Last season, the Lawrence High football team opened the season with four straight losses, before rallying to four consecutive wins to earn a spot in the Pine Tree Conference Class B playoffs. This season, the Bulldogs began with back-to-back losses to Skowhegan and Brunswick, and it looked like they were beginning to repeat the cycle.

Since then, however, Lawrence has reeled off four straight wins. The Bulldogs can all but clinch a playoff spot with a victory Friday over Nokomis, and even have a shot at hosting a first round playoff game.

“We’ve got to continue to focus on the fundamentals. Continue to focus on ourselves and get better at some of the things we recognize. I think the kids have had a good approach to keeping everything in perspective,” coach John Hersom said. “We get quality work done during the week, respect the opponent, and have a good attitude. All of those things are key for us right now.”

Defense has been a constant over Lawrence’s four-game win streak. The Bulldogs have allowed just over a touchdown per game while averaging a shade over 30 points. Hersom gave credit to the senior class for leading the way.

“It all starts with our seniors providing good leadership, staying positive. No one really panicked early on during the season. We stayed true to what we felt we could do well this year, and we continue to develop our schemes. A lot of credit goes to the kids for staying positive and being willing to work,” Hersom said.

There’s still room to improve. Over the final two games of the regular season, Hersom would like to see the Bulldogs cut back on penalties.

“Late in the games, we still tend to wear down some. We make some mental mistakes,” Hersom said. “Overall, I think we’ve gotten better. We haven’t turned the ball over too frequently.”

The Bulldogs will get defensive end Alex Higgins, who missed last week’s game at Gardiner with an injury, back this week.

“He came off that injury OK. He’s going to be fine,” Hersom said.

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It’s not unusual for games between teams fighting for playoff positioning to get chippy. That was the case on Saturday when Maine Central Institute and Dexter met in a battle of undefeatens. MCI won 36-2. The Huskies had two personal fouls, while Dexter had four.

With another big game this week against unbeaten Orono, MCI coach Tom Bertrand said he stressed to his team the importance of composure in these games.

“We talked to them and said we’re not going to get involved with that. We knew coming in there’s a chance that was going to happen. It’s happened to us before, and we have to fight that propensity to go back after it. We try to tell our guys not to get involved with it. It’s hard to do when emotions get going,” Bertrand said.

Nobody on either team was ejected on Saturday, so nobody is forced to sit out this weekend’s games. The winner of Friday’s Orono-MCI game will hold sole possession of first place in the Little Ten Conference. Dexter (5-1) has a tough game at Mount View (4-2) on Saturday.

The Little Ten Conference chose to play a nine-game, full round robin schedule this season in order to simplify the playoff selection process, but there is a scenario in which the final two playoff spots come down to a coin flip. If Mount View beats Dexter, and then Dexter loses to Orono on Oct. 21, and Bucksport wins out, there would be three teams with 6-3 records. MCI and Orono would have the top two seeds, and it would come down to a coin flip to determine the third and fourth seeds.

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MCI’s Bertrand and Brunswick coach Dan Cooper are among the 50 high school football coaches from around the country contending for US Cellular’s Most Valuable Coach. Fans have until Oct. 17 to log onto and vote for Bertrand, Copper, or any of the other 48 coaches nominated from around the country.

Two winning coaches will be honored at the Under Armor High School All-American Game, and their schools will win $5,000.

As of Monday night, Bertrand was is 21st place, with 1.7 percent of the vote. Cooper was in 49th place, with 0.3 percent of votes.

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Around the state: Biddeford plays at Kennebunk on Friday in a battle of undefeated teams. The winner will have control of Class B South… Assuming Madison, Mt. Desert Island, and Winslow each finish the regular season 7-1, Friday’s game between winless Waterville and winless John Bapst will decide first place in the Big Ten Conference. Opponents win percentage is a big portion of the Crabtree point formula used to determine playoff seeding. Madison does not play John Bapst, while MDI does not play Waterville. The rest of their schedules are the same, so a Waterville win gives first place to Madison, a Bapst win gives first place to MDI… Brunswick has a state-high 308 points. The second-highest scoring team is Wells, at 283 points… Spruce Mountain has won three straight games by a combined score of 138-6. The Phoenix enter this week’s game against rival Leavitt off back-to-back shutouts… It’s been a while since Leavitt missed the playoffs, but with four consecutive losses, the Hornets (1-5) are in danger of doing that.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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