Cony senior quarterback Ben Lucas maintains that each game is important regardless of opponent or venue.
This week is no exception, even with high-powered Hampden Academy rolling into Augusta, but Lucas acknowledges that there is a little more at stake tonight.
“Every week is challenging but this one does stick out, yeah,” Lucas said. “There’s definitely high playoff stakes. This could be a fun game to watch.”
It certainly will impact playoff positioning, with the victor in excellent shape to secure a top-two finish and a bye to the PTC B semifinals. The loser will slip back and almost certainly will play a quarterfinal game.
The Rams (4-1) and Broncos (4-1) will kick off at 7 tonight at Alumni Field.
“They are going to present a real challenge,” Cony coach Robby Vachon said. “They are a dangerous team.”
Added Hampden coach Kevin Canty: “We tell our guys not to worry about the playoffs, but in the back of my mind, I think who ever wins this game will probably secure the second seed. Both teams could use that extra week to rest guys up.”
The Broncos and Rams are near mirror images, at least offensively.
Both run the spread offense and both feature quarterbacks who are among the best in the state. The 6-foot-4 Lucas leads the PTC B in passing, throwing for 1,584 yards and 18 touchdowns.
“He’s just a tall, lanky kid who can get rid of the ball quick,” Canty said. “He can throw the ball. He knows what he’s doing out there.”
Hampden senior Matt Martin, who has verbally committed to the University of Maine to play baseball, has completed 44 of 84 passes for 984 yards and 17 touchdowns in just four games. He did not play in the season opener.
“They are pretty talented offensively,” Vachon said. “They have a very good quarterback who is very athletic. He is a good runner and he has a great arm. He also has some weapons around him.”
Dan Marquis and Austin Spencer lead a deep receiver pool for the Broncos, who’ve won four straight and average 39.4 points a game.
“They have a ton of athletes,” Lucas said. “Martin is a great quarterback. He’s one of the top in the league. I do think we have enough confidence that we can shut him down, though. It’s going to be an interesting game. We haven’t faced a spread offense like ours. This is a new situation for us. We’ll see how it unfolds.”
The Rams, meanwhile, average 40.6 points a game and feature an array of playmakers.
Wide receivers Tayler Carrier, who’s recovered from ankle injury, and Jonathan Saban lead the dynamic offense. John Bennett and Kevin Kingsbury are also weapons in the passing game.
“We’ll see what Hampden comes out with defensively,” Vachon said. “We’ll see either a three- or four-man front. They’ll probably have five or six in coverage. There’s only so many ways you can defend the spread.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640