Monday, March 10, 2014
By Matt DiFilippo
FAIRFIELD - Even though Lawrence took a 2-3 record into Friday's game against Westbrook, the visiting Blue Blazes had a great chance to get some state-wide recognition on a field where the home team hadn't lost a regular-season game in eight years.
Westbrook made its case by gutting out an 8-3 victory. It's the first loss at Keyes Field for Lawrence since being upset by Brunswick in the 2010 Eastern Class A quarterfinals, and the first regular-season defeat since Sept. 16, 2005, against Oxford Hills.
"We wanted to make history," Westbrook senior lineman Alex Gauvin said. "We wanted to put Westbrook on the map. Nobody really knows about Westbrook up here. Football is life to them up here, and we came up here and showed them what Westbrook is."
Both teams scored on their opening possession. Westbrook (4-2) got a 49-yard kickoff return from Kyle Heath, then drove in for the only touchdown on Heath's 1-yard run. On the conversion, Collin Joyce chased down a bad snap and heaved a pass to a wide-open Maurice Johnson in the end zone.
The Bulldogs came right back. Alternating runs among Ethan Powers (27 carries, 128 yards), Phil Gadway, and Walker Thomas, Lawrence had third-and-goal at the Westbrook 2. But a fumble led to a loss of a yard, and Lawrence salvaged three points on Chad Martin's 20-yard field goal.
Although Heath (25 carries for 95 yards) and Joyce (nine for 50) ended up with good numbers, the Blue Blazes struggled to move the ball the rest of the night. Westbrook had five first downs after its opening drive and only one in the second half. Lawrence's defense held Westbrook to 141 yards.
"We did have plenty of opportunities, as a result of our defense really hanging in there tough," Lawrence Coach John Hersom said.
After their opening drive, the Bulldogs didn't get another first down until the third quarter. Lawrence had the ball four times in the second half and threatened on each possession.
Lawrence began the third quarter by driving to a first down on the Westbrook 18. But two penalties -- blocking below the waist and holding -- pushed the Bulldogs back to the Westbrook 37, and that drive ended on an interception. The Bulldogs then drove to the Westbrook 28, but another penalty for blocking below the waist stalled that drive, and Lawrence punted on fourth-and-24.
In the fourth quarter, Powers carried Lawrence downfield, with Heath saving a touchdown with a diving tackle at the Westbrook 22. On second-and-goal from the 4, Gauvin got a clear shot at Powers and stopped him for a loss of 1. The Bulldogs threw incomplete on fourth down.
Morning Sentinel's Matt DiFilippo can be contacted at 861-9243 or at: