FAIRFIELD — It’s not often a momentum swing is multiple choice, but with all the big plays the Lawrence High School football team made on Friday night, it’s tough to pick the one that swung the Pine Tree Conference Class A championship game in the Bulldogs’ favor.

Was it the 32-yard touchdown pass Alex Leathers threw to Aaron LaFrance in the last minute of the first half? Was it the Chris Doyon sack, combined with Bryant Wade’s 42-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown that increased Lawrence’s lead in the third quarter? Perhaps it was the fumble recovery on Bangor’s next offensive play, which set up yet another Lawrence scoring drive.

Pick one of those, or a handful of others. Playing in front of a crowd of approximately 3,000 fans at Keyes Field, the Bulldogs never trailed, never punted, and took a 40-14 win over Bangor to win the conference title.

“We had several (big plays),” said Lawrence halfback Shaun Carroll, Jr., who ran for a game-high 183 yards and three touchdowns. “I’m blessed to play on this field, honestly.”

Lawrence, now 11-0, will face either Cheverus or Thornton Academy next Saturday in the Class A state championship game at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland, at a time to be determined. Bangor ends the season at 8-3.

“The better team won. We were outmatched, outcoached. We got as far as we could and we were done,” Bangor head coach Mark Hackett said. “I’m proud of our effort. I don’t think we ever gave up. I think they took it to us and just took the game away from us.”

It will be Lawrence’s first trip to the state championship since 2007.

“It feels like it was just a while ago. Now that you think about it, it’s been a little while,” Lawrence head coach John Hersom said. “We’re really excited about it. The kids have done a great job all season long, hanging in there.”

With 2 minutes, 33 seconds left in the second quarter, Bangor’s Cody Chapman scored his second touchdown of the game, this one on a 1-yard run, to tie the game at 14-all. Lawrence answered with a six-play, 80-yard drive, taking the lead for good when Leathers rolled to his right and hit LaFrance with a 32-yard touchdown pass.

“That was our waggle play. That’s the play Alex spoke about as being our top play. That was big,” Hersom said.

The drive was kept alive when, on 3rd and 7 from the Lawrence 23, Carroll went 24 yards on a draw play.

“They made three or four great plays on that drive,” Hackett said.

After forcing a Lawrence turnover on the first possession of the second half, the Rams gave the ball right back when the Bulldogs made the defensive play of the night. Bangor quarterback Carl Farnham was sacked by Chris Doyon and fumbled. Wade scooped the ball up at the Bangor 42, and returned the turnover for a touchdown and a 27-14 lead with 8:35 left in the quarter.

“Chris Doyon was on a blitz and smashed him,” Wade said. “I’m not the fastest person. I was just running for my life.”

That play, coupled with Farnham’s fumble on Bangor’s next play, killed any offensive momentum the Rams gained in the first half, when they put together scoring drives of 75 and 74 yards. In the second half, Lawrence tweaked it’s defensive front, moving a tackle over a gap rather than a man, and putting an end over space, too.

“We switched our alignment with our front, because they were hurting us weak side running the ball.

The end and the tackle on that side just adjusted their alignment a little bit,” Hersom said. “I don’t know if that made a huge difference, but that was the only adjustment we made on defense.”

Added Wade: “They’re big boys, they’re real big boys. We’ve got to stay low if we’re going to defend them. That was the key, crab charging and staying low all night.”

Lawrence converted Bangor’s second turnover of the third quarter into points when Carroll scored on a 4-yard run with 5:42 left in the quarter. Carroll added a 5-yard touchdown run with 8:20 left in the game.

Carroll gained 128 of his 183 yards in the first half, including a 65-yard touchdown run with 4:27 left in the first quarter to give Lawrence a 7-0 lead.

“I had a huge hole and I just took it, took advantage of it. I knew if I got any opening, I could provide for my team and score,” Carroll scored.

After gaining just two yards on its first two possessions, Bangor put together a pair of scoring drives. Chapman’s 9-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter tied the game. After Lawrence regained the lead on a 4-yard pass from Leathers (91 yards passing) to Spencer Carey,

Chapman (12 carries for 85 yards) capped an eight-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
After Lawrence took the lead with 28 seconds left in the second quarter, the Rams fumbled the kickoff back to the Bulldogs. Lawrence couldn’t capitalize, however, and went into the half with a 21-14 lead.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242
[email protected]


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