The Cony football team is a win away from securing a .500 or better regular season as well as the likelihood that it will head back to the postseason yet again.
The Rams (3-1) also know that earning that fourth victory won’t come easy, at least not tonight.
Cony will visit playoff-hopeful Skowhegan (2-2) in a key PTC B showdown at 7 p.m. at Clark Field.
Both teams know what’s at stake.
“It’s crucial,” Cony coach Robby Vachon said. “But with the parity in this league, every game is crucial.”
Added Skowhegan coach Matt Friedman, whose team lost a 60-14 decision to the Rams last year: “This is our biggest game of the year. We’re playing one of the top teams in the league and we have to win a couple games here to get into the playoffs. In our mind, if we win this game we pretty much secure ourselves a playoff berth. We haven’t been to the postseason since 2008. We still could go even if we lose, but we don’t want to take any chances. We want to win this one and roll into playoffs.”
So, too, do the Rams, who are coming off their first victory over Lawrence in a decade.
Both teams feature dynamic spread offenses, although the Indians will run some read option plays with quarterback Adam Clukey.
Senior quarterback Ben Lucas has thrown for 1,364 yards and 15 touchdowns in four games. He’s spread the ball around, but one of his top targets — junior Tayler Carrier — may not play tonight after he suffered an ankle injury against Lawrence.
Carrier was in an aircast this week and Vachon said he’s a game-time decision. Even if Carrier does play, it’s uncertain how effective he’ll be.
“We won’t know anything on him until (today),” Vachon said. “He’s done some work on the bike, but we just don’t know.”
Jonathan Saban caught three touchdown passes against the Bulldogs, and he’ll be asked to help lead the offense again if Carrier can’t go.
“We still threw for 340 yards against Lawrence without Tayler,” Vachon added. “We would miss him if he can’t go, but we still have some athletes out there.”
Friedman said Lucas presents all sorts of matchup headaches.
“He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the state, never mind our class,” he said. “They have great athletes. They have a great passing attack, but we think we have the athletes who can slow him down.”
Clukey has thrown for about 850 yards and has plenty of weapons to throw to in the passing game. Ben Salley and Owen Mercier are two key go-to targets for Clukey.
The Indians will also lean on running back Kaleb Brown, who’s rushed for 488 yards and five touchdowns.
“Our game is similar to their game,” Friedman said, “but we do a few things differently. We do a read option type of game, and although (Clukey) doesn’t keep it a lot, he can keep it if he wants to. Passing-wise, we throw a lot at Adam and we ask him to make important reads.
“I feel Adam Clukey is right up there in the conversation with the top two or three in the league. The biggest thing with Adam is that he’s not making mistakes. He’s protected the ball a lot better.”
Added Vachon: “They are very similar to us. They operate out of the shotgun and put a ton of pressure on coverage. They have some athletes on defense and can fly to the ball. We had our way with them last year and I’m sure that is in the back of their minds. This is a big challenge.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640