FAIRFIELD — The Lawrence student section chanted “Heat up the buses!” In the first room. Obviously, they knew what was going on.
Parker Higgins rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns and Gavin Wilson intercepted Mt. Blue quarterback Jayden Meader three times as the Bulldogs defeated the Cougars, 68-15, in a matchup of Class B North teams battling for playoff position Friday night at windy Keyes Field. .
Lawrence (3-3) capitalized on five turnovers from Mt. Blue (3-3). Five of the 10 Class B North teams had two or three wins going into Friday’s action.
The Bulldogs put on a full-on effort a week after a 34-20 loss to Class C South favorite Leavitt. Higgins added an interception of his own and recovered a fumble on the first punt return of the game from Mt. Blue, who set up the first of two touchdown passes from quarterback Michael Hamlin. After his 8-yard bootleg gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead three minutes into the game, Hamlin hit tight end Lucas Campbell for a 15-yard touchdown pass, followed by a 13-yard touchdown pass. yards to Gavin Lunt with 4:50 left. in the room. Kicker Matix Ward made the third of seven extra points. Lawrence led 21-0 and the fans called for the buses.
“It was a good night for us,” said Lawrence’s trainer, John Hersom. “We really prepared as best we could this week and got things going in the right direction right away in the first quarter, having field position and having that momentum.”
While the offense did its thing, Wilson and the defense made sure Mt. Blue stayed out of the end zone. The youngster’s first interception came from a deflection pass at the Mt. Blue 25-yard line on the first, which set up Hamlin’s second TD throw. His second, early in the second, also came off a deflection and set up Higgins’ 86-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs a 28-7 lead. His third, later in the period, was a jumping effort on the Lawrence 42 when Meader (13-of-24, 202 yards, one TD, four interceptions) tried to force a pass up the middle.
“Our defensive coach, Coach Pell (Jason Pellerin) is very supportive and helps me every day with our coverages,” the soft-spoken Wilson said, adding that he might have had “a few” games like this before. “I’ve been working hard on defense in practice and everything.”
Hersom added, “We’re trying to improve our secondary; It’s been a bit of one of our Achilles’ heels, struggling to get into proper coverage. That group is working hard, so they had a better game tonight.”
Lawrence’s Tate Scott rushed for 99 yards on five carries, highlighted by a 75-yard touchdown down the right sideline in the second. Higgins (9 yards) and Braden Littlefield (1 yard) added touchdown runs later in the period and Colton Carter scored one of Lawrence’s two touchdowns in the fourth after both teams cleared their benches.
A week after a triumphant 39-38 win over Messalonskee, Mt. Blue struggled to control the ball. In addition to turnovers, the Cougars allowed a couple of plays to go behind them on punt attempts, giving the Bulldogs excellent field position.
In the second, it looked like Mt. Blue might be back in the game after the big-armed Meader found Charles Stevens only for passes of 68 and 21 yards, the second of which resulted in a TD and brought the Cougars closer to 21- 7 after Brody Walsh’s extra point. But two of the next three drives ended in interceptions, sandwiched around a fourth-down pass deflected by Cohen Lawrence off Lawrence, and that was it.
“We made some mistakes early on and they capitalized on them and we got into a hole and had to try to get out,” Mt. Blue freshman coach Matt Friedman said. “I was proud of my children; they fought back as much as they could and it wasn’t our night.
“I feel like we had some wide receivers all night. I think maybe the wind bothered us a bit, but I put it on myself. I think we should have had a little more balance; We were able to run the ball later, and we thought we were going to have to shoot the ball more, and maybe we compromised too much.”
Cowen Young led Mt. Blue with 40 yards on five carries.
Mt. Blue made a couple of good plays in the fourth. On 4 and 12 from the Cougars 22-yard line, Steve Galkowski ran 19 yards on a fake punt, which set up Klay Dunning’s 57-yard touchdown pass to Alex Rackliff. Dunning added the 2-point conversion to complete the scoring.
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