CUMBERLAND — Dave Higgins was speechless. His Greely High School football players, however, did plenty of talking.
The Rangers put together perhaps their most complete game of the season to stun Cony High School 35-21 Friday night. The Rangers overpowered the Rams, rushing for 391 total yards, while forcing three critical turnovers.
“The kids played awesome,” said Higgins. “Cony is a great team and I can’t speak highly enough about these guys. They just did a great job.
“Amazing, just amazing. I can’t talk right now.”
Greely quarterback Matt Pisini rushed for 174 yards, scoring touchdowns on sprints of 38 and 43 yards, while throwing for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Fullback James Ferrar rushed for 164 yards and one touchdown.
“Give Greely all the credit,” Cony coach Robby Vachon said. “They came to play tonight. It was their Senior Night. They seemed like they really had something to play for. Their kids played really, really hard.
“We picked the wrong night to not have a good game. We looked very flat offensively and quite frankly we got our butt kicked offensively.”
Greely, ranked fifth in Western Class B coming in, improved to 4-3. Cony, ranked second in Eastern Class B, is now 5-2.
The Rangers, said several players, did have something to play for. Their losses this year have come to the three top ranked teams in the conference. And they have been hearing whispers that they weren’t as good as those teams.
“A lot of people have counted us out,” Pisini said. “We were down. But we stepped up.”
Especially defensively against perhaps the best quarterback in the state, Ben Lucas. While Lucas threw for 257 yards, he was pressured all night and threw two interceptions. The Rams were also turned back twice in the first half when they were inside the Greely 15.
“Those were missed opportunities,” Vachon said. “You’ve got to capitalize on those opportunities. Credit to Greely. They came to play tonight and they took it to us.”
Still, the Rams led 14-6 with 1:05 left in the first half after a 2-yard run by Tayler Carrier and Kevin Kingsbury’s PAT. Greely, however, responded. The Rangers drove 70 yards in seven plays, getting a 27-yard touchdown pass from Pisini to Will Peck, who caught the ball in the back of the end zone between two Ram defenders, with 7.4 seconds remaining in the first half. Pisini then threw the tying conversion pass to Sam Peck and it was 14-14.
“In that situation, the clock’s running down, we’re trying to get the plays out, try to do things right and that wasn’t even the play we called,” Pisini said. “Will saw something in the coverage, he ran it deep. I picked him up. I threw it up there and he was there to get it.”
The Rangers then got the ball to start the third quarter and drove 68 yards in 13 plays, taking the lead on a 13-yard pass from Pisini to Sam Peck. Christian Kroot kicked the PAT.
Cony came back, drove to the Rangers 12 behind the passing of Lucas and running of Reid Shostak (130 yards). But on second down, cornerback Chance Carr intercepted Lucas in the end zone, returning the ball to the 20. That led to an 80-yard, eight-play drive capped by Pisini’s first touchdown, the 37-yarder.
The Rangers forced two other turnovers in the second half.
“We worked hard all week in practice,” said Ferrar. “And everyone was saying things against us. We used that as fuel for this game. We wanted this win.”