FAIRFIELD — It wasn’t perfect and it certainly wasn’t easy, but the Lawrence football team executed enough big plays Saturday to secure yet another trip to Fitzpatrick Stadium.
Josh Doolan rushed for two second-half touchdowns, both set up by Spencer Carey interceptions, and top-seeded Lawrence overcame five turnovers to beat No. 2 Cony 20-10 in the Eastern Class A championship game in front of about 5,000 fans at Keyes Field.
“We knew Cony would bring it,” Doolan said. “We’re glad things went the way they did. We had to fight through some adversity. We had to battle and battle. We just kept fighting and came out on top.”
The Bulldogs (11-0) reached the Class A final for the second consecutive season. They will play for the state title Saturday against Thornton Academy (10-1), which upset two-time defending state champion Cheverus.
Doolan rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Anthony Sementelli rushed for 69 yards on 22 carries.
“It was quite a battle,” Lawrence Coach John Hersom said. “Cony was a much-improved football team. They made it tough on us.”
The Rams (8-3) raced out to a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, thanks to a 42-yard touchdown pass from Ben Lucas to Chandler Shostak. But they failed to capitalize on a few opportunities, particularly in the first half.
Lucas completed 17 of 33 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions that led to 14 Lawrence points.
“We went into the game wanting to make them feel uncomfortable,” Cony Coach Robby Vachon said. “We accomplished that. We came to play. We gave it our best shot, it just wasn’t enough.”
The Bulldogs trailed 10-3 at the half, but sophomore Chad Martin booted a 31-yard field goal to make it 10-6, and Doolan rushed for a 4-yard touchdown with 2:08 left in the third quarter. Carey’s first interception set up the touchdown.
“Lucas is a great quarterback,” Carey said. “But our coaches did a great job of getting us in the right positions. I just made a play on the ball. It was a big play.”
Indeed, it was. Carey intercepted Lucas at the Cony 30 and returned it to the 2. Two plays later, Doolan rushed off tackle and squirted into the end zone.
Cony was in position to tie or take the lead after Lawrence muffed a punt early in the fourth quarter. The Rams had possession at the Lawrence 45 but Carey again intercepted Lucas.
The Bulldogs took over at their own 15 and broke the game open when Doolan busted through the left side and ran 47 yards for a touchdown with 8:44 left.
“We came out and played really well in the first half, but we didn’t get it done in the second,” said Shostak, who had four catches for 55 yards and a touchdown. “We feel good about the season but this is still a pretty awful feeling.”
Cony opened the scoring when Zach Lachance kicked a 22-yard field goal late in the first quarter.
A Sementelli fumble early in the second quarter set the Rams up at their 32. Lucas completed a few short passes to Tayler Carrier and Jonathan Saban before he connected with Shostak over the middle for a 42-yard touchdown.
“They had a safety blitz and we went deep,” Shostak said. “I ran my route and Ben made a good read. It was a big play.”
Lawrence finally broke through when Martin kicked a 37-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the half.
“That gave us some light right before the half,” Hersom said. “We thought that as poor as we played in the first half we were only down one score. We knew our defense was playing well.”