Sports

Fort Kent ball control sinks Pirates

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FORT KENT — A hat trick from senior Dillon Drew was not enough for the visiting Piscataquis Community High School Pirates to overcome the ball controlling offense the Fort Kent Warriors brought to the team’s opening contest of the Class C North boys soccer playoffs on Oct. 24. The Warriors won the game, 6-3, in dominating fashion.

“It was a good game. It’s too bad we let up those three goals,” Fort Kent coach Jermaine West said following the win.

West and head coach Oniqueky Samuels, both of whom played on championship teams at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, know the value of dominating other teams and never letting up.

“Overall we played well. But, we need to keep teams down,” West said. “We’ll go back to the drawing board and correct what we need to correct.”

What was working well for the Warriors was the offense, which dominated play, literally, from the opening whistle.

Fort Kent freshman Noah Martin scored just 15 seconds into the game, when he dribbled the ball through several Pirate players and bounced one in from outside the 18-yard box.

Teammate Kayden Nadeau booted in a followup goal 10 minutes later, off a cross from Niko Naranja.

Several minutes later the Warriors were up, 3-0, when Naranja netted his own goal off an assist from Martin. Naranja would score again in the first half when Pirate keeper Sean Kimball was unable to control a rebound off a shot from Sam Johnson.

The Warriors kept the pressure on the entire first half, with impressive ball control, good spacing and nice passing. Fort Kent also mounted a strong defense, turning back most Piscataquis attacks.

Drew gave the Pirates a bit of a spark at the 17:29 mark of the first half, though, when he used footwork and speed to drive the ball down the left side of the Warrior defense and then kicked one past Fort Kent keeper Reece Pelletier.
Johnson drove home Fort Kent’s fifth goal of the first half after Naranja salvaged a long pass deep in the Piscataquis left corner, spinning it around to find Johnson wide open inside the box.

Austin Plourde opened the second half with a goal, giving Fort Kent a commanding 6-1 lead.

Piscataquis’ Drew was not done, however, and with just under 20 minutes left in the game lofted a nice shot over Pelletier.

Drew’s persistence ignited several other Pirate counterattacks, and the Warriors found themselves having to race back to their own end a few times.

The Fort Kent keeper was unable to prevent Drew from netting his third score, when he and Pirate teammate Eben Cooley countered and cut the Fort Kent lead to 6-3.

The Warriors’ unrelenting offensive pressure simply cost the Pirates too much time, however, and as the clock wound down Fort Kent players and fans knew they would be hosting a semifinal game.
Pelletier made five saves in the game, while Pirate keeper Kimball was forced to make a dozen. The Warriors outshot Piscataquis 21 to 11.

The Warriors improved to 12-1-2 following the win.

“It was a good game,” Drew said following the loss. “I had a few good shots. They are the first place team. I wish them good luck in the playoffs.”

Piscataquis head coach Trey Gilbert went into the game feeling confident, he said, having ended the regular season with some quality wins.

“We came out a bit flat,” Gilbert said after the match. “They won the ball well and they had good passing. It was physical game.”

With the loss, the Pirates finished the year with an 8-7-1 record.

St. John Valley Times photo/Don Eno
BATTLE FOR THE BALL — Piscataquis’ Fischer Cobb pushes Fort Kent’s Kayden Nadeau off the ball during the Oct. 24 Class C North quarterfinal in northern Aroostook County. The top-seeded Warriors defeated the No. 8 Pirates 6-3.

St. John Valley Times photo/Don Eno
FOOT RACE — Fort Kent’s Austin Plourde and Piscataquis’ Johan Halvorson hustle down the sideline for a loose ball during the Oct. 24 quarterfinal match in Fort Kent.

St. John Valley Times photo/Don Eno
TEAMWORK — Fort Kent’s Sam Johnson (19) and Dylan Bernier (5) work to press the ball downfield against Piscataquis players Matt Robinson (17) and Connor Chase (13).

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