BANGOR — The Lawrence High School football team gives opponents plenty to think about in the days leading up to their meetings with the Bulldogs.
One thing almost impossible to replicate in practice is their relentlessness, but it’s been a pivotal part of the Fairfield team’s success in recent years — as it was Saturday night in its 32-25 victory over Bangor in an early season Class A showdown at Cameron Stadium.
Coach John Hersom’s club led most of the night, only to suddenly find itself trailing by a point early in the fourth quarter after Bangor rallied from an 11-point deficit with back-to-back touchdowns over a 4-minute, 17-second span.
But rather than panic, the Bulldogs just kept coming, unleashing senior tailback Shaun Carroll Jr. for two long touchdown runs that Bangor ran out of time to match.
“He’s got heart, and he’s also got a great offensive line in front of him,” said Lawrence quarterback Spencer Carey of Carroll, who finished the game with 229 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries. “He’s also got a lot of determination so when he gets hit he’s not going to go down, he’s going to keep his legs pumping until he can’t go any farther.”
Carroll had 149 yards in the fourth quarter alone, including scoring runs of 42 and
68 yards on consecutive carries after Bangor had rallied for its 19-18 lead on a 1-yard run by fullback Cody Chapman six seconds into the period.
“I think Lawrence is the best team in the league, and I think we got a little exhausted,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “They took it to us a little bit and the emotions went up and down, up and down. We had them on the ropes for a little while, but we couldn’t put them away.”
This was a game filled with big plays, beginning when Carey hit Alex Leathers with a 62-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 first-quarter lead.
Carroll added a 1-yard scoring run to stretch the lead to 12-0 with 3:35 left in the half,
but Bangor clawed back within 12-7 just before intermission on a 10-yard pass from Carl Farnham to Nick Sherwood.
Lawrence (2-0) nearly blew open the game early in the second half, as Carroll scored from 23 yards out on his team’s first possession to make it 18-7 and the Bulldogs soon threatened again after a low center snap forced Farnham to touch his knee on the ground out of punt formation and give Lawrence back the ball at the Bangor 26.
The Bulldogs then marched to the 5 before Carey fumbled a fourth-and-1 handoff and Bangor’s Nick Ashey recovered at the 6.
Bangor (1-1) immediately went deep, with Farnham finding Sherwood down the right sideline for a 94-yard touchdown pas that pulled the Rams within 18-13 with 4:11 left in the third period.
“(Sherwood’s) got nice speed and got just enough behind our defender to get that space that he needed,” said Hersom. “I think the kids were a little down emotionally after the fumble, we were hoping to get that score, but I don’t think it really had anything to do with the play. I think it was good execution on their part.”
Bangor soon forced a Lawrence punt, and on the next play from scrimmage Zeb Tuell ripped off a 70-yard run to the Bulldogs’ 10. Chapman followed with gains of 8 yards and 1 yard,
then scored from the 1 on the first play of the fourth quarter to give the Rams their first lead.
Lawrence drove 67 yards to regain the lead, a march capped off when Carroll
went wide left, stopped to elude two Bangor defenders, then sprinted down the
sideline to complete a 42-yard run with 8:25 remaining.
After a Bangor punt, Carroll went wide left again on Lawrence’s next play from scrimmage and
used a block at the corner from teammate Robbie Liberty to break free for a 68-yard dash
down the sideline to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 32-19 with 6:12 left.
Bangor scored its final touchdown on a 5-yard run by Tuell with 3:03 left to complete an
eight-play, 60-yard match.
“I’m pretty happy with our gumption and how we fought back,” said Hackett. “We made a heck of a game out of it. We made some mistakes and you just can’t do that, but we stuck together and up until the last drive or so we were up and still had a chance to win the game.”
Anthony Sementelli complemented Carroll’s rushing night with 78 yards on six carries — mostly
counter plays — for Lawrence. Carey completed 6 of 14 passes for 102 yards.
Tuell rushed for 145 yards on 16 carries for Bangor, while Chapman added 58 yards on 14
rushes. Farnham completed 5 of 12 passes for 127 yards.