Winning a state championship isn’t easy. Winning one with an undefeated season is even more difficult.

That’s why Alex Rotsko hopes his Marshwood High players realize how special this season was.

Marshwood completed an unbeaten season Saturday night at Fitzpatrick Stadium, winning the Class B state championship with a 44-18 victory over Brunswick.

The Hawks (12-0) overpowered the Brunswick with an unstoppable running game that produced nearly 500 yards.

“It doesn’t happen very often,” said Rotsko as his players celebrated nearby. “I hope they appreciate how rare it is and enjoy every moment of it.”

This is Marshwood’s 17th football state championship, but its first since 1989, when it was a Class A program.

“Twenty-five years is a long time,” said Rotsko, whose Hawks lost to Mt. Blue two years ago in a 44-42 thriller. “I’m kind of sick about hearing about 1989, to tell you the truth. It’s nice that we’re hearing about 2014. I’m real proud of our kids. They kept their focus all season.”

Quarterback Luc Blanchette rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns – 65 and 13 yards. Fullback Brett Gerry ran for 161 yards and a touchdown – a 3-yarder that opened the scoring.

“They both had some great, great individual efforts tonight,” said Rotsko. “They turned some good runs into great runs. An 8-, 9-yard gain, all of a sudden it’s 30 yards because of second effort and just playing so hard. They were tremendous tonight.”

Marshwood led 24-0 at the half, a margin that surprised just about everyone, even the Hawks, who shut down Brunswick’s potent running game. Will Bessey and Alex Bandouveres, Brunswick’s 1,000-yard rushers, had just 54 yards total in the first half – and 22 came on the last play.

But Brunswick (9-2) pulled within 24-12 early in the fourth quarter and still trailed only 30-18 with 6:31 remaining after Tom Hanson’s second touchdown pass of the fourth quarter.

But Marshwood responded.

“Our focus was off,” said Gerry. “We got it back in the fourth. I think everyone just realized this is our last fourth quarter. So we buckled down and got that W.”

The Hawks secured the victory with three touchdowns in a 4-minute span – a 13-yard run by Blanchette and runs of 5 and 10 yards by Jackson Howarth.

Marshwood rushed for 488 yards. Blanchette passed sparingly, completing 4 of 5 passes for 51 yards.

“They’re fast, physical and have a lot of good players,” said Brunswick Coach Dan Cooper. “They kind of wore us down. We started leaking a little there in the fourth quarter.

“They deserved to be the champs. That’s a tough offense to slow down if you can’t beat them up front.”

Cooper thought the Dragons would be able to run inside. But they couldn’t.

“Some of those players are better than what they looked like on film,” he said of Marshwood’s defense. “We just couldn’t block them. They’re fast and physical.”

Marshwood, which had a speed advantage, took control in the second quarter. Leading 8-0 after one quarter, the Hawks controlled the ball and the clock, opening a 24-0 halftime lead.

Zach Doyon scored on a 10-yard run with 9:59 left in the first half to complete a 90-yard, 11-play drive. Every play was a run. On the conversion, Blanchette lobbed a high pass to the back right corner and Jacob Lebel leaped to catch it.

The Dragons then drove to the Marshwood 35, but the drive stalled there and the Hawks gained possession on downs. On first down, Blanchette took off on a long run, sweeping right behind a lead block by Doyon, stutter-stepping away from two Brunswick defenders and then speeding down the right sideline for a 65-yard touchdown. Gerry rushed for the conversion and a 24-0 lead.

Asked when he knew he would score, Blanchette replied, “When my heart was about to explode.”

Blanchette said the championship was years in the making, ever since the Hawks lost to Mt. Blue two years ago.

“This just means you get what you work for,” said Blanchette. “We worked our butts off for the entire year, for three years pretty much. We had a really good core of guys, we worked together, teamwork was there, and it paid off.”