BRUNSWICK — Keith Kitchens ran for 125 yards and threw a 59-yard scoring strike to Trent Anderson, and Brunswick shook off a pair of late touchdowns to top Messalonskee 20-14 in a key Eastern Class A football matchup Friday.

With both teams coming in at 4-1 and looking to secure home-field advantage in the upcoming playoffs, the Dragons won the battle of the trenches, rushing for 257 yards while holding the Eagles to just 41 on the ground.

“Our run defense was the difference in the game,” said Brunswick coach Dan Cooper. “All week in practice we stressed playing tough and playing physical against the run, and the kids rose to the challenge.”

Brunswick scored on its opening possession, thanks largely to a 67-yard jaunt by Kitchens. A Jordan Pelletier punt had pinned the Dragons on their own 6, but on second down at the 11, Kitchens burst through a huge hole in the middle and cut to the right sideline, finally being dragged down by Gage Landry at the M-22.

Six plays later, quarterback Jason Carter punched it in from the 1, and after the PAT failed, the Dragons led 6-0 with 5:18 left in the first quarter.

Halfway through the second period, Brunswick’s Hunter Ouellette blocked a Devin Warren field goal attempt, and Anderson picked it up at his goal line and carried all the way to the M-46, but Matt Seymour recovered a Dragon fumble two plays later.

Travis St. Pierre threw passes of 26 yards to Sam Dexter and 16 yards to Jake Fenlason helped move the ball to the B-7 before the Eagles turned the ball over on downs.

It was still 6-0 at halftime, but Brunswick again scored on its first possession of the second half. Starting on their own 26, the Dragons moved the ball on the ground to the 41 before Kitchens took a Carter toss, rolled to his left, and hit Anderson behind the Eagle defense for the 59-yard TD.

“It was the first time this year,” Kitchens said of his getting the option call. “It’s really a 50/50 chance of working.”

Cooper saw the percentages a little better. “We always execute that play well in practice,” he said. “They were flowing fast to the ball on defense, and we felt we could take advantage.”

Jordan Rysdam added the extra point to make it 13-0, and Brunswick upped its lead on its next possession after taking over on the M-44.

On fourth-and-3 at the 19, Carter faked a handoff and hit Garrett Erb all alone down the right side for the touchdown, Rysdam’s kick putting the hosts up 20-0 entering the fourth quarter.

“Keith’s play really got us going,” said Carter. “The play-action pass worked for a touchdown against Edward Little, so it’s been a good play for us.”

Up by three scores, Brunswick had to sweat out the game’s final minute, as Dexter fielded a punt at his own 33, went up the middle, and cut to the right to go all the way for a 67-yard touchdown return that made it 7-0 with 47 seconds left after Warren’s kick.

Messalonskee recovered the ensuing onside kick, and St. Pierre (11 for 22, 155 yards) took advantage with a 35-yard TD pass to Landry in the end zone, the PAT pulling the Eagles to within 20-14 with 15.8 seconds remaining.

The next onsides try didn’t go the required 10 yards, and the Dragons held on.

“That was a tough bounce on the first kick,” said Kitchens, “but we kept our composure and came out with a big win.”

“It didn’t feel like a six-point game,” said Cooper, “but we’ll take it.”


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