FAIRFIELD — All season, the Lawrence High School football team has been looking for that emotional, defining win. On homecoming at Keyes Field on Friday night against one of its biggest rivals, the Bulldogs got it.

Lawrence scored a touchdown late in the third quarter, and another in the fourth, to pull away from Skowhegan for a 44-26 Pine Tree Conference B win.

Lawrence is now 3-4 with the regular-season final next week at Messalonskee. Skowhegan, now 4-3, closes the regular season at home against Mt. Blue.

“It’s been awhile since we’ve been on the positive side with Skowhegan. The kids are really happy with this,” Lawrence coach John Hersom said.

Captain Alex Higgins, who ran for 141 yards and three touchdowns, punctuated Hersom’s sentiment when he addressed his teammates after the game.

“I love all you guys,” Higgins said, over and over.

After a Skowhegan turnover, a 4-yard touchdown run by Higgins gave Lawrence a 30-20 lead with 10:00 left in the third quarter. Skowhegan capitalized on a Lawrence turnover a few minutes later, when Aidan Louder caught a 7-yard pass from Marcus Christopher to cut the Bulldogs lead to 30-26.

Skowhegan had a chance to take the lead after it recovered a Lawrence turnover at its own 45 on the Bulldogs next possession, but went three and out, Lawrence then went 55 yards in four plays, scoring on a 10-yard Higgins run for a 37-26 lead with 2:24 left in the third.

“Running hard and running low,” Higgins said of his effort. “Keep my feet chugging.”

“That definitely knocked the air out of us a little. The kids were still fighting, but we were looking for a turnaround at that point and didn’t get it,” Skowhegan coach Ryan Libby said.

After another Indians punt, Lawrence put the game away with a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive, capped by quarterback Dylan Coombs’ 1-yard keeper for a touchdown and a 44-26 lead.

“Our whole offense executed really well,” Hersom said.

Defensively, the Bulldogs did a nice job keeping Christopher in the pocket with pressure. While the Skowhegan QB threw for 225 yards and ran for three touchdowns, including a 41-yard first quarter scamper, Lawrence kept the pressure on. Matt White has three sacks, and Nate Regaldo’s pick at the goal line ended Skowhegan’s last scoring chance midway through the fourth quarter.

“They mixed up their blitz packages and our guys couldn’t pick it up every time,” Libby said.

The first half was much like the game these rivals played in the regular season last year, a 58-56 Skowhegan win.

Both teams found the end zone three times in the first half, with Lawrence holding a 24-20 lead at the break. The difference was a 30-yard field goal for Christian Adams, who kicked for the Bulldogs with a leg injury to Zach Nickerson, the regular kicker, and a missed extra point by Skowhegan.

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