Brunswick’s Owen Richardson, right, outruns Lawrence defender Andrew Trombley before scoring a touchdown during the Class B North final Friday in Brunswick. Brunswick takes an 11-0 record into the state championship game, having won every game by at least 13 points. Rich Abrahamson/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

TOPSHAM — Owen Richardson is inside a dark, slightly dingy indoor practice facility on a wet, raw Tuesday afternoon.

And the Brunswick High senior is loving it, loving every last minute of his final high school football season.

Richardson has many reasons to smile. For starters, he’s healthy this year after having virtually his entire junior year taken away by a broken collarbone in the first game. He has rushed for more than 1,600 yards, including a three-game playoff stretch of 636 yards and seven touchdowns. Most importantly, the 11-0 Dragons are back in the Class B state championship game for the fifth time in six seasons.

“This season has been a blast with all the personalities, and we’ve created our own winning mentality,” Richardson said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better senior year.

“Well, one more thing would be absolutely beautiful.”

That one last thing would be a win Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium (6 p.m.) against the Dragons’ championship game nemesis – Marshwood.

The teams have met three times with the Gold Ball at stake. Marshwood has won all three, in 2014, 2015 and 2018.  Last year, Marshwood dominated an injury-decimated Brunswick squad that was just 5-3 in the regular season, rolling to a 49-0 victory.

That 2018 loss was tough to take for the Dragons but has fueled the 2019 season.

“We saw how all the seniors reacted to that. Their last game ever playing football, and they lost 49-0, and we don’t want that feeling,” said senior quarterback Noah Goddard, a three-year starter at safety. “Since that loss, everyone has just come in wanting to beat Marshwood. We’re ready to win a state championship.”

“We use the slogan Gold Ball or Bust every year,” said senior tight end/defensive end Treyvon McKenzie. “I feel like our team is a lot better this year. Last year, we weren’t as focused. We went into that game not as confident. We know Marshwood’s going to be a hard team to beat, but we work for everything we’ve got.”

Marshwood (10-1), however, is a significant step up in competition. The Hawks are the two-time defending champions and winners of four of the past five state titles. Their only loss this season was 28-27 at unbeaten Class A power Thornton Academy.

“We have a tremendous amount of respect for them and their program,” Richardson said. “But we also have a tremendous amount of pride for our program, and we know the coaching staff will put us in the best position to win.”

Brunswick’s five first-time starters on the offensive line – tackles Aaron Remulla and Thomas Seitz, guards Cam Folsom and John Schroeder and sophomore center Colby Nadeau – have turned an expected weakness into a strength. Richardson and Mitch Lienert (320 playoff rushing yards) tore through opposing defenses. Cody Larson is a third threat. The Dragons have outscored their opponents 507-103. Only once, in a 27-14 win against Windham, have they been held under 42 points. In the North final, they rolled up 517 rushing yards against No. 2 Lawrence in a 42-14 win, with Richardson gaining 294.

Brunswick’s Mitch Lienert leaves Lawrence defenders in his wake en route to a touchdown run in the Dragons’ 42-14 win in the Class B North final. Rich Abrahamson/Kennebec Journal

“We certainly aren’t intimidated and we feel confident,” said Brunswick Coach Dan Cooper. “Our offense has been very good. We have the speed, every bit of the speed (Marshwood has), and we use it on both sides of the ball.”

Speed was Brunswick’s top asset when it won the state title in 2016, beating Kennebunk to cap an undefeated season.

To repeat that success and reverse the curse against Marshwood, Brunswick will need its talented seniors to hit the holes quick and swarm to the ball on defense to slow Marshwood’s multi-faceted offense that has produced 502 points.

“We’ve got to get some stops, make them drive down the field, and we’ll have to make some big plays of our own. That’s one thing we’ve never been able to do against them,” said Cooper, the 15th-year head coach who got his 100th career win in the North quarterfinals. “We’ve never been able to hit the big plays, and their stars have always shined when they played us.”

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