SOUTH PARIS — Chandler Shostak looked at Oxford Hills quarterback Ryan Godin, then to a receiver in motion and made a quick decision.

“We were in a Cover-2 defense,” the Cony senior defensive back said. “I saw their receiver look to go underneath. I read the quarterback and decided to jump the route. I was definitely thinking touchdown when I caught it.”

Shostak did and turned in the play of the game: A 56-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the third quarter to break open a close game and help lift Cony to a tougher-than-it-looks 34-14 win over Oxford Hills in the Pine Tree Conference Class A regular-season finale Friday night.

“We needed it,” Shostak said. “It was a big play.”

The score gave Cony a 27-14 lead. The victory, coupled with Messalonskee’s loss to Lawrence, gives Cony (7-2) the No. 2 seed in the PTC A semifinals next weekend. The Rams will host No. 3 Brunswick (6-2), which plays Mt. Ararat (0-8) today.

“It feels good right now,” Cony coach Robby Vachon said. “To have a home playoff game, it feels really good. But this one wasn’t easy.”

Cony, which trailed 14-13 at one point, lost junior quarterback Ben Lucas for several series midway through the game because of an ankle injury. Wide receiver Tayler Carrier, who caught a touchdown pass in the first quarter from Lucas, also went down with a neck injury and did not return.

“We overcame some adversity,” Lucas said.

Lucas, who completed 21 of 35 passes for 199 yards, went down with 5 minutes, 19 seconds left in the second quarter when he was sacked by Josiah Cushman. Oxford Hills defensive lineman Spencer Thompson was also injured on the play and was taken away by ambulance.

Oxford Hills coach Mark Soehren, whose team finished 3-6, said Thompson suffered a neck injury but was removed for “precautionary purposes.”

Thompson gave two thumbs up to the crowd as he was lifted into the ambulance. Lucas missed the rest of the second quarter but returned to start the third quarter.

“They brought the house on the play and I got my ankle twisted up,” Lucas said. “I’ll be OK.”

Lucas threw the one touchdown, his 30th of the season, an 18-yard connection with Carrier that gave Cony a 6-0 lead with 6:07 left in the first.

Brandon St. Michel rushed for two scores for the Rams. His second came with 8:33 left in the second quarter that helped give Cony a 20-14 lead heading into halftime.

The score stayed that way until Shostak made his interception. Charlie Hallak added a 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for Cony.

Nick Bowie rushed for 89 yards and two first-half touchdowns for the Vikings.

“We kept it close in the first half,” Soehren said.

Added Vachon, whose team went 2-7 last season: “We knew it was going to be a tough game. It always is here.”

Shostak, who filled in at quarterback for Lucas, picked off two passes. He threw one as well.
“It was a little rough,” he said. “But it was fun. We’ll take it. It’s quite a turnaround from last year.”

Bill Stewart – 621-5640
[email protected]

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