WATERVILLE — The Lawrence football team is peaking just in time for the playoffs.

The Bulldogs pulled off their most important win of the season a week ago and followed that up with a 34-14 win Friday over Messalonskee in the regular-season finale for both teams at Harold Alfond Stadium on the campus of Colby College.

The Bulldogs finish at 4-4 and will likely host a game next week in the opening round on the Pine Tree Conference playoffs. Messalonskee ends its season at 0-8.

The Bulldogs were just too big and strong for the undermanned Eagles, who suited 15 varsity players backed up by members of the freshman team.

“We were more of a razzle-dazzle team and we decided to change it up a little bit and be just a running football team just like we used to be,” senior fullback Alex Higgins said. “It’s been working real well for us.”

Higgins finished with 110 yards on 13 carries and added two pass receptions for another 41 yards, including a touchdown. Teammate Isaiah Schooler rushed for 91 yards on 13 carries and scored three times while junior Nate Regalado ran for 79 yards on nine carries.

Sophomore quarterback Dylan Coombs threw sparingly but completed four passes for 79 yards, including scoring tosses of 13 yards to Higgins and 16 to tight end Logan Fortin.

“It’s really starting to gel right now with the kids knowing their assignments,” Lawrence coach John Hersom said. “We’ve got some quickness with our skill kids.”

The Bulldogs took the opening kick and went 80 yards in 12 plays for the score. The 6-foot, 205-pound Higgins, who was the star in last week’s upset of Skowhegan, dragged tacklers for a 28-yard gain, then later scored on a pass to the right flat that finished with him reaching the ball over the goal line.

The Eagles answered quickly with sophomore Deklan Thurston finding Patrick Chisum down the left sideline on their first play from scrimmage. Chisum wrestled the ball away from a defender, spun to the sideline and scored from 68 yards out to tie the score at 7-all.

Messalonskee was out-manned, which became evident as the half wore on. Schooler caught a 22-yard pass from Coombs on the next drive and capped it with an 8-yard scoring run. Christian Adams’ kick made it 14-7. Schooler would score on an 18-yard, tackle-breaking run in the second quarter to make it 21-7 at the half.

“A lot of it is our line,” Higgins said. “Our line has really stepped it up this year. We’ve got some kids who have never played in those positions before and they’re doing it very well.”

Coombs completed his second touchdown pass to make it 28-7 then gave way to junior Nate Bickford, an outside running threat. The Eagles picked up a late touchdown from junior Josh Goff (13 carries, 96 yards), who made a nice cutback and scored from 29 yards out.

“We went out there with 15 guys tonight,” Messalonskee coach Brad Bishop said. “It’s tough. The backups are freshmen and the freshmen played last night. Our kids play hard. We lost two games on the last play of the game. We’re not discouraged, it’s just frustrating because there’s no numbers.”

The Eagles will have a new facility on their campus next year which should generate some interest.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” Bishop said. “Hopefully, that will be appreciated too, to get some interest going and the kids excited.”


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