SKOWHEGAN — The Andrew Trombley and Lucas Campbell connection came through for the Lawrence football team Friday night.

Not once, but twice. And on both sides of the ball.

Trombley ran for the game-winning touchdown moments after finding Campbell for a drive-saving completion on fourth down, then caught a game-sealing interception off a Campbell deflection as Lawrence edged Skowhegan 27-20 at Reginald Clark Memorial Field.

“I have never felt closer to my guys in my entire life,” Trombley said. “(Last week, in a 56-3 win) it was just working. Tonight, when things didn’t work, we persevered. … After two weeks like that, knowing we can beat (teams) in the tough games, that’s just going to set the tone for our entire season.”

And this one was tough. Lawrence (2-0) appeared to be running away with the game after charging out to a 20-0 lead, only to see the River Hawks score the next 20 points to tie.

“I think it’s good for us to experience it this early in the season,” Lawrence coach John Hersom said. “We kind of assumed we had that character to battle and keep grinding, but they definitely hung in there tonight. That was good to see.”

Skowhegan, which dropped its opener to Cony 36-35, fell to 0-2 despite being only a couple of plays from a 1-1 or even 2-0 mark.

“We were behind the 8-ball going in with nine kids quarantined, and in the first quarter we lose another two starters,” coach Ryan Libby said. “To have our kids that just haven’t gotten a lot of reps early in the season step up that way was huge.”

Skowhegan pulled even when Adam Savage (23-of-31, 214 yards) found Marshall Easler (five catches, 73 yards) for 12 yards on a clutch 4th-and-9 connection with 7:54 to go. Lawrence, which had been kept off the board its last three drives, got a pair of 12-yard runs from Nate Grard (nine carries, 70 yards) to move to the Skowhegan 32, but the drive ran into trouble when the River Hawks stiffened to force a 4th-and-9.

Lawrence’s Nathan Grard (11) rushes for a touchdown as Skowhegan defender Quintcey McCray pursues during a Pine Tree Conference Class B game Friday night in Skowhegan. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The River Hawks brought pressure and had Trombley in their grasp, but the senior threw toward the middle where Campbell was flanked by a pair of Skowhegan defenders. Despite the coverage, Campbell made the contested grab for 19 yards to extend the drive, one that finished two plays later when Trombley faked a handoff and ran around right for the go-ahead touchdown with 4:10 to go.

“He saved my butt,” Trombley said, pointing to his junior tight end. “I got smacked when I threw that ball. That is a superstar right there.”

“I was just running across the field, I saw a bunch of bodies on my quarterback, and I was just thinking ‘You could throw this up,'” Campbell said. “I caught it, (and) three seconds after, I went absolutely crazy. It took a second, but it kicked in.”

It loomed large because of what happened after. Savage completed his first four attempts to get the ball from the Skowhegan 41 to the Lawrence 36, then, after a false start, broke free for 15 yards on 3rd-and-12 to reach the 26-yard line. Two plays later, with 41 seconds remaining, he went to complete a pass to the left flat.

“They were running that play all night,” said Campbell, who was playing defensive end. “I see him look up, I throw my hands up and it ends up hitting my helmet and bouncing off.”

It caromed straight into the air, and Trombley was waiting underneath for the clinching interception.

Lawrence linebacker Matt Trombley (27) shows the football after recovering a Skowhegan fumble during the first half of a Pine Tree Conference Class B game Friday night in Skowhegan. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“That was probably one of the best feelings I’ve had in my entire life,” Trombley said.

Lawrence struck first on its opening drive with a 10-yard run from Grard, and the senior scored again from 25 yards out to make it 14-0. An 11-yard run two drives later from Matt Trombley (18 carries, 84 yards) made it 20-0 with 5:59 to go in the first half.

The River Hawks fought back. Leaning almost entirely on Savage, who had 17 of the team’s 22 carries for 85 yards in addition to the 31 pass attempts, they got on the board when Savage kept for three yards with 2:23 left in the half. Skowhegan erased the deficit with a 10-yard run from Savage with 10:32 left in the third, and then the pass to Easler two drives later.

“He absolutely stepped up,” Libby said. “With a lot of those guys out, he was sort of the regular that was able to stay. We definitely put a lot on his shoulders, and he stepped up and handled it.”

His team fell just short of capping the rally with a victory, but Libby wasn’t about to push any panic buttons after the game.

“It’s hard, because now we’re 0-2, but I feel better this week than last week, because as a team, we moved forward,” he said. “I think we made gains. I think if we continue doing that, the wins will come.”

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