FAIRFIELD, Maine — It’s been a highly anticipated football game each fall for the last several years.
But the latest meeting between Lawrence and the Bangor Rams at Keyes Field on Friday night was more early season coronation than competition, with senior running backs Anthony Sementelli and Josh Doolan combining for 190 rushing yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to a 42-12 Pine Tree Conference Class A victory that wasn’t even that close.
Lawrence (2-0) raced out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead in this rematch of last year’s Eastern Maine championship game and extended its advantage to an overwhelming 42-0 through three quarters before Bangor scored twice during the fourth quarter’s battle of the reserves.
“No way I thought it was going to be like this,” said Sementelli, who rushed for 95 yards, including three first-half touchdown runs. “The predictions coming in were for a tight game of low-scoring, defensive-minded football, but we worked hard all week and came out and gave it to them.”
Doolan also rushed for 95 yards, including a 7-yard run for the Bulldogs’ final score with 51.3 seconds left in the third quarter.
Xavier Lewis, a junior wingback who transferred to Lawrence from Bangor over the summer, added a pair of touchdowns on a 43-yard pass from senior quarterback Spencer Carey and a 13-yard run.
“I did not expect a 42-12 victory,” said Lewis, “but I knew going out there that these guys were ready.”
Lawrence’s dominance was most pronounced during the first half, when coach John Hersom’s club outgained Bangor 220-16 in total yardage while building a 29-0 lead.
“[Lawrence is] very good, they’re just better than we are,” said Bangor coach Mark Hackett. “The challenge we have is that we can be a good football team, we’re just not real good right now.”
The Bulldogs finished with a 345-232 advantage in total yards for the game — with 165 of Bangor’s yards coming in the final quarter.
“We were hoping to take a big step forward this week,” said Hersom. “We went down to Edward Little last week and executed OK [in a 39-16 win that was 39-0 through three quarters], but we saw a lot of things that we wanted to address and work hard on this week.
“We made those points with the guys and I think tonight it paid off as our execution was a lot better.”
Lawrence took the game’s opening kickoff and drove 64 yards in 14 plays, with Sementelli capping off the 6-minute, 22-second march with a 5-yard scoring run.
Bangor then went three-and-out before Carey found Lewis open over the middle for his only pass completion of the game, but one good enough to extend the Lawrence lead to 13-0 with 1:31 left in the opening period.
“I was just running a seam up the middle and the safety was playing deep and the linebackers were playing up and I went into the hole and Spencer hit me,” said Lewis.
Lawrence’s Mason Travers recovered a Bangor fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and Sementelli scored from 21 yards out on the next play to make it 21-0.
The rout was on.
Lawrence added its final touchdown of the half on another 5-yard run by Sementelli to cap off a seven-play, 65-yard march. The Bulldogs thought it had scored two plays earlier when Doolan scored on an apparent 40-yard run down the left sideline, but his helmet was pulled off at the Bangor 10 and the play was blown dead there by rule.
It didn’t matter. Carey scrambled for 5 yards on first down and Sementelli scored from there with 3:14 left in the second period.
Lewis scored his second touchdown on a counter play to make it 35-0 with 5:05 left in the third quarter, ending a five-play, 68-yard march set up by Robbie Liberty’s interception of a fourth-down pass by Bangor quarterback Carl Farnham from the Lawrence 20.
Doolan added his rushing touchdown on the Bulldogs’ next possession, one play after he raced 33 yards to the Bangor 7.
Sophomore Jake Lavoie got Bangor on the scoreboard with a 4-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter, and junior Alex Welch added a 45-yard scoring run on the game’s last play.
Lavoie finished with 71 yards on six rushes, while Welch had 63 yards on three carries and senior Cody Chapman rushed for 53 yards on nine tries for the Rams, who are off to an 0-2 start.
“They’re aggressive on defense, they’re just better than we are,” said Hackett of Lawrence, which has beaten the Rams in 10 of their last 11 meetings dating back to the 2005 season.
“They’re stronger, they’re more aggressive, they can play through space and they’re quicker. In every aspect of the game they were better than we were tonight.”