FAIRFIELD — The Lawrence High School football team showed offensive firepower in last week’s win at Falmouth/Greely. It showed no signs of slowing down in the first half of Friday’s home opener at Keyes Field against rival Skowhegan.
But after putting up video game stats in the first half, the Bulldogs stumbled in the second, and needed Zach Nickerson’s recovery of an onside kick with 21 seconds left to wrap up a 35-28 win.
Lawrence is 3-0, while Skowhegan is 0-3.
The Bulldogs scored on each of their five first-half possessions, taking a 35-20 lead into the break. In the second half, Lawrence turned the ball over three times, the last one setting up Skowhegan’s final scoring drive. Zeb Tibbetts caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Cam Green with 21.7 seconds left, and when Spencer Wyman caught Green’s 2-point conversion pass, Skowhegan trailed 35-28 and had a chance to get the ball back with the onside kick. Nickerson recovered it, and the Bulldogs were able to run out the clock.
“It should be a wakeup for everyone that hey, a game can turn if you start making it easy for the opponent. Especially when they’re on your home field and you’re not playing that sharp,” Lawrence coach John Hersom said.
Added Skowhegan coach Ryan Libby: “We simplified things at halftime, changed some personnel around, and we were able to go back to playing basic football.”
Big plays were key for the Bulldogs, who scored on three plays of 48 yards or more. Kristian Larouche’s 48-yard run barely a minute into the game staked Lawrence to an early lead.
Quarterback Dylan Coombs completed touchdown passes of 62 and 78 yards in the first quarter to Nickerson. After Matthew Trombley returned an interception 22 yards to the Skowhegan 18, Coombs hit Larouche with an 11-yard touchdown pass on fourth down for a 28-14 lead. Both touchdown passes to Nickerson were on waggle plays, with Coombs rolling to his left on the first, to the right on the second.
“They were just our normal waggle plays we run every game, that we practice a lot. Our guys just ran good routes and got open,” said Coombs, who threw for 212 of his 222 yards in the first half.
Wyatt Fortin’s 9-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter gave the Bulldogs a 35-14 lead. As it did in last week’s game against Cony, Skowhegan scored on the final play of the first half. This time, Cam Louder caught a 2-yard slant from Cam Green to cut Lawrence’s lead to 35-20 at the break.
Skowhegan kept pace with Lawrence early, marching the Bulldogs score for score on their first two drives. Louder caught a 7-yard pass from Green to tie the score at 7-7 with 7:51 left in the first.
After Tibbetts (five catches for 114 yards)  caught a 64-yard pass to set Skowhegan up at first and goal at the 1, Green ran in for the score to tie the game at 14-14 with 5:13 left in the first.
“Offensively, we started the year really slow. So to come out and match was good. We would’ve liked to have seen a stop on defense to maybe slow (Lawrence) down a little bit,” Libby said.
Nickerson caught three passes for 140 yards, all in the first quarter.
“I don’t know if those things we were doing they hadn’t seen before. We hadn’t seen a couple things they started the game with. We were fortunate to settle down a little bit with our defense and get adjusted to what they were doing,” Hersom said.
Green threw for 258 yards for Skowhegan. Mason Fitzgerald gained 122 yards of total offense for Skowhegan.

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