FAIRFIELD — The Lawrence High School football team left some points on the board in its game Friday night against Cony.

Not a problem. Gunner McAllister and Tyler Larouche ensured the Bulldogs wouldn’t need them.

Larouche ran 10 times for 95 yards, including a crucial touchdown run, and McAllister carried eight times for 77 yards while also recording three interceptions and a back-breaking punt return as Lawrence upended Cony, 36-12.

“We wanted to come out and get back to playing Lawrence football,” Bulldogs coach John Hersom said. “Good, strong defense, being able to run the ball. I think we accomplished those things tonight.”

Just in time, too. The win, Lawrence’s second straight, lifts the Bulldogs to 2-2, keeping them alive and well in the chase for playoff seeding in the North region of Class B.

“We prepared extremely hard all week,” McAllister said. “Tuesday and Wednesday are some of our harder work days, and we did a great job.”

The Bulldogs dominated a first half in which they led only 13-0, but extinguished any hopes Cony had in the second. A 36-yard field goal by Zoli Nagy upped the lead to 16-0, and after the Rams went three-and-out, McAllister took the ensuing punt, beat the Cony coverage to the sideline and weaved his way down the left side for a touchdown, sidestepping a final pair of defenders to cap off a 57-yard return that put the Bulldogs up 23-0 and the Rams (1-3) in trouble.

“I was just running as fast as I could, (tried to) find the hole and the guys had a great block for me,” McAllister said. “I cut it back and it was just there. It was awesome.”

“He’s pretty electric,” Hersom added of the senior, who also picked up 77 yards on eight carries. “He’s certainly a big part of our team, on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game. He’s a super athlete and we’re just really happy we’ve got him.”

Cony responded when Taylor Heath (7-of-25, 122 yards) found Jordan Roddy (3 catches, 75 yards) for 44 yards on the way to a 21-yard pass to Anthony Sousa, cutting the gap to 21-6, but it was Larouche’s turn to deliver the blow to the comeback hopes on the next drive. The junior fullback had a 20-yard run to the Cony 29, then scored from 15 yards out two plays later to make it 29-6 with 2:05 left in the third.

“Our goal was to play complementary football tonight,” said. Hersom, whose team beat Mt. Blue last week, 7-0. “And last week, we really lacked that. We played great defense but we were limited in the other parts of our game. We really worked on it this week.”

There was more insurance on the way in the fourth when Riley Parlin’s 1-yard run made it 36-6 with 8:15 remaining. The Rams got a 1-yard run from Ashton Cunningham with 1:06 to go to round out the scoring.

“They obviously took it to us on the ground, like most teams have this year,” Cony coach B.L. Lippert said. “We’ve just got to find the right formula to stop people. We haven’t found it yet.”

Without it, the Rams couldn’t get off the field when the game began slipping away. Lawrence pounded the Cony front, churning out 330 yards on 45 carries.

“Quite frankly, they outplayed us,” Lippert added. “They out-coached us and that’s reflected on the scoreboard.”

Cony didn’t fare much better on offense — the Lawrence defense held Ram ball carriers to 75 total yards, and a secondary led by the ball-hawking McAllister picked off four of Heath’s passes.

“Our defense was unstoppable tonight,” McAllister said. “We read our keys, we watched the quarterback. It was just a great feeling.”

Lawrence took the lead in the first half by going through the air, as junior quarterback Braden Ballard (5 of 9, 34 yards) capped off a pair of scoring drives with first a 17-yard pass to Dylan Bailey and then an 8-yard toss to Devon Webb, arced perfectly over the Cony defense into the back corner of the end zone.

It was a good start — and yet, the Bulldogs should have had more. Lawrence twice lost the ball on fumbles within five yards of the Cony end zone, the second of which came at the 1-yard line at the end of a 33-yard run by Larouche. Two possessions later, Devon Webb seemed to beat the edge for a 7-yard touchdown, only for a holding penalty to call it back — an infraction that stung even more when a 31-yard field goal attempt sailed wide.

The errors kept Cony in the game, and Lippert tried to hammer the message home to his players at the break.

“I said ‘They had the chance to knock us out, and they didn’t,’ ” he said. “If we put one on that says 13-7, they’re going to go ‘Uh-oh, we had a chance to knock them out and we didn’t,’ and now maybe they get a little nervous. We just never were really able to make a play.”

Not against a Lawrence team that, after a good first half, had an even better second one in store.

“We certainly addressed that at the half, to keep our poise and continue to battle,” Hersom said. “I think the big thing was our kids understood they needed to have a good, positive attitude in the second half and not dwell on some of those mistakes that we had.”

Drew Bonifant —621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM


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