slid into it and the ball squibbed over Harrington and bounced into the net.
The 11-4-2 Bobcats dominated the first half with their superior size and surprising quickness. Freshman Nate Tribbett put them up 1-0 with a an unassisted goal off a deflected pass from 30 yards out with 16:38 left in the first half. But BC’s tying goal in the closing seconds, plus the three-goal flurry in an 11-minute span in the second, put the Bobcats back on their heels.
“We just want to learn what they do and expose whatever their weakness is. Our game is to possess the ball and have a good attack,” said BC coach Aaron Wilcox. “Last year they were a lot bigger than we were, but they were still much bigger this year and they had a lot of speed to go with that.
“We had more speed, which makes it difficult to match up Bradley. And that opens things for our guys on the other side if they try.”
The young Bobcats, who start two freshmen, got their other goal from Thomas Carter, who scored from 15 feet away on a shot off a deflected pass with 15:51 left.
Patriots senior goalie Tyler Alexander finished with seven saves on nine shots.
Richmond goalie Tyler Harrington saved six of 11 shots. Freshman goalie Dustin Sullivan came into the game late, but faced no shots.
It’s the third overall title for the Patriots, who won their first in 2005.
“Twenty years ago when I came back here to work, we started a peewee program and got our middle school programs going, but with all the other youth leagues, our players are a lot more skilled now,” said Aaron Wilcox.