BRUNSWICK — The object, said Kennebunk senior Ben Bath, is to win every game. So far that’s what the Rams have done.
In a meeting between the two top-rated Class B teams in the state, Kennebunk rode the running of Nicco DeLorenzo and a rock-hard defense to turn back Brunswick 21-6 and complete an undefeated regular season.
DeLorenzo rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including a stunning 51-yarder with 3:20 left that clinched the victory. Kennebunk’s defense intercepted two passes in the fourth quarter — the first by Chris Broadhead at the Kennebunk 13, the second by Austin Sandler at the Rams’ 20.
“It was tough, physical, smash-mouth football coming right at you,” said Bath, a lineman and linebacker. “That’s why we play.”
Kennebunk, the top-ranked team in Western Class B, is 8-0.
Brunswick, ranked first in Eastern Class B, is 6-2.
The Dragons hurt themselves repeatedly, getting called for 10 penalties, including seven 15-yard personal fouls. In all they were penalized for 125 yards.
“Way too many,” said Brunswick Coach Dan Cooper. “The kids have been really poised all season long and they’ve avoided those things all year. For them to lose their cool and to go after those guys and get those penalties is uncharacteristic. They know. It really cost us the game.”
Kennebunk’s defense had something to do with that, too.
The Dragons took advantage of an early turnover — a fumble by DeLorenzo on the game’s second play, to grab a 6-0 lead on a 7-yard run by Lucas McCue.
Then Kennebunk took over. The Rams’ power running game chewed up huge chunks of yardage, and their swarming defense contained the Dragons.
“We knew they would be tough,” said Cooper. “Not a surprise at all. We knew they were good, and they were good,”
DeLorenzo, who seemingly has made every big play for the Rams this year, got things started with a 33-yard run on a lateral from Nick Emmons. That led to his first touchdown, a 7-yarder that tied the game.
The Rams forced a punt, then drove 68 yards in eight plays to take the lead on a 3-yard run by Emmons, who made several good reads on the drive. He then rushed for the conversion and Kennebunk led 14-6 early in the second quarter.
It stayed that way until the fourth. Brunswick drove to a first down at Kennebunk’s 12 behind the running of McCue. But two Brunswick penalties — a 15-yard late hit and a 10-yard block in the back — made it second-and-19 at the 25. That’s when Broadhead stepped in front of a Brady Larson pass for the first interception.
Kennebunk was forced to punt, but Sandler’s interception stopped Brunswick’s next drive, and his return gave the Rams the ball at their 32. Four plays later, DeLorenzo ran left, picked up some great blocks and sprinted untouched 51 yards to the end zone.
“It was good finally to get that big break,” said DeLorenzo. “That was a team play right there. We had great blocks on the end, and my wideouts and wings made great blocks. I just had to run, really.”
Kennebunk Coach Joe Rafferty said DeLorenzo had something to do with that.
“I think he was a little upset with himself earlier because he put the ball on the ground,” said Rafferty. “He’s a pretty good back.”
And the Rams have a perfect record.
“We had the drive to be undefeated,” said Bath. “Everyone wants to be undefeated. No one wants to come out here and lose a game. We want to win every one.”
Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at:firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: MikeLowePPH