Panther Pride: Boys Soccer Celebrates First State Title

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MARS HILL, Me. (WAGM) - For the first time in school history, the Central Aroostook Panthers are the Class D boys state champions. The Panthers are a tight knit group that banded together to overcome second half deficits to bring a gold ball back to Mars Hill.

"Everybody is just on cloud nine, everybody's so happy," Senior goalie Brayden Bradbury said. "We're just so grateful to be given the opportunity and be able to go down there and win our first state championship."

The past two years, the season ended in the regional finals and this team finally pushed the panthers over the top.

"It was just amazing, it was such a rush," Senior midfielder Hayden Kingsbury said. "After three years of making it to the regional finals then finally this year being able to go to states and put two goals away and win by one that's just amazing, it's the best feeling ever."

The Panthers scored four goals combined in the regional and state finals, all of them scored by Bryan Anthony but he didn't want all the credit.

"Big shout out to Hayden Kingsbury for assisting three of my four goals and Jacob Carville for assisting one," Anthony said. "It means so much to get this after three years of making it to Eastern Maine's, finally winning this year and bringing it home to coach, it means a lot."

After Wednesday's overtime win in the North final, head coach Wally Endy said he was always the bridesmaid never the bride, while that comment earned him some good-natured ribbing at the reception, he's now finally a state champion. He's been coaching the seniors since they were in 6th grade.

"It's special, because they've developed with me," Endy said. "To see them mature and just play a sport that I love to the extent that they play it, they're devoted."

And it meant a lot to the seniors to finally get Coach Endy that elusive gold ball.

"I remember before the Northern Maine game we all said that we were going to play this one for him," Bradbury said. "He's put more time and more dedication than any coach I've ever seen so he deserves this more than anybody."

Endy and Anthony are back next year when they'll try to defend their title, but for now they're going to enjoy being the first team in Central Aroostook's history to win a boys state championship.