2016-11-19 / Front Page

Dragons fly past Rams, take Class B title

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By ALEX SPONSELLER
Associate Sports Editor

ORONO -- After losing to Marshwood in two consecutive years, the Brunswick football team finally broke through and topped Kennebunk 28-6 to claim the Class B state championship Friday night.

The Dragons set the tone early, beginning with Ben Palizay taking the opening kickoff 70 yards to the Kennebunk 15. Palizay would score moments later, followed by rushing for the two-point conversion to give Brunswick the 8-0 lead just 1:13 into the game.

The Rams offense would struggle throughout the quarter, gaining less than 10 yards from scrimmage. Turnovers would limit Kennebunk’s offense, as the Rams fumbled twice in the first quarter and were unable to gain any traction.

Hunter Garrett would score for Brunswick less than three minutes into the second, followed by another successful two-point conversion to extend the lead to 16-0.

“We always talk about getting a good start and they punched us in the face from the get-go. We were a little stunned in the first quarter – but they were very aggressive and came right at us,” said Kennebunk head coach Joe Rafferty.

Momentum began to shift in favor of Kennebunk at the 6:18 mark, when Christian Putnam recovered a fumble at the Brunswick 16. The Rams would push the ball and Pat Saunders got the Rams on the board with a touchdown from the one.

Despite the production, the Dragons would take the ensuing kickoff back to the Kennebunk zone, and get a touchdown on a quarterback keeper from the one by Christian Jensen, giving Brunswick the 22-6 lead at the halftime break. Kennebunk was held to under 50 yards of scrimmage in the first half.

The Rams came out much stronger in the second half, and forced three turnovers in the third quarter. Kennebunk recovered two fumbles and Garrett Philbrick recorded an interception. Despite the defensive dominance, the Rams’ offense could not capitalize, and the Dragons retained the 22-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“I think it was more about their defense – they took away just about everything we thought we had. We prepared for what we got but they executed very well. I was impressed,” said Rafferty.

The gridlock continued throughout much of the fourth quarter, with neither team able to push deep in the opponents’ zone. Thanks to a late surge, Brunswick managed to piece together one more deep drive that resulted in a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Palizay to extend the lead to 28-6 and secure the win.

Although the Rams were disappointed in the result, Rafferty and company will cherish the memories made during this historic season.

“Any loss is (disappointing) especially at this time of year. There is so much to the game, you see a group of kids that’s together, they’re going to have memories that no one can erase, there’s a  love and a friendship there that is going to last,” said Rafferty.  “There is so much more to football than a win or a loss.”

Rafferty was proud of his team’s effort, and will miss the seniors that helped pave the way for his program’s success.

“They played as hard as they could and we gave them everything we had … but (Brunswick is) a very good football team,” said Rafferty. “(The seniors) left their mark, certainly. The whole group plays with their heart, I’m very proud of them. They wear the uniform proudly, and I’m happy and proud to be their coach.”

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