KENNEBUNK — Marshwood High’s proud football team stood up and made a statement Friday night.

Two weeks after giving up three touchdowns in the final four minutes to blow a 14-point lead and lose at Kennebunk, the No. 3 Hawks (7-3) returned to the same field and played with increased intensity and finished a 42-21 Class B South semifinal in a manner that befit their championship pedigree.

Marshwood has won four of the last five Class B state titles, including three straight from 2017-19 under Coach Alex Rotsko. Next week they will play in their eighth regional final in Rotsko’s nine seasons, against No. 1 Portland (10-0).

“Coach was preaching all week that seven of his last eight teams had made it to the regional final and now we’re lucky to be the eight out of nine,” said quarterback Aidan Sullivan. “This program just preaches winning and that’s what we wanted to do in this game, especially after losing (to Kennebunk).”

Across the board, Marshwood improved its play from that 42-35 loss. It started faster. Ty Couglar returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown. Its defense was more stout, causing three turnovers, and coming up with a key fourth-down stop inside its own 10 on the Rams’ first second-half possession.

Sullivan was much sharper with his passing, completing 10 of 13 passes for 126 yards and three touchdowns, two to Cam Cornett and one to Couglar. Sullivan and Cornett are the only returning starters from the 2019 team.

“The last time we played them we got knocked around and didn’t play with much intensity,” Rotsko said. “That was the biggest change for us. (And) Cornett was out of this world.”

Cornett rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, turning tiny cracks into big gains. He caught six passes for 66 yards. He also intercepted Keegan Andrews (7 of 20, 145 yards, one touchdown) in the end zone when the score was still 7-7.

Right after the third-quarter fourth-down stop, Cornett broke an inside run for a 93-yard touchdown to push the lead to 35-14.

Kennebunk did respond and cut the lead to 35-21 – the same deficit it faced two weeks ago – on a 2-yard run by Matthew Moore.

But this time Marshwood didn’t let up and put together the game-clinching nine-play, 68-yard drive, scoring on a 16-yard pass from Sullivan to Cornett on fourth-and-seven.

“I was super pumped coming into this game,” Cornett said. “We came into this game hyped and ready to play.”

Cornett’s other touchdown catch came with 20 seconds left in the first half. He beat one-on-one coverage on a go route and hauled in a perfectly thrown pass from Sullivan for a 26-yard score and a 28-14 halftime lead.

No. 2 Kennebunk finished its season 7-3. The Rams were also eliminated by Marshwood in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, No. 1 Kennebunk had also beaten Marshwood in the regular season.

“You play them twice. Next time I want to win the second one,” said Kennebunk Coach Joe Rafferty.

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