OAKLAND — It wasn’t exactly what the Bulldogs drew up Friday night, but it was good enough to extend their season.

Braden Ballard’s 71-yard TD pass to Seth Powers with 10:39 left gave Lawrence a 17-13 win over Messalonskee and a berth in the Pine Tree Conference Class B playoffs. The victory also simultaneously dashed the Eagles’ playoff hopes.

On his first play from scrimmage after Jack Bernatchez’s 10-yard TD run put Messalonskee up 13-10, Ballard dropped back to pass and found the speedy Powers over the middle for the touchdown.

“It wasn’t designed to Seth, but I saw him beat the safety and he can out-run anybody in this league, so I gave it to him,” Ballard said.

“I split the secondary and just ran as fast as I could,” Powers added. “I trusted Braden could get it there and he did.”

“It was a very good high school football game,” Messalonskee coach Brad Bishop said. “Our free safety bit on something, I don’t know what. But the sophomore quarterback, Ballard’s going to be a good one. It was a hell of a play.”

Powers wrapped up the win with an interception at the Bulldogs’ 10-yard line with 1:46 remaining.

“I knew they were going to pass so I dropped back in my coverage. I saw (the receiver), got underneath him and just played the ball in the air,” Powers said.

Ballard completed 7-of-12 passes for 160 yards. Mitchell Cushing scored the other touchdown for Lawrence (4-4) on a 1-yard run.

Bernatchez ran for 146 yards and both touchdowns for Messalonskee, including an 82-yard run. The Eagles finished 3-5.

Lawrence forced a punt on Messalonskee’s opening drive, taking over at its own 5 yard line. They took a 7-0 lead in nine plays, capped by Cushing’s run.

Messalonskee drove into Lawrence territory on its first three possessions of the game, but came away empty each time. The Eagles converted on two fourth-and-1 plays on a nearly 10 minutes only to be stopped on a third fourth-and-1 at the Lawrence 14 midway through the second quarter.

“We were getting mad. We won’t be denied. We’re just trying to make a stop and get our offense in good field position,” Powers said.

The Eagles took over at their own 29 on their next possession and Bernatchez, who returned after sitting out the last couple of games with a leg injury, raced straight up the middle to tie the game with his 81-yard scamper.

Lawrence regained the lead on Zoli Nagy’s 34-yard field goal with 2:58 left in the third to make it 10-7. But the Eagles answered with a 10-play, 64-yard drive, helped by a personal foul by the Bulldogs, and took a 13-10 lead on Bernatchez’s 10-yard TD run. After a holding penalty negated the extra point, the Eagles missed the 29-yard PAT attempt. “I did have the feeling it was going to come down to one score and it was going to come down to our line,” Ballard said. “Our line won the game for us.”

“It’s a great feeling,” he added. “We’ve got four more.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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