BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick Dragons took control from the opening kickoff and rolled to a 68-34 victory over the Gray-New Gloucester Patriots on Thursday in an 8-man Large South quarterfinal.

Brunswick junior Lucas Labrecque returned the opening kick 80 yards down the Dragons’ sideline to the end zone, and fourth-seeded Brunswick converted the two-point conversion for an early 8-0 lead.

“I was ready for this game …” Labrecque said. “I think we focused well and we executed well.”

Labrecque said once he found a hole in the Patriots coverage, he knew he was doing the distance.

Brunswick coach Mark Renna said Labrecque’s touchdown helped settle the Dragons down, who won four games in the regular season.

“That was a big weight off our shoulders,” Renna, a former Gray-New Gloucester head coach, said. “The seniors, they won one game their whole career until this year — this year they won four games. So the first time in playoffs, they don’t know the experience, they get a little tight, and that took all the pressure off.


“Kickoff to the house relieves all the pressure and they can play their game.”

Gray-New Gloucester coach Mike Caiazzo said he was proud of the way the Patriots played without all of their regular players.

“The guys regrouped and clawed back into the game,” Caiazzo said. “Hats off to Brunswick; they are a good team. It’s tough, we had five key players out. The young guys stepped up, and I thought, for the most part, played pretty well.”

The next two Brunswick (5-3) drives ended with running back Jimmy Cook crossing the goal line. First, he scored a 7-yard touchdown by breaking through a Patriots (1-7) tackler and reaching over the goal line. His second TD of the first quarter was a 3-yd rush that gave Brunswick a 22-0 lead.

Cook said the Dragons felt sure they were on their way to victory when they went up three scores.

“You are on the top of the world and you know you are going to win,” Cook said. “(Labrecque) had that touchdown; that return was awesome.”


Renna said Brunswick wanted to establish a running game in the postseason.

“You have to run the ball in the playoffs,” Renna said. “We are a pass-first team; Trevor Gerrish, 6-foot-5 receiver, has 16 touchdowns, and Cam Beal, our quarterback, has thrown for 20 touchdowns, but we need the run game in the playoffs. Tonight was a good night to get Jimmy running. Our line played pretty well and we are coming together — we had a few combinations throughout the year.”

Big plays got the fifth-seeded Patriots right back into the game. Quarterback Kobi Conant found a wide-open Ben Powell in the middle of the field for a 70-yard pass and catch. The two also connected for the two-point conversion.

Gray-New Gloucester quarterback Kobi Conant winds up for a pass during Thursday night’s playoff game in Brunswick against the Dragons.. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Two plays into the ensuing Dragons possession, Gray-NG’s Kody Tracy picked off Beal and returned it for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 22-14 in the first quarter.

“He has been stepping up all year,” Caiazzo said of Tracy. “I am looking forward to coaching him in the future.”

Renna gave credit to Tracy for making a play for his team. He said giving up the two quick scores was due to the lack of experience Brunswick has in big games.


Beal helped the Dragons rebuild their lead through a pair of short touchdown passes to Liam Scholl in the second quarter, making it 38-22.

Renna said Beal read the defense well and didn’t force deep throws.

“Cam played receiver last year and he’s learning to play quarterback,” Renna said. “He’s learning to take what they give you.”

In between those touchdown passses, Conant found Brady Castrucci for a 44-yard TD pass.

Towards the end of the second quarter, Beal connected with Gerrish for a 9-yard scoring strike, and the two-point conversion gave the Dragons a 46-22 lead.

Labrecque added a touchdown early in the third quarter to extend Brunswick’s cushion to 52-22.


“I just found the gap,” Labreque said of his 20-yard touchdown run.

Cole Prescott — Gray-New Gloucester’s backup quarterback who came in after Conant was injured making a tackle on defense late in the second quarter — scored for Gray-New Gloucester on a 2-yard run to cut the deficit to 52-28.

“He really stepped up,” Caiazzo said of Prescott. “He throws a nice ball, he really steps in the pocket really nice. He’s going to be a good quarterback in this league.”

Gerrish had another TD catch for Brunswick and Christian McMaster added a rushing TD. McMaster carried the ball six times for 39 yards on that drive, while Cook had 26 yards on three carries.

Powell caught another TD pass to wrap up the Patriots’ scoring.

“The last three or four weeks, Ben has been coming up big in key situations,” Caiazzo said. “He’s a big body, great hands, and did a really fine job of leading the guys out there.”

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