Brunswick just ran out of time.
Saturday evening in the Class B state football final at Fitzpatrick Stadium, the Dragons, who were effectively without the services of standout injured running back Will Bessey, dug a 21-0 hole against defending state champion Marshwood, but Brunswick, which lost to the Hawks in last year’s finale, rallied in the second half only to fall just short.
The Dragons won seven of eight regular season games, losing only to Brewer, then outscored Mt. Blue and Brewer by a combined score of 89-0 in advancing to the state final, while Marshwood, which lost twice in the regular season, put it all together in the postseason and the Hawks punched their ticket with a surprisingly decisive 48-22 win at top-ranked Falmouth in their regional final.
Marshwood rolled 44-18 a year ago and looked every bit as prolific to start this one, outgaining Brunswick 233 yards to 77 in the first half.
Justin Stacy, Zach Doyon and Cole McDaniel shredded the Dragons’ second level on the opening drive, gobbling up 73 yards in only six plays. McDaniel punctuated the statement with a 6-yard bootleg to the left side that worked for a big gain almost every time the Hawks pulled it from the playbook.
Two Brunswick drives ended on downs in Marshwood territory in the first half, and the Hawks mostly played keep-away when they got it back.
A 28 yard McDaniel to Doyon touchdown pass made it 14-0 and Doyon carried the ball six times on a drive that gobbled up most of the final six minutes in the second quarter. McDaniel ran it in from 5 yards on fourth-and-2 with 20 seconds left for a seemingly commanding 21-0 Marshwood lead.
“Their blocking was really good,” Dragons coach Dan Cooper said. “We knew they were good. They really surprised us with how easy they were able to get to the edge.”
Brunswick responded at the start of the second half, as Jesse Devereaux (129 yards and a score on 19 carries) capped a seven-minute drive with a 5-yard TD run, cutting the deficit to 21-7.
After Dragons quarterback hit Jackson Gordon for a 15-yard touchdown pass with less than five minutes to go, Marshwood didn’t let Brunswick get the ball back and went to win, 21-14.
“We ran the same plays, but the kids tightened their chin straps a little tighter and were a little more focused,” Cooper said. “I was thrilled with the way they performed in the second half. We knew we were going to have to play well for four quarters to win, and we didn’t do that enough tonight.”
Brunswick (9-2) lost another captain, Andrew Cilea, to injury during the game.
“If there was a price I could pay or an action I could do to get a little more time on the clock at the end for these seniors, I would have done anything,” Cooper said.
Sun Journal staff writer Kalle Oakes contributed to this story
Brunswick’s Jesse Devereaux, who ran for 129 yards and a touchdown, finds some room to roam during Saturday’s Class B state final.
Brunswick quarterback Thomas Hanson tries to elude a Marshwood tackler during the Dragons’ 21-14 loss to the Hawks in Saturday’s Class B state championship game.