FAIRFIELD — They say some running backs can smell the end zone. With Ethan Powers, it’s not a matter of scent, it’s a matter of time.

“That’s when I want to punch it in,” Powers said. “Don’t waste any time, and don’t waste a carry.”

Powers, a senior running back, scored four touchdowns Friday night, none on runs of longer than 11 yards. The Bulldogs opened the Pine Tree Conference Class B season with a 29-8 victory over Gardiner at Keyes Field.

“We did lose quite a few people,” said senior defensive end Beau Grenier, who was a big part of a Lawrence defense that held Gardiner to 23 total yards in the first half. “But this class coming up, we wanted to prove to everyone that we ain’t different. We may have a small class, but we’re still going to go out there and hit hard, and be the teams that everyone wants us to be.”

Gardiner did not get a first down until there were about 5 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter and Lawrence had a 23-0 lead. The Bulldogs drove 58 yards on their first possession, capped by Powers’ 11-yard touchdown run. One play after Lawrence recovered a Tigers’ fumble, Powers went 10 tough yards for a score and a 14-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Grenier blocked a punt for a safety, and Dustin Simpson-Bragg returned the ensuing free kick 25 yards to the Gardiner 35-yard line. Powers (17 carries, 131 yards) scored from the 2, and it was 23-0 Lawrence at the half.

Gardiner clamped down on defense in the second half, but still gave up a score when Lawrence’s Jesse Dodge recovered a bad snap at the Gardiner 3 and Powers went in on the next play. Meanwhile, Gardiner’s offense turned to junior running back Brad Weston. After rushing three times for 20 yards in the first half, Weston finished with 21 carries for 151 yards, including a 43-yard burst with 30 seconds remaining in the game for the Tigers’ only touchdown.

“That was a change we made at halftime,” Gardiner coach Matt Burgess said, “and apparently it was a good one.”

Both teams shuffled two quarterbacks throughout the game. Burgess said he would split time between Matt McKenna and Eli Fish until one separated himself from the other, while Lawrence used both Jimmy Leathers and Cody Martin under center.

“We wanted to continue to do that,” Lawrence coach John Hersom said. “Jimmy plays a little bit of defense as well. So does Cody. We don’t want them to get worn down on either side of the ball. We wanted to see if we could get them more reps tonight, (and) try to use them starting out equally. We’re kind of evaluating and assessing them, still.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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