BRUNSWICK – Keith Kitchens ran for 125 yards and threw a 59-yard scoring pass to Trent Anderson, and Brunswick shook off a pair of late touchdowns to top Messalonskee 20-14 in a key Eastern Class A football matchup Friday night.

With both teams coming in at 4-1 and looking to secure home- field advantage in the playoffs, the Dragons rushed for 257 yards and held Messalonskee to 41.

“Our run defense was the difference in the game,” said Brunswick Coach Dan Cooper. “All week in practice we stressed playing tough and playing physical against the run, and the kids rose to the challenge.”

Brunswick scored on its opening possession, thanks largely to a 67-yard run by Kitchens. Jordan Pelletier’s punt pinned the Dragons on their 6, but on second down at the 11, Kitchens burst through a huge hole in the middle and cut to the right sideline before finally getting dragged down by Gage Landry at the Messalonskee 22.

Six plays later, quarterback Jason Carter pushed in from the 1 and after the PAT failed, the Dragons led 6-0 with 5:18 left in the first quarter.

Halfway through the second, Brunswick’s Hunter Ouellette blocked Devin Warren’s field-goal attempt. Anderson picked it up at his goal line and carried to the Messalonskee 46, but Matt Seymour recovered a Brunswick fumble two plays later.

Travis St. Pierre passed 26 yards to Sam Dexter and 16 to Jake Fenlason to help move the ball to the Brunswick 7 before the Eagles turned the ball over on downs.

Brunswick scored on its first possession of the second half. Starting on their 26, the Dragons moved on the ground to the 41 before Kitchens took a pitch from Carter, rolled to his left and hit Anderson behind the defense for a 59-yard TD.

“It was the first time this year,” Kitchens said of his getting the option call. “It’s really a 50-50 chance of working.”

Jordan Rysdam added the extra point to make it 13-0, and Brunswick upped its lead on its next possession after taking over on the Messalonskee 44.

On fourth-and-3 at the 19, Carter faked a handoff and hit Garrett Erb down the right side for the touchdown. Rysdam’s kick put the Dragons up 20-0 entering the fourth quarter.

“Keith’s play really got us going,” said Carter. “The play-action pass worked for a touchdown against Edward Little, so it’s been a good play for us.”

Brunswick had to sweat out the final minute. Dexter fielded a punt at his 33, went up the middle, and cut to the right to go all the way for a 67-yard touchdown return that made it 7-0 with 47 seconds left after Warren’s kick.

Messalonskee recovered the ensuing onside kick, and St. Pierre took advantage with a 35-yard TD pass to Landry as the Eagles pulled within 20-14 with 15.8 seconds remaining.