BANGOR, Maine — The numbers are just mind-boggling, if perhaps still somewhat under the radar beyond the immediate Maine schoolboy soccer community.
Bangor Christian extended its winning streak to 55 matches with a methodical 8-1 victory over Penobscot Valley of Howland late Thursday afternoon.
The four-time defending Class D state champion is now 81-3-1 since that title run began at the outset of the 2009 season — and the Patriots haven’t even trailed in a match since Nov. 6, 2010.
“We want to keep it going,” said BC senior captain Zac Palmeter of the winning streak, “but I think we’re shooting more for the gold ball than just keeping it going.
“But we only have one more regular-season game, so keeping it going means winning the gold ball.”
Coach Aaron Wilcox’s club is 13-0 this fall after graduating 10 seniors and losing another player via transfer from last fall’s undefeated club.
Yet the Patriots have continued their dominance through a possession attack featuring short, accurate passes and team speed used defensively to defuse nearly all of their opponents’ scoring chances.
“The composure is pretty good, almost too good, too lax at times, which is something we try to address,” said Wilcox. “But it’s really a team. We spend a lot of time together, we play as a team and do whatever it takes together to succeed.”
While Penobscot Valley’s Jarrett Priest denied Bangor Christian its 12th shutout of the season by scoring from amid a scramble in front of the net late in the second half, the Patriots’ defensive effort has been a reflection of their overall success.
Bangor Christian has outscored its opponents 80-2 this season, and even more remarkably has shut out 26 of its last 28 opponents during the last two years.
“This team is similar to last year because there’s a lot of experienced guys out there who love the sport of soccer and play in season and offseason because they just love to do it,” said Bangor Christian senior goalie Bryon Boutot. “One thing that stands out about this year’s team is that we’ve really jelled. We’re really close, it’s like we’re all brothers out there.”
Boutot and Caleb Peary combined to make eight saves in goal for the Patriots, who outshot 6-4-3 Penobscot Valley — the No. 6 team in Eastern Maine Class D entering the match — by a 34-8 count.
Jay Bishop and Ben Miller each scored twice to pace Bangor Christian, while Boutot and Kyle Holmes each had a goal and an assist, Peary and Brandon Messer also scored, Cody Collins contributed two assists and Joel Schmidt and Josh Palmeter had one assist apiece.
“We were pretty pumped because it was Senior Day and we’ve got a lot of seniors coming onto the home field for the last time,” said Boutot. “We definitely came out wanting to win this one.”
Bangor Christian is scheduled to conclude its regular season at Machias on Saturday before embarking on its quest to become the first boys soccer team in Maine to win five consecutive state championships.
It’s likely only after that pursuit of history concludes that the Patriots will take time to consider what this team and its predecessors have accomplished.
“You look at all that stuff and you think, ‘Wow,’” said Wilcox. “But then you think, ‘Enough of that, let’s focus on what we’ve got to do.’ At the end of the season I’ll sit down and put some of that together for our banquet, but it is incredible what they’ve been able to do.”