Brunswick’s Cameron Cornett is stood up by a Marshwood defender during the Hawks’ 49-0 victory in Saturday’s Class B state final.
Brunswick’s Noah Goddard prepares to make a tackle.
PORTLAND—There were a lot of things to talk about with regards to the Marshwood football team. Words like big, strong, fast, agile, and smart, were uttered by Brunswick coach Dan Cooper leading into Saturday night’s Class B state championship game at Fitzpatrick Stadium.
The purple-and-white wearing Hawks were all those things and much, much more, rolling to a 49-0 victory and their fourth title in the past five seasons.
There were lots of heroes on this night for Marshwood.
Senior running back Trevor Chase rushed for 177 yards on just nine carries, while senior quarterback Tommy Springer threw for 158 yards and a pair of scores, one each to juniors John Valentine and Cullen Casey.
Defensively, the Hawks were just as good, holding Brunswick’s offense to 158 yards and forcing three key turnovers.
“(Marshwood) is a good team,” Cooper said. “They would have made a lot of teams have a bad day. We didn’t compete like we needed to and we made some mistakes. They hit us with some passes in the first half and we blew a few coverages there.”
Marshwood won the opening coin flip and drove 67 yards for a touchdown. The Hawks didn’t allow a pair of penalties to slow them down, with Connor Nickerson finishing the march with a 4-yard TD run. Springer threw to Nickerson for the 2-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Brunswick’s first possession began at its 20-yard line. The Dragons picked up two first downs behind the running of Mitch Leinert, Nate Girardin, Cam Hathaway and Noah Goddard. But, a fumble near midfield was recovered by Marshwood, and four plays later Springer found Casey for a 22-yard touchdown pass and a 15-0 advantage.
A big play for Brunswick came early in the second quarter. Marshwood was forced to punt, with the Hawks punter dropping the snap. Nick Munn made the tackle for a 16-yard loss, giving the Dragons the ball at the Marshwood 34-yard line.
But, the Hawks defense refused to budge, with Michael Cruz and Jake Lindsay combining on a sack of Girardin to force a punt.
Marshwood struck again, this time with Springer finding a wide open Valentine for a 46-yard touchdown, and after Lindsay’s kick the Hawks held a 22-0 lead.
A 7-yard Springer run extended the advantage to 29-0.
“Credit to Marshwood,” said Girardin. “They are a hell of team that played well all season,” said Girardin.
Brunswick had a chance to get on the scoreboard late in the first half. Leinert intercepted a Springer pass and returned it 20 yards to the Marshwood 30. However, a pair of sacks by Drew Gregor and Connor Caverly sent the Dragons to the locker room without a point.
Chase took over for the Hawks in the second half. He kept his balance and sprinted 51 yards for a third-quarter score, and finished off his big night with a 72-yard TD run in the fourth.
“We had a great weak of practice and knew how big this would be,” said Chase. “You have to take every game that you play like this for what it is, a state championship. We had to put the Kennebunk game (a 14-13 Marshwood win in the B South regional final) aside and prepare for Brunswick. We did that.”
Another solid drive ended with Brunswick’s third turnover on offense, and Marshwood backup quarterback Sean Maguire completed the scoring with a 53-yard run with one minute remaining.
Giradin, who finished with 44 yards rushing and 16 yards receiving, summed up Brunswick’s run to the state final.
“We were happy to make it here,” Girardin said. “We kept our heads up, kept smiling. Two comeback wins in the playoffs, always good to beat Cony, beating Lawrence, it was a journey and I loved every minute of it.”.
“No matter what happened today, there was nothing going to change the way I feel about these kids,” Cooper added. “We are proud of the fact that we won B North. That was quite a challenge.”
Marshwood racked up 493 yards of total offense, with 335 coming on the ground behind Chase, Springer (11 rushes, 55 yards, TD) and Nickerson (6-39, TD). Springer was 8-of-11 in the air for 158 yards, with Valentine hauling in two receptions for 86 yards and a score. On defense, Valentine led the Hawks with seven tackles and an interception, with Adam Doyon, Sam Hammond and Caverly finishing with five tackles each.
For Brunswick, Leinert had 51 yards rushing on 12 carries, with Jack Harvey adding 30 yards on seven second-half rushes. Leinert, Toby Mancisidor, Tyler Nadeau, Goddard and Jeremiah McNeill picked up five tackles apiece to pace the Brunswick defense.