LEWISTON — Lawrence wanted Friday night’s game at Lewiston to feel like a playoff game, so the Bulldogs prepared as if it were one. 

The preparation paid off on both sides of the ball as the Bulldogs bullied their way to a 35-12 win over the Blue Devils at Don Roux Field.

While Lewiston (1-7) closes out its regular season against Edward Little next week, Lawrence (7-1) begins the Class B North playoffs.

“When it comes to Friday night, we just focus on ourselves,” Lawrence coach John Hersom said. “We wanted this to feel like a playoff game. We don’t want next week to feel like it’s different, even though it’s going to be. We wanted it to feel like we were down here to win a football game.”

The Bulldogs ran for 261 yards, led by Nate Regalado’s 113 yards, including 81 in the first half. 

The opening two quarters were punishing for the Blue Devils, who gave up a 54-yard drive on Lawrence’s drive, capped off by a 24-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Coombs to Zach Nickerson for the game’s first score. 

The scoring pass was set up by three strong runs through the Lewiston defense, which was part of the plan for Hersom’s squad. 

“Our running game is really what we try to hang our hat on offensively,” Hersom said. “We feel like we have two good senior halfbacks and a junior fullback and a pretty steady line, so we want to establish the run first. Once we establish that running game, it opens up a lot of play-action pass.”

Lawrence stopped Lewiston again on a three-and-out, then ran the ball 10 times for 51 yards, the 10th run being a nine-yard touchdown by Regalado. 

Lewiston countered two plays later as Danny May broke through a line of defenders and sprinted down the right sideline for a 55-yard touchdown to reel the Blue Devils to within 14-6. 

May and Dylon Jackson combined for 95 rushing yards in the first half. 

“We saw that on their tape, so we knew it was going to be kind of a team effort to control their offense,” Hersom said. “We understand that they have a couple of guys out, too, but we were respecting them all week and some of our scout team players mimicked what their guys do and we felt they were a big help.”

Lawrence ran the ball down the throat of Lewiston on the ensuing drive, setting up another touchdown pass from Coombs, his second of four on the night, this time to Kristian Larouche. 

Larouche finished 81 total yards.

“I want to give credit to coach Jim Thiess at Leavitt (Area) High School,” Hartley said. “He said it’s like ‘battle shock.’ We work hard all week, feel confident in what we are doing, but the minute the ball is snapped, we get a little battle shock. We have a momentary lapse, and we’ve been a continuous victim of that.”

On Lewiston’s second-to-last possession before the half, Regalado picked off a throw from Nathan Lyons to set up the Bulldogs in great field position. Lewiston forced Lawrence into a third-and-long situation, but Coombs found Nickerson for a 37-yard touchdown to push the Bulldogs’ lead to 28-6. 

“We had them in a couple of down-and-distance situations and we could not make a stop,” Hartley said. “Then, in an obvious passing situation, we have the right coverage, a little moment of indecision, and now it’s a three-score spread just like that. We are a victim of lack of focus all year long.”

Lyons started to find his rhythm through the air in the second half, in which he compiled 69 of his 74 passing yards. 

Still, Lewiston fell short on a fourth-down conversion attempt on its first drive of the third quarter. Lyons fumbled on the next possession, and Lawrence recovered, giving its offense the ball in the red zone. 

On the first play after the fumble, Coombs connected with Larouche for his second touchdown catch of the game, this one from 14 yards out, to put the Bulldogs up 35-6. 

Jackson shined for Lewiston on both sides of the ball, and on Lewiston’s final drive scored on a 10-yard run. 

Whether it be making plays on offense or being a ball hawk on defense, Hartley said Jackson has been impressive all season. 

“Dylon Jackson leads our team in tackles,” Hartley said. “He probably is in the top-five or 10 in the conference and averages 12 tackles a game at strong safety. Unfortunately for that, he bites so hard in the box so much and they beat us on a waggle in a blown coverage, but it’s because we are in a blown coverage, so Dylon is sticking his nose in there. It’s no fault of his, he’s just a good player, physical, and he is a bright spot and has been all year long.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.