MARS HILL, Maine — The Central Aroostook boys’ soccer team came into Friday’s home match against Fort Fairfield undefeated, including an early-season victory over the Tigers, and averaging almost eight goals per game.

Fort Fairfield, having been to three consecutive Class D regional championship games and capturing a state title in 2015, put that big game experience to work. The Tigers held the Panthers to a single goal and used a dominant performance in the second half en route to a 3-1 victory.

Fort Fairfield overtook Central Aroostook for the No. 1 spot in the Class D North Heal Point standings and improved to 9-3, while the Panthers, now in second place, dropped to 9-1.

“I think we’re starting to show our growth,” said Tiger coach John Ala, whose team started off the season by losing two of its first three matches. “We’re playing better team soccer and our chemistry is definitely improving.

“Our pace of play is improving, too. We’re getting less touches on the ball and starting to get everybody involved. Rather than just looking for one or two of the older guys, we have some younger guys gaining confidence and it’s good to see,” Ala added.

All of Fort Fairfield’s goals were scored by players who didn’t start last season. Sophomore Dawson Watson tallied on a rebound of a shot off the post by Lorenzo Viano 6:39 into the game.

The Panthers got the equalizer with 13:52 left in the half as junior Hunter Wardwell, the team’s top goal scorer, took a pass from senior Colby Kingsbury and lined a hard shot from 10 yards away past FF goalkeeper Malcolm Langner.

The shots were equal in the first half, with each squad getting off eight, but Fort Fairfield was at its best after intermission. The Tigers controlled possession and outshot CA by a 12-5 margin over the final 40 minutes.

“We lost three nights ago at Fort Kent [the No. 1 team in Class C], but were up 1-0 at the half and that was a confidence builder,” Ala said. “This time at halftime with it being 1-1, the guys wanted it that much more and they really stepped it up.”

The duo of Jonah Daigle and Viano hooked up for both second-half goals, the first coming on a breakaway 8:08 in. Viano, a senior exchange student from Italy, collected Daigle’s long pass at the top of the 18 and Panther goalkeeper Brayden Bradbury came out to try to snuff out the play. Viano then chipped the ball ahead to himself and directing it into the open net.

Thirteen minutes later, Viano tallied again off a Daigle feed to clinch the victory.

“[Lorenzo] is used to playing quick-paced soccer and that’s kind of rubbing off on some of the other guys,” Ala said. “We just have a solid group right now playing the game the right way.”

The Tiger defense, led by senior veterans Dylan Jandreau, Colin Goshorn and Jared Harvey, kept the Panther attack at bay. Harvey was also a key part of the offense with long throws that led to some excellent chances.

Langner saved five of 13 shots in goal for Fort Fairfield, while Bradbury made seven saves on 20 shots for Central Aroostook.