TOPSHAM – With the bulk of the fourth quarter remaining, Cony High senior Luke Duncklee headed to the sideline, took a seat on the bench and finally let out a smile.

His work here was done, having run through, over and past Mt. Ararat in a 48-12 victory Friday night in a Pine Tree Conference Class A football opener.

Duncklee rushed for 194 yards on 21 carries and accounted for four touchdowns to help the Rams overcome a sluggish first half.

“He’s special,” Cony Coach Robby Vachon said. “You give him a little room and he’ll make you pay.”

Oh, how the Eagles paid Friday night.

Duncklee rushed for touchdowns in the first, second and third quarters before exiting the game with about 8 minutes left.

He also threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Chase Shostak early in the fourth and was 7 of 16 for 71 yards.

“We got into a groove in the second half,” Duncklee said. “We sort of struggled in the first half.”

The victory didn’t come easy for Cony, which needed a strong second half to put the game out of reach.

The Rams led just 14-12 at the half and were forced to play the second half without key players because of injury: wide receiver Nick Lucas (ankle) and free safety John Hall (shoulder).

“I half expected the close game,” Vachon said. “They always give us a battle. Losing Lucas hurt, but we persevered. I never felt at any point in the game that we were in trouble, though.”

Duncklee opened the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown rush after a botched Mt. Ararat punt set up the Rams at the Eagles’ 8-yard line.

Mt. Ararat drove to the Cony 1 on its next possession, but running back Derek True fumbled in the end zone to kill the drive. Chandler Shostak recovered the fumble.

“That was a big play for us,” Duncklee said.

Duncklee rushed for a 21-yard score on the first play of the second quarter, but again the Eagles pulled closer when Brett Milliken scored on a quarterback keeper from 9 yards with 4 minutes, 6 seconds left until halftime.

“The first half we struggled a little bit,” said Cony junior linebacker Phil Obert.

“We were a little frustrated because we thought we should have been up by more.

“But we got it going in the second.”

Duncklee rushed for two touchdowns in the third, from 1 and 7 yards, to put Cony up 27-12 at the end of the quarter.

“We did what we had to do in the second half,” Duncklee said. “We scored early and we just kept playing.”