PORTLAND — Walter Conrad’s broken right foot kept him out of all of Yarmouth’s regular season and limited his time during the playoffs.

On Saturday night, it was the spark that made the Clippers back-to-back champions.

Conrad and Eric LaBrie scored in the first half and Yarmouth went on to defeat Erskine 3-0 in the Class B state soccer championship at Fitzpatrick Stadium on Saturday night.

Yarmouth (16-1-1) earned its 10th state title in school history with a dominating performance, outshooting Erskine 15-5 to spoil Erskine’s Cinderella season. The Eagles (14-5-0) were making their first state championship game appearance after rising out of Class B North as a 10th seed.

Conrad, a senior who was making his first start after missing most of the season with a broken foot suffered in preseason, scored on a through ball from Luke Groothoff with 11:02 left in the first half to make it 1-0.

“It felt really good,” Conrad said. “Luke Groothoff was taking the ball outside left and I decided it would be a good idea to get behind the defender. It just happened to bounce my way in a funny way and I was in the right spot with my right foot.”

“When he scored the first goal, it was storybook,” said Yarmouth coach Mike Hagerty. “The irony is that he scored it with his broken right foot (and) he’s so heavily left-footed. He’s never complained once (about the injury)”

LaBrie, a freshman who scored the game-winner in overtime of Yarmouth’s regional final win over Maranacook, scored unassisted with 4:33 remaining.

Yarmouth outshot Erskine 7-4 in the half, then, in the second half, used its remarkable skill and speed to hold the Eagles without a shot on goal for over 36 minutes.

“They’re an incredible team,” Erskine senior defender Josh Reed said. “You can tell they’ve been playing forever. They play off-season. They do all-year-round stuff and it shows.”

The Eagles’ best chance came with the game still scoreless midway through the first half when Trevor Hubbard crashed the net on a shot that got behind goalie Cal Owen (five saves). But Yarmouth senior defender Andrew Beatty was able to clear it from in front of the goal line before Hubbard could put it into an empty net and give the Eagles the lead.

“Cal came out and got a hand on it,” Beatty said. “It went up, and I was just tracking behind to get maybe a second ball. The ball took a bounce and, as I was trying to judge where it would go, I was too slow, so it bounced right at my chest level. I managed to get a knee up and knee it out of bounds.”

“It completely changes the momentum (if Erskine gets the first goal),” Reed said. “You can’t really say if it would have changed the outcome of the game but it definitely would have made a difference, especially in their mentality and our mentality.”

Yarmouth’s stranglehold on the game tightened as the clock ticked down. They immediately put pressure back on Erskine to start the second half with a free kick in which Groothoff somehow split the Eagles’ wall with a hard, low kick. Senior goalie Denver Cullivan (12 saves) dove to his left to knock it away and keep the score 2-0.

Nicholas Kamra made it 3-0 12 minutes into the second half by taking a cross from Christopher Pidden and beating Cullivan to the lower left from 10 yards out.

“They’re a great team. They went through the South to get here,” Erskine coach Phil Hubbard said. “They can possess in short, quick touches and get up the field so fast. (Patrick) Grant going up the field like that. We’ve never seen anything like that before. And on the turf, they play with a lot of speed and quickness. It’d be two touches and, bang, they’re up the field in two seconds.”

Erskine, which beat No. 7 Mount Desert Island, No. 2 Winslow, No. 3 Presque Isle and No. 1 Ellsworth on the road to earn the trip to Portland, graduates a dozen seniors.

“It was an incredible run,” Reed said. “I wouldn’t have rather been on any other team. Coming in as a 10th seed, no expectations. No one would have said that Erskine Academy would have been here. Going to Ellsworth and winning the Northern Maine final and then coming here against a good team like Yarmouth was a dream come true.”

Randy Whitehouse – 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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