Brewer’s Andrew Hodgins tries to keep control of the ball from Bangor's Beckett Parkin (left) and Josh Partal during their soccer game Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, in Brewer. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Colby Smith and the rest of the Brewer boys soccer team had been waiting two years for the opportunity they got Wednesday night — to play in a countable playoff game.

The third-ranked Witches made the most of that chance, as Smith headed in a corner kick from teammate Andrew Hodgins with 3 minutes, 33 seconds left in the second overtime to enable Brewer to outlast No. 6 Edward Little of Auburn 3-2 in a Class A North quarterfinal at historic Doyle Field.

“It’s a lot of emotions,” said Smith, a senior midfielder and captain for coach Ben Poland’s club who with the rest of the Witches was limited to a regionalized pod schedule last fall due to COVID-19.

“Obviously last year we wanted to be able to play in the playoffs like this, and to be able to this year means everything to us.”

The victory advances Brewer to a semifinal scheduled for Saturday at No. 2 Camden Hills of Rockport, a 1-0 winner over No. 7 Mount Ararat of Topsham in its quarterfinal played Tuesday.

Brewer (9-4-2) edged 11-3-1 Camden Hills 4-3 in overtime in their mutual regular-season finale on Oct. 19.

Edward Little ended its season at 9-6-1.

Neither Brewer nor Edward Little had scored since Witches’ sophomore Braden Carr headed another corner kick by Hodgins past goalie Eli St. Laurent some 73 minutes and 46 seconds of playing time earlier to forge a 2-2 tie with 7:19 left in the opening half.

The headers by Carr and Smith were almost identical, with Hodgins taking the corner kick from the left side of the goal and lofting the ball just beyond the center of the goal crease. Carr and Smith each ran toward the goal line to head the ball into the net from close range, giving St. Laurent little time to react.

“We’ve been capitalizing off those many times this year,” said Hodgins, a junior. “I was just told to put the ball near the keeper. We put a couple of guys on him, and we got two headers off them. That’s where I was trying to put it each time, just around the keeper.”

Carr’s goal capped off a wide-open first half during which Brewer capitalized on the wind at its back and Edward Little found success on the counterattack.

The Red Eddies, who had played Brewer to a 1-1 stalemate on Sept. 28, took a pair of one-goal leads during the opening 40 minutes on goals by junior forward Mohamed Adow.

His first goal came 10:36 into the match off a short lead pass from junior midfielder Jack Thompson. Adow then lofted a 25-yard shot from the middle of the field shot just beyond the reach of Brewer goalie Grady Vanidestine and under the crossbar into the upper left corner of the net.

Brewer tied the game 7 minutes later when junior Jed Gilpatrick dribbled the ball toward the net along the left end line, then kicked it around St. Laurent and toward the center of the goal crease, where it deflected in off the right foot of an Edward Little defender.

Adow restored the Red Eddies to a one-goal lead with 12:06 left in the half. Again Thompson set up the scoring threat with his work in the midfield, which led to a pass to Shaheen Ekal on the left wing.

Ekal looked to have his own one-on-one bid against Vanidestine but instead centered the ball to Adow, who one-timed a left-foot shot into the net.

The match settled down after intermission, with Brewer more than holding its own despite working into the wind thanks in part to strong contributions by the likes of seniors Ashton Reardon and Ben Lord, junior Brady Saunders, and freshman Cade McKenney while Vanidestine and St. Laurent prevailed as their team’s last line of defense.

“Honestly we hadn’t played a game in a full week and we were just trying to get the rust off and keep it going,” Smith said. “We were finally able to execute in the second half and it worked out good for us.”

Adow had two threatening chances in the first 15-minute overtime, and Ekal hit the crossbar with 6:30 left in the second extra period.

But Brewer eventually worked the ball back into its offensive end and earned its 11th corner kick of the chilly, windy evening.

“We’ve been working it up the field the whole game and finally got a good shot at another corner,” Smith said. “Andrew just played a perfect ball right to me and I was able to get my head on it and it went right in.”

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...