Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By BILL STEWART / Kennebec Journal
AUGUSTA – Ben Lucas threw a 12-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter to Dayshawn Roberts, and second-seeded Cony held on to beat No. 3 Brunswick 21-20 in an Eastern Class A football semifinal before about 2,500 fans Saturday.
"November 7 of last year we started our offseason workouts," Lucas said. "I remember the date exactly. What a difference a year makes."
The Rams (8-2) will play at top-seeded Lawrence (10-0) in the Eastern Class A championship game.
The Dragons (7-3) squandered a 14-0 first-quarter lead, then missed an extra point late in the fourth quarter that would've tied the game.
"It was a game of inches," said Brunswick Coach Dan Cooper, whose team outgained Cony 412-276 in total yards. "We seemed to be just a few short. But kudos to Cony, they made some unbelievable plays."
Lucas completed 21 of 34 passes for 227 yards and the touchdown to Roberts, which came on third-and-goal from the 12 with 33 seconds left in the third quarter and the teams tied 14-14. Lucas also threw two interceptions.
Cony's standout senior wide receiver, Chandler Shostak, had five catches for 96 yards. He also rushed for two touchdowns from the wildcat formation.
Jonathan Saban had seven catches for 55 yards as Lucas spread the ball around to five players.
Tayler Carrier, who was cleared to play Friday after suffering a neck injury last weekend, finished with five catches for 51 yards.
Brunswick's Jared Jensen ran for 279 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries. However, he also had two of Brunswick's three fumbles that led to 14 Cony points.
"We knew we couldn't turn the ball over and we knew we couldn't make many mistakes," Cooper said.
The Rams took the lead for good when Lucas connected with Roberts on a curl pattern with 33 seconds left in the third quarter. The score capped a nine-play, 52-yard drive.
"Our offense was great when it needed to be," Cony Coach Robby Vachon said. "Our defense, though, was outstanding. Jensen is a special player and we tried to slow him down. We had hoped to keep him out of the end zone."
Cony maintained its 21-14 lead until Jensen rushed for an 8-yard touchdown with 5:30 left in the fourth. However, Adam Casey missed the extra point when his kick bounced off the left upright.
"He's been making them all year," Cooper said. "It's tough, but that wasn't why we lost. We had opportunities earlier and we didn't get it done."
The Dragons did have a final chance to win the game, but Jensen was stuffed on fourth-and-short with under 20 seconds left.