FAIRFIELD — There will be a new champion in Class B football this season.

Lawrence upended defending state champion Brunswick 17-12 in a Class B North semifinal Friday night at Keyes Field.

The second-seeded Bulldogs (6-3) return to the regional final for the first time since 2014, when they fell to Brunswick, 48-19.

Lawrence also ended Brunswick’s quest for a fourth consecutive regional championship.

Despite fighting through injuries, Lawrence won a close game against the sixth-seeded Dragons (2-8) for the second time this season, following a 23-20 victory four weeks earlier.

Braden Ballard was 8 of 9 passing for 140 yards and a touchdown to lead the Bulldogs, who will visit No. 1 Skowhegan next weekend.

“It’s just the greatest feeling in the world (to win),” Ballard said.

Lawrence scored on its first possession, marching 53 yards. Ballard hooked up with wide receiver Jared Dodge on a 5-yard slant for the touchdown, and Zack Nickerson’s extra point gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.

Dodge finished with 63 yards on three receptions. Garrett Richards had three catches for 54 yards.

“The offensive line did a great job,” Ballard said. “They gave me time, the receivers got open, and we got the catches.”

Nickerson also connected on a 22-yard field goal before the end of the half, sending the Bulldogs to the locker room with a 10-0 lead.

“It was definitely important to come out and start quick (offensively),” Lawrence Coach John Hersom said. “We wanted to generate some emotion, get the enthusiasm going. That was important.

“Another thing that was important was, during our time off, we managed to put in some different formations and use our pass game, as well as Isaiah (Schooler), our only healthy running back, to give them a different look.”

Lawrence added another touchdown on its first possession of the second half – a 1-yard plunge by Schooler that made it 17-0.

Schooler was a workhorse for the Bulldogs, totaling 100 yards on 28 carries.

Brunswick ended the shutout bid with five minutes remaining, on a 1-yard run by Owen Richardson. After a bad punt and a good return by Nate Girardin to the Lawrence 5, Dalton Dickey scored on the next play, and suddenly the Dragons were back in the game, trailing 17-12.

The Brunswick defense then forced another punt, and the Dragons started from their own 45 with 1:19 remaining. But Lawrence held on downs to clinch the victory.

“Give credit to Brunswick, they continued to battle hard,” Hersom said. “I knew we’d have some adversity at some point. We handled just enough (of the lead) to get it done.”

Dickey paced Brunswick with 64 yards on 13 carries.

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