Marshwood’s Cameron Cornett tackles Brunswick’s Chandler Coombs after a long run. (Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer)

PORTLAND – A familiar scene at the State B high school football championship as Marshwood and Brunswick squared off for the second year in a row, and fourth time in six years. And like all of the previous three meetings, the Hawks came out on top, winning it’s third straight title with a 48-28 victory over the Dragons at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Unlike last year’s one-sided victory for Marshwood (49-0), Brunswick stayed with the Hawks deep into the third quarter before the two-time defending champs pulled away for the victory. The Hawks finish the season 11-1, while the Dragons suffered their first defeat in 12 games.

“We wanted to play four quarters. The kids battled hard for us. That’s a very talented team over there. They’re big, fast and physical.” Brunswick coach Dan Cooper said. “We would make a run and they would separate themselves again.”

Marshwood’s Justin Bryant ran for 228 yards and five touchdowns in leading the Hawks to their fifth Class B title in six years.

“It’s so satisfying to finally play this game,” Bryant, who was sidelined with injuries and wasn’t able to contribute the last couple of years. “To finally get in the game and play and do well and win, it’s satisfying.”

Owen Richardson paced the Dragons with 120 yards on the ground and three scores.

First half action

After Brunswick’s initial drive up the field stalled out at the Marshwood 35-yard line, it took the Hawks just four plays to go 65-yards, capped by a touchdown run by Bryant from 27 yards out for the game’s first score.

Marshwood’s Parker McPherson tries to take down Brunswick’s Owen Richardson. (Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer)

The Dragons answered with a five-minute drive, highlighted by an 18-yard pass completion from Noah Goddard to Treyvon McKenzie and a three-yard plunge by Richardson for the score. The pass attempt on the 2-pt conversion failed and Hawks led 7-6.

Bryant and company continued to be unstoppable on their second drive with Hawks quarterback Conner Coverly (8-for-13, 125 yards and a touchdown) passing for 40 yards, while Bryant ran for 30 more, including an 11-yard score. After the point-after kick failed, Marshwood led 13-6 early in the second quarter.

Marshwood forced a punt and on it’s third drive of the game, they took just six plays, capped by a 24-yard touchdown run by Bryant to go ahead, 20-6 after a successful point-after kick by Aidan Knowles.

The Marshwood defense stopped the Dragons on their first three downs on the next drive to force a punt. Looking to make something happen, Cooper called a fake punt and Chandler Coombs broke loose for a 60-yard touchdown. After Richardson converted the 2-pt conversion, Brunswick trailed 20-14 with four minutes left in the half.

But Marshwood wasn’t done, seven plays later, Bryant scored for the fourth touchdown, this time from 11 yards out, The senior added the 2-pt conversion and Marshwood took a 24-14 lead into the half.

“We thought we could have some success on defense, but it just wasn’t meant to be. They were that much better than us,” Cooper said.

Second half 

Marshwood’s Justin Bryant runs away from the Brunswick defense on his way to the end zone for one of his five touchdowns in the Hawks’ 48-28 win over Brunswick in the Class B state final on Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.( Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer)

After receiving the opening kickoff, the Dragons set up to kickoff to begin the second half. But a play the Dragons have been working on and strummed up in the locker room at the half, Brunswick successful recovered an onside kick to open the frame.

“We talked about it at halftime, it’s something we’d been working on,” Cooper said.

But a Brunswick fumble four plays later turned the ball back over to the Hawks.

A couple of Marshwood penalites pinned them deep and the Dragons forced their first punt of the day from their own five-yard line. A 36-yard return from Coombs set up a five-play, 16 yard scoring drive to cut the Marshwood lead to 28-20 with 5:49 left in the quarter.

“We got back into the game, that’s what we wanted to do so we at least had a chance,” Cooper said.

However, before the third quarter ended, Marshwood’s offense got back on track, scoring on its next two drives after a Brunswick turnover gave the Hawks the ball back late in the frame. After three quarters, Marshwood led 42-20.

“That was a good Brunswick team, they fought hard the whole time. It was much different than last year,” Bryant said.

Each team traded turnovers before Brunswick found the end zone one last time. After a 49-yard completion from Goddard to McKenzie, Richardson ran to the pylon from 20 yards away for the touchdown. Richardson ran in the 2-point conversion untouched.

The Brunswick defense forced another punt, but the Hawks defense stopped the Dragons on fourth down with a little over five minutes remaining. Bryant scored his fifth touchdown of the day on a 17-yard score with 5:08 on the clock to finish the scoring.

The Dragons continued to fight until the end, but another defensive stop by the Hawks ended the night for the Brunswick offense.

While coming up short in the final game may not be ideal, Cooper talked to his players afterwards and put it all in perspective for them.

“Our kids competed well, I’m really proud to be the coach of this team and hats off to Marshwood,” Cooper said. “We told them to ‘keep your heads up, you had a great season, you battled hard and there’s no shame in losing. We believe in you always and forever and we’ll always be on your side.'”

Richardson also took it all in at the end.

“We have nothing to hang our heads about. I’d battle with these guys any day,” Richardson said. “This season, this team, they’ve been so special to me. I’m proud to wear this jersey. Brunswick football has meant so much over these last four years.”

 

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