AUGUSTA — The Cony football team may be the most improved, if not the most surprising, team in Pine Tree Conference Class A through three games.

Tonight, the Rams will host Bangor in a game each team needs to stay in the mix of a jumbled playoff race.

“This is a huge game,” Cony quarterback Ben Lucas said. “This has serious playoff implications. This is the biggest game a lot of us will have played in.”

Cony (2-1), winners of two straight for the first time since midway through the 2010 season, and Bangor (1-2) face off at renovated Alumni Field at 7 tonight.

Also tonight, Gardiner (3-0) will host Mt. Blue (3-0) in a key PTC B game.

“We had a couple good days of practice and we’re feeling really good about the kids being prepared,” Gardiner coach Matt Burgess said. “We’ve been talking about how potent the Mt. Blue offense has been the first two games.”

Mt. Blue senior Jordan Whitney, one of the best quarterbacks in the conference, if not the state, has completed 68 percent (32 of 47) of his passes for 556 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. Nick Hyde (eight catches for 184 yards, four touchdowns), Cam Abbott and Zak Kendall are the team’s top receivers.

Gardiner senior running back Steve Sirois is averaging about 100 yards a game and quarterback Dennis Meehan is a threat in the air and on the ground. He’s scored five touchdowns in three games.

“Our kids have never gone down to Gardiner,” Mt. Blue coach Gary Parlin said. “We’ve tried to tell them, ‘This is a hornet’s nest you’re going to.’ “

Added Meehan: “This is the heart of our schedule. This is where we want to prove ourselves and show we can play. We’re going to have to execute on offense and on defense we’ll have to swarm to the ball. I think it’s a good matchup. It’s going to be a fun game.”

So, too, could the showdown between the Rams.

Cony comes in averaging 37 points a game thanks to the play of Lucas, tailback Brandon St. Michel and a host of receivers. Since struggling in a season-opening loss to Messalonskee, Lucas is locked in of late. He leads the conference with 649 passing yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s completed 53 percent of his passes (47 for 90).

Cony senior Chandler Shostak leads all PTC A receivers with four touchdowns. He’s second in the conference with 205 receiving yards. Taylor Carrier has six receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown. St. Michel has caught seven passes for 95 yards and two scores.

“It’s a playoff game, that’s for sure. I think we’re two similar teams,” Bangor coach Mark Hackett said. “We both tend to have a lot of athletes. This could be one of those 50-45 games. I just feel like that. There are a lot of athletes on both sides of the field. It’ll be a great game.”

Bangor lost two straight games to open the season before beating Edward Little last weekend. The Rams played that game without starting running backs Zeb Tuell and Cody Chapman, who has rushed for 292 yards and a touchdown.

Both could be back tonight.

“Bangor is going to be a challenge,” said Cony linebacker Kyle Elvin, who’s fifth in the conference with 29 tackles. “But I know we aren’t satisfied with two wins in a row.”

Staff writer Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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