FAIRFIELD ā€” On Friday night at Keyes Field, Skowhegan and Lawrence played a season-opening game worthy of November.

It took an interception by Sean Savage with just over a minute to play to clinch the 33-32 win for Skowhegan, which scored a pair of third quarter touchdowns to overcome a six point halftime deficit.

Lawrence cut Skowhegan’s lead to one point, 33-32 when Braden Ballard scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 2:50 to play. The touchdown was set up by back-to-back big plays. First, Isaiah Schooler caught a 25-yard pass from Ballard on third down and 14 from the 46 yard line. On the next play, fullback Tyler Larouche ran 20 yards up the middle to the 1.

The Bulldogs decided to go for two points, but Skowhegan was able to bring down Devon Webb for a loss on the conversion try to preserve its one point lead.

W”e decided, we’ve got this opportunity,” Lawrence coach John Hersom said about going for two points and the lead. “We tried to get outside with Devon. They made a good defensive play. They kind of had a guy sitting and waiting for it. It was a good game. It was fun. Everyone got pretty wound up for it. That’s good for us, that’s good for them.”

Lawrence then recovered the onside kick at midfield, but a holding pentalty on first down put the Bulldogs in a deep hole. On fourth-and-14, Savage intercepted Ballard’s deep pass, killing Lawrence’s last chance.

Lawrence scored with 19 seconds left in the first half, when Ballard connected with Jared Dodge on a 23-yard touchdown pass, to take a 26-20 lead into the half. The Bulldogs gained 338 yards of offense in the first half, but Skowhegan’s defense tightened, holding Lawrence to 107 yards in the second half, and the Indians’ offense came to life with big plays to take the lead in the third quarter.

“Honestly, we just started executing better. We didn’t make a lot of changes. Mostly it was guys running to the ball and tackling,” Skowhegan coach Matt Friedman said of his team’s defensive improvement in the second half.

With 6:38 left in the third, quarterback Garrett McSweeney hit tight end Russell Bradley down the seam for a 39-yard touchdown pass and a 27-26 lead. After a Lawrence turnover on the ensuing kickoff, Skowhegan took over on the Bulldogs 38 yard line. Six plays later, McSweeney went to Bradley again, this time for a 15 yard touchdown pass and a 33-26 lead.

“We just tried to keep the tempo up. Coaches sent in the plays, and we just did our jobs,” McSweeney, who threw for 278 yards and ran for 44, said.

The teams traded scores in the first half. Lawrence took the game’s opening drive 67 yards, scoring on Riley Parlin’s 12 yard touchdown run. Skowhegan answered when Cam Barnes caught a 36 yard touchdown pass from McSweeney. John Blodgett’s 31 yard touchdown run with 5:12 left in the first quarter gave the Indians a 13-6 lead.

Gunner McAllister’s 84 yard touchdown run in the final minute of the first quarter tied the game at 13-13. McAllister (130 yards rushing, 29 yards receiving) added a 36 yard touchdown run early in the second quarter to give Lawrence a 19-13 lead. With 7:23 left in the first half, Skowhegan retook the lead, 20-19, when Barnes returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown.

John Bell had five catches for 100 yards for Skowhegan. Bradley had three catches for 65 yards, while Barnes added six catches for 85.

Skowhegan lost Blodgett to a shoulder injury late in the first quarter.

Travis Lazarczyk ā€” 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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