NORTHPORT — As darkness enveloped the Point Lookout turf field on an overcast, rain-soaked late afternoon, the Hope Hawks patiently and methodically shone light on one proven fact — they were, indeed, the most talented Busline League middle school coed soccer team in 2021.

The Hawks confirmed that claim on Monday, Oct. 25 when they scored one goal in the first half and three more in the second to defeat South Bristol 4-0 for the league crown.

South Bristol’s Blake Gamage, left, and Hope’s Alanna Smith. Photo by Ken Waltz

The game was exciting on many levels, not the least of which it allowed the culmination of a pitch season after the young student-athletes did not enjoy one in 2020 due to the pandemic.

On Monday, Hope, which only lost one game this season (to Appleton), controlled much of the play and the outstanding all-around performance of South Bristol goalie Wesley Poole kept the Mariners within striking distance.

Hope’s Gage Esancy, front, and South Bristol’s Jayden Orne, among others. Hawk Thea Laukka is at left. Photo by Ken Waltz

The finale included a contrast of opponents as Hope was ranked first in the North Division and South Bristol fourth in the South. However, the Mariners made a strong postseason push to advance to the championship game.

Hope, coached by Jeff Payson, includes Ari Spear, Jude Wight, Oakley Grotton, Ewan Howard, Kaley Lincoln, Landon Merrifield, Gage Esancy, Connor Harris, Thea Laukka, Alanna Smith, Tucker Whitley, Nolan Ames, Alec Brown, Micah Fagonde, Carter Grant, Norah Grotton, Mikey Hall and Wilder Haskins.

South Bristol’s Colin Mitchell (11), among others. Photo by Ken Waltz

South Bristol, coached by Shane Merrill, includes Robert Bennett, Adelaide Connolly, Sam Kress, Ava Larrabee Cotz, Mackenzie McDonald, Andreas Eraklis, Colin Mitchell Drew Nichols, Wesley Poole, Helen Rice, Christopher Savage, Eddie Seiders, Grace Bryant, Chris McDonald, Eva Pendleton, Nikolai Brank, Avalee Brightman-Uhl, Mercy Buchlwalder , Freya Drum, Blake Gamage, Michael Mitchell, Jayden Orne and Amelia Rice.

Hope had a bundle of chances to score but each time the South Bristol defense — anchored by the goalie — came up with key plays to thwart the high-flying Hawks. The Hawks did score with about a minute left in the first half and at 21, 18 and seven minutes remaining in the second.

Hope’s Tucker Whitley. Photo by Ken Waltz

The Hawks capitalize on four scoring chances, the first, and eventual game-winner, late in the first half when Whitley put a corner kick at the mouth of the goalie and Ames finished it. That gave Hope the only goal it needed.

However, the Hawks added three second-half scores in the 30-minute period as Laukka, Ames and Fagonde put the ball in the net.

Brown also played well in net for the Hawks.

The regular-season standings for coed soccer (with records unavailable) showed — North: Hope, Lincolnville, Searsport and Appleton. South: Bristol, St. George, Nobleboro, South Bristol, Jefferson and Vinalhaven.

In earlier playoffs, No. 1 Hope beat No. 4 Appleton by forfeit, No. 2 Lincolnville beat No. 3 Searsport 4-3, No. 1 Hope beat No. 2 Lincolnville 3-1, No. 4 South Bristol beat No. 5 Jefferson (score unavailable), No. 3 Nobleboro beat No. 6 Vinalhaven 10-0, No. 4 South Bristol beat No. 1 Bristol 1-0, No. 2 St. George beat No. 3 Nobleboro 1-0 (overtime penalty kicks) and No. 4 South Bristol pulled its second straight upset with a 2-1 double-overtime win over No. 2 St. George.