NEWPORT — As bad as September was for the Lawrence High School football team, October has been divine.

After four straight losses to open the season, Lawrence (3-4) won its third straight game with a 41-20 victory over Nokomis on Saturday. The victory sets up an intriguing showdown at rival Messalonskee in the regular season finale Friday night, with the victor likely securing a Pine Tree Conference Class B playoff berth.

“It was a good effort. We had a good week of preparation. We really felt like we had to take (Nokomis) real serious. I think our guys responded all week,” Lawrence coach John Hersom said.

Lawrence was solid on both sides on the ball, out-gaining Nokomis (0-7) 381-161 in offensive yards.

“We’ve been stepping up defensively quite a bit and we changed up our offense, and it’s been working for us. We’re focused more on run,” Lawrence guard/linebacker Kyle Robinson said.

Robinson’s 17-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:20 left in the second quarter gave the Bulldogs some breathing room going into the half. Robinson dropped back into coverage and reached to his left to snag an Andrew Haining pass in the middle of the field before cutting to the left sideline. Robinson dove to the goal line, stretching just enough to reach the pylon to give Lawrence a 20-12 lead.

“I just saw the ball go up. I was able to run underneath it and get my hands on it. I saw the sideline and everyone else was blocking for me,” Robinson said.

The Bulldogs pulled away in the third quarter, scoring 21 points to push their lead to 41-12. Quarterback Braden Ballard threw three passes in the third quarter, and each went for a touchdown. A 25-yard pass to Seth Powers with 7:12 left in the third gave Lawrence a 27-12 lead. Two minutes later, Ballard connected with Devon Webb on a 20-yard touchdown pass. With just under two minutes left in the third, Ballard found Mitchell Cushing for a scoring pass for the second time in the game. This one, a one-handed grab by Cushing, went for 21 yards.

Ballard completed 7-of-12 passes for 118 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception.

The game started as a back-and-forth affair, with the Bulldogs and Warriors trading the lead four times in the first quarter. Nokomis opened the game with an 87-yard kick return for a score by Aaron Nichols. Lawrence answered with an eight-play, 66-yard drive that ended with Ballard hitting Cushing for a 32-yard touchdown. Zoli Nagy’s kick gave Lawrence a 7-6 lead.

With 2:26 left in the first, Mike Massow caught a 70-yard touchdown pass from Hainer, giving the Warriors a 12-7 lead. That lead lasted 31 seconds. On the second play of the ensuing drive, Powers (six carries for 132 yards, three catches for 38) broke down the right sideline 88 yards for a touchdown and a 13-7 Lawrence lead.

“Give them credit for starting the game off on the right foot with a nice kick return, but after that we responded pretty well,” Hersom said.

Massow had three catches for 101 yards for the Warriors.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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