Sunday, December 8, 2013
OAKLAND -- There was no slow start or disappointing finish for the Cony football team in this season opener.
BIG GAIN: Cony High School running back Reid Shostak, 33, gets tangled up with Messalonskee High School's Jake Dexter in the first quarter Friday at Messalonskee High School in Oakland.
Staff photo / Michael G. Seamans
BIG PLAY: Cony High School quarterback Ben Lucas, 13, center, unloads the ball before getting hit my Messalonskee High School defenders Caleb Bean left, and Jordan Carson, in the first quarter on Friday at Messalonskee High School in Oakland.
Staff photo / Michael G. Seamans
Beaten by Messalonskee in each of the previous two regular-season openers, the Rams earned some measure of redemption Friday night by rolling to a 48-20 victory in a Pine Tree Conference Class B game at Veterans Field.
"We wanted to show some people that we are for real," Cony coach Robby Vachon said.
The Rams, fresh off their finest season in 20 years, made more than a few believers Friday night.
Senior quarterback Ben Lucas completed 15 of 24 passes for 334 yards and three touchdowns and Reid Shostak rushed for 91 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 14 carries to power the Rams.
"It's a huge statement," said Lucas, who threw two touchdown passes to Jonathan Saban and another to John Bennett. "We wanted to come out and establish the run, and we did. And once we did that, we could start throwing."
Cony had little trouble doing both Friday.
The Rams marched down the field on their first possession and grabbed the early lead just 3 minutes, 28 seconds into the game when Lucas hit Saban on a nicely thrown corner route to the back of the end zone. The touchdown capped a seven-play, 37-yard drive.
"It was a quick hitch and the corner bit," Lucas said. "I just put it up there and (Saban) went up and got it."
Three minutes later, after forcing Messalonskee to punt on its first possession, Cony went up 14-0 when Shostak plowed into the end zone from 13 yards out.
"Traditionally, we've got off to slow starts," Vachon said, "but not (Friday). It was good to see."
Messalonskee closed within 14-7 on a Jake Dexter 3-yard touchdown run later in the quarter, but it would be as close as it would get the rest of the way.
Cony scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter, including a 70-yard touchdown strike from Lucas to Bennett in the final minute, to grab a 34-7 lead at the half.
Bennett beat Dexter down the far sideline and Lucas threw a terrific pass over the defense for the lightning-quick strike.
"He put it right in my hands," Bennett said. "It was an incredible throw."
Added Vachon: "You won't see too many high school players make that kind of throw. It was that good."
Shostak and Charlie Hallak rushed for touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game out of reach.
"We played a better game in the second half," Messalonskee first-year coach Brad Bishop said. "We're going to be fine. We'll get a lot better as the season goes on. There's going to be some growing pains."
Saban caught four passes for 94 yards and Bennett had three completions for 134 yards. He also had a fumble recovery.
Corey McKenzie led Messalonskee with 87 rushing yards on 17 carries. Dylan Bragg rushed for 77 yards on 16 carries. Dexter completed 5 of 11 passes for 109 yards.
Bill Stewart -- 621-5640