SALEM TOWNSHIP – “You guys are historic,” Coach Darren Allen told his boys soccer team as they gathered in the cafeteria at Mt. Abram High School Saturday evening. The team set new records by winning the state championships for the first time in school history.
After an undefeated season, MTA faced off against George Stevens Academy at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham on Saturday, November 11. The game had a late start due to the preceding game going into double overtime and penalty kicks. Despite the cold winds, the stands were packed with fans.
About 17 minutes into the first half, the first and only point of the game was scored by MTA’s Morgan Thibodeau, who kicked a corner shot which bounced off an opposing player and went into the net.
The game was tough. MTA made a total of seven shots, scoring just one goal, while GSA made three shots, all of which were saved by MTA’s defense.
At the end, however, MTA won the Class C State Championship title for the first time in school history.
On their way back to Mt. Abram High School, the team was escorted through Farmington by Farmington Fire and Farmington Police. Strong Fire, Kingfield Fire, and Carrabassett Valley Fire met them further north and brought them all the way to the high school, where an after party was waiting for them.
Coach Darren Allen spoke to both the crowd at the high school and to his team. “I’ve never seen such a crowd from the bench,” he said. “Thank you so much for the support. It means a ton.”
“It wasn’t probably our best game today, but we got the job done. That’s all that matters.” Allen continued to say that their successful year started last summer at Maine Maritime Academy when the team went down to play. The Maine Maritime coach assembled an all-star team, including some post-graduate athletes, and that team still couldn’t beat MTA. “It just goes to show that these kids will not back down to anybody, and I’m extremely proud of them for that.”
“An undefeated season, I never would’ve dreamt that in a million years. That’s not one of our [season] goals,” Allen said. “We went 19 and O, won a Class C state title, first time in school history. Fifty-four years this school has been here, never been done … you guys are historic.”
With 18 games in the regular and postseason, along with a win at the Mountain Valley Conference Championship, MTA is now 19-0 for the 2023 season. During those 19 games, the team has only given up three goals to their opponents.
The team captains also spoke.
“It’s been amazing throughout the entire season. Today, especially … where we’ve never been, you know, to a state game like that. We really outweighed their student section and fanbase by quite a bit. Even the refs commented on it, like ‘wow, you guys have got some rowdy fans.’” Morgan Thibodeau said. “And again, thank you to the team. It’s been an incredible season, for not only me, but I’m sure the other seniors and the rest of them. Surely not one I’ll ever forget.”
“It’s what gets me out of bed every day, to be honest… ” Thibodeau said. “I’ll miss the trainings after school, playing games, playing for each other, and playing for you guys, who are a great community to play for.”
Payton Mitchell said that MTA always has the best crowd. “We knew this year was going to be pretty special, and it was,” Mitchell said. “We’re going to miss this.”
“Today was amazing,” Sam Cockerham said. “State champions, that’s pretty cool!” Cockerham echoed his fellow captains in thanking their fans, and added thanks to their coaching and training team: Kawika Thompson, Darren Allen, Jason Wing, Glenn Mirlocca, Jeremy Starbird, and Kristina Stevens.
Kawika Thompson spoke briefly, noting that because the coaches and athletes bought into the training programs and gave up game practice time for the athletes to work on preventative maintenance in the preseason and season, they had “a huge decrease” in the typical injuries. Their success is due to their hard work and commitment.
Kristina Stevens, MTA’s Athletic Director, said that there will be sports awards Tuesday night. More information can be expected in the near future.
To end the season, the team gave one final cheer, yelling out their team motto: “AS ONE!”
The MTA boys soccer team is coached by Darren Allen, Glenn Mirlocca, and Jason Wing. Team captains are Sam Cockerham, Payton Mitchell, and Morgan Thibodeau. The team’s players are Bryce Wilcox, Cam Frost-Grey, Killian Pillsbury, Kaiden Longley, Chase Ross, Harrison Thomas, Andrew Rother, Ash Rollins, Landon Russell, Mike Wilkens, Max Dexter, Brennan Mitchell, Bear Rollins, Landen Marble, Josh Finne, Bryce Cote, Brady Mitchell, Jamie Hering, Logan Dube, and Trey Reed.