The Cony football team enjoyed a record-setting night in the Pine Tree Conference Class B championship game Friday in Brunswick.
Senior quarterback Ben Lucas set the state record for career touchdown passes with 86 as the Rams rolled their first-ever state championship game with a 48-38 victory over the Dragons.
Next up for Cony (8-2): Western B top-seed Kennebunk (11-0). The battle of the Rams will begin at 7 Friday night at Alfond Stadium in Orono.
Cony has some familiarity with the University of Maine facility, having competed in a seven-on-seven tournament this summer.
Coaches and staff from both teams will be at UMaine this morning to tour the stadium, which features a turf field.
“We’re going to go up and meet with the (Maine Principals’ Association) and get a good look around,” Cony coach Robby Vachon said. “We’ll tour the locker rooms and check out the facility so we know what to expect.”
Cony competed on turf fields in a few summer seven-on-seven leagues, including ones in Orono and Scarborough. Vachon said he hopes to secure some practice time at either Colby or Thomas College this week in advance of the title game.
“I think we’ll get up there (today) or Wednesday,” he said. “We’d like to just get a feel for the turf again. We’ll see. It’s going to be a harder surface but there should be better footing.”
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Vachon and Kennebunk coach Joe Rafferty exchanged film of two games last weekend. Kennebunk received film of Cony’s playoff victories over Messalonskee and Brunswick. Cony received digital video of Kennebunk’s playoff victories over Marshwood and Westbrook.
Cony planned to spend Monday watching film before the gameplan was put in place.
“We were able to go down and see them in their (Western B) championship game,” Vachon said. “We have an idea of what they like to do. Obviously, they are a dangerous team. They have some big kids and great athletes. We watched film and put a plan in place.”
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The MPA set the times for Super Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.
Bonny Eagle (9-1) and Cheverus (10-0) will begin the day with the Class A state title game at 11 a.m. Oak Hill (9-2) and Bucksport (11-0) will follow in the Class D championship game at 2:36 p.m. Winslow (9-1) will play Leavitt (10-0) in the Class C game at 6 p.m. Tickets for all games are $8 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens. One ticket is good for all three games at Fitzpatrick Stadium on Saturday, but if you leave Fitzpatrick Stadium, you will need to buy another ticket to re-enter.
The Class D showdown will feature two teams with different playoff histories.
Oak Hill will play in its first state game since 1984, when it dropped a 47-0 decision to Dexter for the 1984 Class D championship. The Raiders last won a state title in 1982.
Bucksport, meanwhile, is a six-time state champ. The Golden Bucks are in their second state title game in three years — they lost the 2011 Class C contest to Yarmouth.
“We like the challenge,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “We know what we are up against.”
Doucette would know.
While his team has never played on this stage, Doucette coached in four previous state championship games as an assistant to Dick Mynahan at Lisbon. the Greyhounds won Class C state titles in 1997, 2005 and 2006 with Doucette a top assistant.
“I’m comfortable in these situations,” Doucette said. “There will be no surprises.”
Doucette added that an area of focus this week will be communication between the players and the sideline.
“The big difference between (Fitzpatrick Stadium) and our games is that the kids can’t hear you in Portland,” he said. “There is a lot of noise between the crowd and the wind that blows through the field and even the car noises from the street.
“One thing we’re going to have to work on is hand signals from the field and sideline. It’s going to have to be more involved.”
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Bucksport coach Joel Sankey acknowledged he knows next to nothing about Oak Hill.
“We only know what we’ve seen on a few highlights,” he said. “We haven’t seen them or any film on them.”
Sankey and Doucette swapped film Monday morning in Portland, when coaches from the state championship squads met with the MPA.
Bucksport, like many state game participants, secured some practice time on a turf field. The team has a practice this week at Maine Maritime Academy.
“We’ll get ready,” Sankey said.