FAIRFIELD — Throughout the season, Lawrence has been one of the top rushing teams in the Pine Tree Conference Class A. In the regular-season finale on Friday night against rival Messalonskee, the Bulldogs went to the air.
Spencer Carey threw long touchdown passes to Anthony Sementelli and Jake Doolan in the first half, and the Bulldogs’ defense kept the Eagles out of the end zone, giving Lawrence a 21-0 win.
Lawrence finished the regular season 9-0, the sixth time in seven seasons the Bulldogs went undefeated in the regular season. Messalonskee heads into the playoffs at 6-3, and will be back at Keyes Field next week as the No. 4 seed to take on the top-ranked Bulldogs.
Carey, who missed one series in the second quarter after injuring an ankle, completed 6 of 8 passes for 228 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
“We worked on our pass protection a lot this week. Our line held up great and our receivers made plays,” Carey said. “I felt like we had more confidence because we worked on it all week. It was ingrained in everybody’s head that we were going to have success with it, and we did.”
Added Lawrence coach John Hersom: “It looked like they were really focusing on the run and they did a great job breaking us down with our run game, especially with the outside stuff. So we decided we needed to throw, just to loosen them up a little bit. We made some great throws early and capitalized on those.”
Midway through the first quarter, Carey connected with Sementelli on a 62-yard touchdown pass to give Lawrence a 7-0 lead. Carey rolled right and hit Sementelli in stride on the play.
“Just blown coverages. We played pretty well all the way around, but they got a couple deep on us,” Messalonskee interim head coach Chapin LaBelle said.
Late in the first quarter, on fourth-and-14 from its own 19, Messalonskee tried a fake punt. Devin Warren’s pass was incomplete, and four plays later, Sementelli ran 1 yard for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead. LaBelle said the fake punt wasn’t planned.
“It was a little miscommunication. It was a read thing. Hey, that’s they way it goes. We’ll clean it up and try better next week,” LaBelle said.
Messalonskee’s next drive ended on downs at the Lawrence 10, and an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Eagles gave the Bulldogs the ball at the 25. On the first play of the drive, Carey and Jake Doolan connected on a 75-yard touchdown play, and Lawrence had a 21-0 lead with 6:36 left in the first half.
Messalonskee made it into Lawrence territory once in the second half, but never threatened to score. The Eagles ran much of the night out of their “I” formation rather than their standard double wing alignment. Corey McKenzie gained 120 yards on 24 carries.
“The offense they showed us tonight was a lot different from what we had prepared for,” Hersom said. “The big thing was, certainly we bent, but we didn’t break. (McKenzie) was close to breaking a couple, and we were able to trip him up and keep him out of the end zone.”
Sementelli ran for 42 yards and had two catches for 92 yards.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242