FAIRFIELD — The approach isn’t sexy or exciting. It’s just basic, brutal, and devastatingly effective — much like the football team that employs it.
Undefeated Lawrence faced its first test of the season Friday night against Skowhegan and its diverse offense. The Bulldogs prepared for that test as they prepare for any other game: With the feeling that a strong week in practice will lead to success on Friday.
The result was that Lawrence’s second team had more first downs in one quarter than Skowhegan did the entire game. The Bulldogs decided the game by the second quarter, and rolled to a 54-12 victory at Keyes Field.
“We prepared hard for that style offense,” Lawrence coach John Hersom said. “We think that we can cover a lot of ground with some of our guys who aren’t our starters, providing the scout team. We get quality reps in practice from those guys, so that our guys on the field are getting the work they need to get done.”
Needing a momentum boost to start the game, the underdog Indians (2-3) instead provided one as they fumbled the opening kickoff and Lawrence’s Robbie Liberty recovered at the Skowhegan 31-yard line. Three plays later, quarterback Spencer Carey (3 of 5, 63 yards) hit Liberty with a 25-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.
Skowhegan bounced right back, using the passing of Adam Clukey to move from its 26 to the Lawrence 25. On second down, Clukey’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Kyle Mclain. After gaining 39 yards on that drive, Skowhegan’s first-team offense gained 15 yards the rest of the way.
“We haven’t gone versus a team like that, so we weren’t really ready for it until we got motivation, and it just clicked,” Lawrence linebacker Luke Lawrence said.
The Lawrence touchdowns poured through after that, interrupted only by an 88-yard kickoff return by Skowhegan’s Kaleb Brown that cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 19-6. Anthony Sementelli had a 4-yard run. Jake Doolan scampered 32 yards for another score. Josh Doolan went untouched 39 yards on a counter play to make it 25-6. And when Xavier Lewis made a diving interception with 53 seconds left in the half, Lawrence went 39 yards in three plays to another touchdown run by Sementelli, and it was 32-6 at halftime.
Little changed in the second half. Lawrence (5-0) botched the kickoff, but Beau Grenier scooped it up and went 77 yards for a score. The score was 48-6 when both teams pulled their starters early in the fourth quarter.
The Indians were so demoralized that their first-team offense ran nine plays in the second half, for a total of minus-16 yards. Clukey, who came in averaging over 200 yards per game through the air, finished 7 of 12 for 55 yards. Running back Tyler Savage was held to two yards on 13 carries. In particular, Skowhegan could not get anything going on runs up the middle.
Sementelli led Lawrence with 76 yards on 15 attempts, while Josh Doolan ran for 73 yards, Jake Doolan ran for 60, Grenier rushed for 49, and Ethan Powers picked up another 34. In all, the Bulldogs gained 447 yards, to 84 for Skowhegan.
“We’ll bounce back,” Skowhegan coach Matt Friedman said. “This is a great group of kids. There’s no quit in my team. They like to play together. They feel like they’re a family. They’ll rally around each other this week, and we’ll be ready for Cony.”
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243