FAIRFIELD — In the end, there just wasn’t enough time for the Messalonskee football team.

With the clock hitting zero in the fourth quarter, Eagles quarterback Brady Doucette hit receiver Jack Kinney with a 25-yard touchdown pass. But without any time left, the Eagles fell just short of a frantic comeback attempt against Lawrence, and it was the Bulldogs that walked off Keyes Field with a 42-38 win on Friday night. Lawrence improves to 4-3, while Messalonskee falls to 3-5.

The game was nothing short of a track meet between two players: Doucette, a senior, who ran for 210 yards on 23 carries and accounted for four touchdowns (three rushing, one passing). The other was Lawrence junior running back Parker Higgins, who rushed for 287 yards on 24 carries and scored all six of the Bulldogs’ touchdowns.

Higgins said after the game that he never recalled having a performance like he had Friday night.

“I don’t think so, maybe in flag football,” Higgins said. “I don’t know. I’m a bit sore. It was a tough game, hard hitting.”

“(Higgins) makes a lot of nice cuts, a lot of nice runs on his own,” Lawrence head coach John Hersom said. “Our offensive line has stuck together pretty well this season. We do have a number of seniors up front. They’ve done a pretty good job this season. But Parker is a special runner. He’s a hard kid to bring down one-on-one or even with two guys ready to make the hit.”

Lawrence led the entire game, right from the very first drive, which was capped by a 37-yard run by Higgins for a 7-0 lead. Higgins would score two more touchdowns in the half, on runs of 38 and 61 yards.

However, Messalonskee gave good chase throughout the first half, battling back with a 49-yard touchdown scamper by running back Bryce Crowell, and an 81-yard score on an option keeper by Doucette, and later in the half, a 28-yard score by Crowell on a sweep. By halftime, Messalonskee trailed Lawrence 21-18.

“Our players played really well today,” Messalonskee head coach Walter Polky said. “(Lawrence) took advantage of some our weaknesses that we’ve had all year long. Obviously Coach Hersom does a really great job.”

Crowell finished with 121 rushing yards on 11 carries.

Messalonskee defensive back Bryce Crowell, left, closes in on Lawrence running back Parker Higgins during a football game Friday at Keyes Field at Lawrence High School in Fairfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

It seemed almost certain Lawrence would run away with the game in the third quarter, scoring three unanswered touchdowns — runs of 7, 8 and 29 yards by Higgins — on consecutive drives. But the Eagles weren’t done yet.

Down 42-18, Messalonskee was able to score off a Lawrence turnover (and held a 3-0 turnover advantage over the Bulldogs for the evening) and a punt, capped by touchdown runs of 5 yards and 61 yards by Doucette to bring the score to 42-32 with 2:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. Messalonskee forced a fumble on the ensuing possession, and five plays later, Doucette found Kinney in the back right corner of the end zone. However, time ran out on the Eagles.

“That was a good performance by (Messalonskee),” Hersom said. “Their quarterback does an excellent job. They’re definitely an opponent that’s improved probably more so than I think anyone else in our league. Sometimes teams don’t take them as serious as they need to. I thought maybe when we got our score up there a little bit, we started to relax a little bit.”

“Our senior leadership, especially Brady Doucette, was phenomenal today,” Polky said. “He’s the heart and soul of our team. He’s the guy. And he’s the guy, where if we need something, that’s who we go to. And the other team knows it, too. He’s a phenomenal football player.”

Penalties and missed two-point conversions also hurt the Eagles, who were only able to convert two two-point conversions during the game.

“It comes down to the little things,” Polky said. “Short yardage stuff. We get two two-point conversions, the game is tied up. Our kids played hard. We ran the football really, really well today. We got a touchdown pass at the end of the game. When they were down 42-18, they came back. We’re getting there. It’s a process.”

Messalonskee quarterback Brady Doucette, right, runs the ball as teammate Jack Kinney blocks Lawrence defensive back Noah Grass during a football game Friday at Keyes Field at Lawrence High School in Fairfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Lawrence entered the game banged up, missing starting quarterback Andrew Trombley and fullback Matt Trombley.

“People just needed to step up,” Higgins said. “We’ve got a lot of depth. We’ve got people who can step up, they’ve had some playing time this year. That’s really all it was. People stepped up, played good and worked their (tails) off.”

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