Senior Brady Darnell netted the game-winner on a long direct kick in overtime as Gray-New Gloucester held together when necessary in a 3-2 win over No.4 Mountain Valley in the pouring rain at Chet Bulger Field .
The action turned in to a physical battle, with both teams generating several scoring opportunities.
The dramatic ending came when No. 5 Gray-New Gloucester was awarded a free kick due to a Falcons infraction. Darnell received a short pass and was squared up when his arching boot from 35 yards out went over the outstretched arms of Falcons goalie Jacob Beauchesne (22 saves) and into the back of the net with 9:43 left in the extra session.
"Bryce (Hayman) got the ball over to me," Darnell said. "I really had nothing on my mind at the time. But I knew that I had a chance to shoot the ball."
Gray-New Gloucester advances to a regional semifinal game against No. 1 Maranacook on Saturday. Mountain Valley concludes its season at 12-3.
The extra action was necessary because Aleski Pirttijoki scored with 3:24 remaining in regulation. The play had materialized on the left side and the ball was booted across the crease, Pirttijoki, an exchange student from Finland, redirected a shot in to the upper right side and just inside the post past keeper John-Henry Villanueva.
"It is a tough way to lose. I felt we controlled play the last 10 minutes of regulation and I was surprised the game went in to overtime," Mountain Valley coach JT Taylor said. "After we went down 2-1, I changed the formation to a 4-4-3 because we needed to move the ball and produce more scoring chances. They had been controlling the ball in the midfield with (Bryce) Haywood."
Gray-New Gloucester had gone ahead 2-1 when it refocused and responded with a goal by Ben Rogers with 17 minutes left to play. Rogers received an advancing pass from Liam Stewart and tapped the ball past Beauchesne on the short side.
The Patriots opened the scoring on a goal by Hayman following a corner kick. Josiah Carter assisted on the play with 44 seconds left in the first half.
"We knew Mountain Valley would be a strong team, but they had come out playing more defensively early on," Gray-New Gloucester coach Andy Higgins said. "Our (objective) was to try and slow down rushes by (Sonke Hanneken and Pirttijoki), but obviously we didn't do a good job at times. We needed to distribute and move the ball."
Hanneken tied the score 1-1 when he rushed in on the left side and drilled the ball past Villanueva.
In a wide open first half, each team produced golden opportunities. Pirttijoki had dribbled in on the right post and beat Villanueva dive, but defender Josh Bouvier had rotated back and redirected the ball off the post.
The Patriots' Stewart had shot on net, but the rebound came out and Nick McCann was denied with an arm save.
"The game could have gone either way," Taylor said. "We came back from a goal down twice. You certainly cant ask for more. I am proud of these guys. They left it all on the field."