KENNEBUNK — Sometimes, halftime adjustments don’t necessarily involve strategy. Sometimes they involve a mindset.

That’s what Kennebunk Coach Joe Rafferty saw in his players Friday night as the second-ranked Rams pulled away in the second half to defeat sixth-ranked Cheverus, 28-14, in a Class B South semifinal at Memorial Field.

The Rams scored the only two touchdowns of the second half – and 80-yard pass from Tommy Lazos to Ryan Connors, and a 7-yard run by Jacob Sullivan – and controlled the tempo with a ball-control game.

“I felt like we were very prepared for what they were doing, as I’m sure they were for us,” said Rafferty, in his 41st season as Kennebunk’s head coach. “It was just more, it got to a point that it comes down to an attitude check. You’re in a big game, you’ve got to make plays. You’ve got to be consistent.”

Kennebunk (8-2) will play at Marshwood in the Class B South championship game next weekend. It will be a rematch of last year’s regional title game, won by the Hawks 14-13.

Lazos completed 8 of 16 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns – 26 yards to Jack Andrews, 66 yards to Sullivan and 80 to Connors. But  Kennebunk’s ability to run the ball – and stop the Stags’ running game – in the second half was a huge factor.

Kennebunk rushed for 107 yards in the second half, only 49 in the first. And the Rams held Cheverus to 62 rushing yards in the second half after the Stags had 165 in the first.

“To beat a team like that, you almost have to play a perfect game,” said Cheverus Coach Mike Vance, whose team lost to Kennebunk by 35 points in the season opener. “In the first half, we came close. In the second half, we made a couple of mistakes  and gave up too many big plays to them.

“I’m proud of my kids. They were gritty. And they came a long way.”

It was 14-14 at the half as Cheverus senior Sean Tompkins did his thing, scoring on a 76-yard run for the game’s first touchdown and setting up a 4-yard touchdown run by Ian Trafford with a 35-yard run that made it 14-7 Cheverus.

The game then turned on one play in the third quarter. Facing a second-and-5 from the Kennebunk 20, Lazos threw to Connors down the right sideline. He made a leaping catch, spun away from a defender, somehow tip-toed the sideline to stay inbounds, then sprinted away to complete the 80-yard scoring play. After Connors’ PAT kick, Kennebunk led 21-14 with 2:27 left in the third.

“I don’t know how I didn’t go out of bounds,” said Connors. “I knew I was still in. Then I knew I could take it to the house.”

David York, who led Kennebunk with 70 rushing yards, said that play gave the Rams the momentum they needed.

“From that moment on, I knew it was our game,” said York. “Big momentum shift. And if we just kept going, we were going to win.”

Cheverus couldn’t get anything going offensively and Sullivan got his second touchdown of the game to clinch it with 4:32 remaining.

“I’m happy to be going again,” said Rafferty. “You work year-round for this and to be in the conference championship, it’s a great opportunity for us.”

Comments are not available on this story.