OAKLAND — Another regular season, another zero in the loss column for the Lawrence High School football team.

For the fifth time in six seasons, the Bulldogs (9-0) ran the table in the regular season, picking up a 25-16 win at rival Messalonskee on a chilly night at Veterans Field.

Lawrence and Messalonskee (6-3) will meet again next week at Keyes Field in Fairfield in the first round of the Pine Tree Conference Class A playoffs, no matter the outcome of today’s game between Brunswick (6-2) and Mt. Ararat (0-8). Should Brunswick lose, the Dragons have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Eagles.

The game turned on two plays late in the first half. Lawrence dominated the first half, outgaining the Eagles 212 yards to 58, and had chances to score on its first two drives. The Bulldogs lost a fumble on the Messalonskee 2 on its first drive, and lost the ball on downs at the Messalonskee 19 on its next possession.

Lawrence finally cracked the Eagles’ defense when Shaun Carroll scored on a 27-yard run with just over a minute left in the second quarter. Carroll took a pitch from quarterback Alex Leathers and ran down the right sidelines, eluding Messalonksee defenders at the goal line. Chad Martin’s kick gave Lawrence a 7-0 lead.

On the first play of Messalonskee’s ensuing drive, Lawrence’s Aaron LaFrance sniffed out a tight end screen, stepping in front of Jake Fenlason to return an interception 38 yards for a touchdown with 49 seconds left in the first half. Leathers ran for the two-point conversion, and Lawrence had a 15-0 halftime lead.

“I was waiting for that the whole game,” LaFrance said of his pick. “(Fenlason) just kind of bumped the D-end. He just kind of rolled out and I just snuck right up, creeped in and intercepted it.”

In the first half, Messalonskee struggled to find a running game from its tight, double-wing formation. In the second half, the Eagles worked primarily out of the shotgun, and moved the ball. Travis St. Pierre hit Sam Dexter with a 20-yard touchdown pass with 9:12 left in the third quarter, and Messalonskee was back in the game.

“You’ve got 11 guys in the box, you’ve got to spread things out a bit. I was very happy with my football team. We came back in the second half and responded to adversity,” Messalonskee coach Wes Littlefield said.

“I don’t even think we expected (passing) that much. We were really expecting the double wing, like they did in the first half,” Leathers said. “They had a lot of success in the second half with that passing.”

Lawrence’s backup quarterback, Leathers played for the injured Spencer Carey, and moved the Bulldogs consistently up the field. Leathers ran for 101 yards and threw for 49, and his 52-yard run on a bootleg play early in the third quarter set up his 4-yard touchdown run, giving the Bulldogs a 22-7 lead.

“Since I have done it a little in the past, it definitely wasn’t uncomfortable,” said Leathers, who also had an interception in the fourth quarter. “I didn’t really expect (to run as much). We knew if we spread the defense, there’d be holes to run through. The guys up front did a good job.”

The Eagles pulled within a touchdown with nine points in the final two and a half minutes of the third quarter. After a high snap on a punt attempt, Leathers stepped out of the back of the end zone for an Eagles safety. On the ensuing possession, Corey McKenzie caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from St. Pierre (164 yards passing, three interceptions) to cut Lawrence’s lead to 22-16.

Martin made a 25-yard field goal with 6:33 left in the game to give the Bulldogs a little breathing room.

Dexter had six catches for 89 yards, while Gage Landry caught three passes for 69 yards.

Anthony Sementelli ran for 94 yards on 14 carries for Lawrence.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

 


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