WINSLOW — Waterville and Winslow had even more incentive than usual to win on homecoming Saturday.

The still-heated rivalry aside, both teams knew the game’s outcome could have postseason ramifications, too. Not only would a winner get a big boost in the Heal points, the loser may be haunted by a missed opportunity.

At Kennebec Savings Bank Field, the high stakes showed in the emotions of the players long before and shortly after Jimmy Fowler scored with 2:55 left in the first overtime to give Winslow a 2-1 triumph over Waterville.

“How sweet is it winning homecoming?” senior midfielder Cody Doughty asked. “It feels amazing. It’s just as good beating those guys.”

Spencer Miranda scored the other goal for Winslow (6-1-1) in the first half. Michael Oliveira scored the equalizer for Waterville (5-2-1) in the second half.

Winslow owned most of the second half but had only a lost lead to show for it. Waterville got off only three shots in the half, but knotted it up when Oliveira got free at the far post on a corner kick and punched it past Winslow goalie Jake LaPierre (nine saves) with 23:48 remaining.

The Purple Panthers nearly took the lead with a little over 15 minutes left but Peter Mayhorn’s bid from 10 feet bounced off the near post, leading Mayhorn to fall to the ground in frustration.

The Black Raiders may have been frustrated that a 21-10 shot advantage got them little more than the prospect of a tie to match the one at Waterville on Sep. 8, but they didn’t sit on the lead.

“They were saying that we were more frustrated and they were getting in our heads but we were getting in their heads,” Fowler said. “That’s how you get ready for the playoffs right there. You play until the end.”

“We went back to the way we like to play, which is try to possess it a little more,” Winslow coach Aaron Wolfe added. “I think in the first half we were more back-and-forth, more direct over the top a lot.”

Winslow went into attack mode with three forwards to start overtime. Doughty served a long pass to Fowler, who fired a quick shot past Waterville’s Jackson Aldrich, who played well in net for the Panthers with 19 saves.

“We had a few chances and Cody just kept putting it over with nice, chipped balls in the air,” Fowler said.

“They only had two on Jimmy and I just put it in hoping for a good ball to go, and it did, and Jimmy put it in,” Doughty said. “We knew we were going to get one the whole game. It was just a matter of when.”

Miranda took a Doughty feed and lofted a rainbow shot over a charging Aldrich 9:03 into the game to give Winslow the edge in what was otherwise an evenly-played first half.

“He had no other shot because it was bouncing in there and the goalie’s coming out, so he just tried to put it up over,” Wolfe said. “It was up there for awhile.”

Seniors Justin Burgher and David Selwood, junior Ben Smith and sophomore Michael Wildes led Winslow’s defense, which didn’t allow a shot on goal for more than 40 minutes.

“Our defense was phenomenal. They kept us in the game,” Fowler said.

The win gave the Black Raiders a fairly narrow lead over the Purple Panthers for the third spot in the Northern B Heal points. While there is still almost half a season left, it could be tough for Waterville to make up ground unless Winslow stumbles in the next three weeks.

“(Waterville coach) Kerry (Serdjenian) and I were talking about how neither of us have many games left with teams that are worth a lot of (Heal) points,” Wolfe said. “It was a huge game for one of us to win to get all of those points because the other one won’t get those points.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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