FAIRFIELD — A fake punt in the first half kept a scoring drive going for Windham. When the Eagles tried another fake punt late in the third quarter, it set up a scoring drive, but this time for Lawrence.

After sniffing out Windham’s second fake punt try near midfield, Lawrence needed one play to score what became the game-winning touchdown, a 53-yard pass from Dylan Coombs to Zach Nickerson. The Bulldogs got a stop inside their own 10 in the closing minutes, and held on for the 25-18 win over Windham at Keyes Field. Lawrence is now 6-1, while Windham is 3-4.

“We have a lot of confidence in running that (fake punt), that we could get the yards we needed. It’s one of those situations, on the road, I felt it was the right call. We were close,” Windham coach Matt Perkins said.

Windham running back Ben Elliott, right, eludes Lawrence tacklers during a Pine Tree Conference Class B game Friday night in Fairfield. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson

The play, a direct snap to Matty Babb on fourth and 3 at the Lawrence 48, went for just 1 yard, giving the Bulldogs the ball near midfield. On the first play of Lawrence’s drive, Coombs hit Nickerson deep down the middle for the go-ahead score.

“We saw it the first time, and we knew that they’d do it again. We had to overcome it, and we had to get it done,” Lawrence linebacker Kristian Larouche said of stopping the second fake.

Expecting another fake, Lawrence coach John Hersom kept his defense on the field for the fourth down play.

“Not having played them for a number of years now (these teams last played in 2004), we don’t know all the things they like to do. That was a nice play they executed, and we learned from the first time. We had our defense stay out there and react to the fake. If they do punt it, we don’t even try to return it,” Hersom said.

The Eagles had a final chance to tie the game, taking over at the Lawrence 27 with 6:35 left in the game. Windham drove to the Lawrence 8, but on fourth and 7, quarterback Will Ledbetter was forced to roll to his right to avoid the rush, and his pass to the end zone was incomplete. Lawrence took over with 1:46 left, and gained a pair of first downs to run out the clock.

“We have two fronts we use. We were running that 4-2 with just four backers with the hybrid secondary kids. I decided to give it a different look,” Hersom said. “It seemed like we had a good first down play. The second down play was pretty good, so I said, I’m going to stick with it. We just chose to change up the front and see if it could help us, and it did.”

For Lawrence, slowing down Windham’s offense was a matter of reading the motion and containing Ledbetter.

“Me and Matthew Trombley, we’re the linebackers, and we had to figure out what to do to stop it. One person got the guy in motion and the other got the quarterback. That’s what we had to do,” Larouche said.

Lawrence led 18-11 at the half, and the Eagles took the first drive of the third quarter for the tying score. On fourth down and 8 from the Lawrence 15, Ledbetter connected with Jason Scott on a 15-yard touchdown pass. Ledbetter finished with 136 yards passing.

“I thought the pass game was great. (Ledbetter) was really seeing it. I thought the guys were running great routes, and the line was blocking. We really grew up tonight,” Perkins said.

After slow starts, both the Lawrence and Windham offenses found their groove late in the first half.

Nic Blaisdell’s 14-yard touchdown catch from Coombs with 30.8 seconds left in the half, and Larouche’s conversion run gave Lawrence an 18-11 halftime lead.

The Bulldogs go-ahead score came just 26 seconds after Anthony Gugilizza’s 31-yard touchdown catch of a Ledbetter pass. Babb caught the 2-point conversion from Gugilizza on a fake kick, giving the Eagles a short-lived 11-10 lead.

Lawrence’s Paul Morneau returned the ensuing kickoff 41 yards to the Windham 44. Coombs hit Chris Dow for a 39-yard gain, and Blaisdell scored on the next play.

The teams traded punts early, and Lawrence’s first score came when a 17-yard punt set the Bulldogs up at Windham’s 20. After Morneau ran 19 yards, Nate Regalado punched it in from the 1 for a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

The teams traded field goals in the second. First, Windham’s Boden Sebasteanski made one from 22 yards.

The Bulldogs responded with a 10-play drive to the Windham 8. Nickerson drilled a 25-yard field goal to give Lawrence a 10-3 lead.

“It was a night of not too many gimmes. You had to earn everything out there,” Hersom said.

Regalado gained 66 yards on the ground for the balanced Bulldogs. Larouche added 48, while Morneau ran for 41 yards.

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