AUGUSTA — The Cony football team steamed and stewed for months after its season-ending loss to Lawrence in the Pine Tree Conference Class A championship game last November.

“That one hurt,” Cony senior quarterback Ben Lucas said. “We wanted another crack at an Eastern Maine championship. It’s all we’ve worked for.”

Lucas and the Rams will get that second opportunity, this time in new-look Pine Tree Conference Class B, after they beat Messalonskee 41-15 on a chilly Friday night at Alumni Field.

No. 2 Cony (7-2), which improved to 10-0 at home the last two seasons, will play at No. 1 Brunswick (7-2) in the PTC B final next weekend.

“Coming into this game, we wanted this bad,” senior wide receiver Jonathan Saban said. “We didn’t expect to win, but we wanted to bad. We put in the work. We want to take it even farther.”

Thanks to yet another impressive aerial show, along with a strong defensive showing, the Rams are a win away from playing for a Class B state championship.

Lucas completed 20 of 34 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a score — on a newly-installed option play. Saban caught six passes for 116 yards and a touchdown for Cony, which forced three turnovers.

Jake Dexter completed 8 of 13 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown — a 75-yard pass to Corey McKenzie on the final play of the first half. He also rushed for a 1-yard touchdown.

The No. 3 Eagles, who had won six of their last seven games, finished 6-4.

“We had a great season,” first-year Messalonskee coach Brad Bishop said. “Cony is the better team. They beat us twice. You have to tip your cap to them. The mistakes hurt us, though.”

Cony struck first when Lucas threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Saban with 5 minutes, 15 seconds left in the opening quarter. The touchdown came one play after Messalonskee was flagged for having 12 players on the field during a Cony punt.

“We took advantage of some opportunities,” Cony coach Robby Vachon said.

The Rams raced ahead 13-0 when new-to-the-backfield Tayler Carrier rushed for a 2-yard touchdown just a minute into the second quarter.

“I found a hole and pounded it in into the end zone,” he said.

Messalonskee fumbled the ball away about six minutes later, which set up yet another Cony touchdown.

Lucas capped a six-play, 36-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown on a quarterback option keeper with 2:55 left until the half.

“I keep telling everyone that I can run the ball,” Lucas said with a laugh. “Nobody seemed to listened. It felt good to get one.”

The Rams appeared poised to take a 20-0 lead into the half when Dexter, after avoiding a heavy Cony rush, hit McKenzie for a 75-yard touchdown as time expired in the second quarter.

“That was a hiccup right there,” Vachon said. “We had a breakdown there. We had to regroup.”

And regroup they did.

Lucas threw a pair of 24-yard touchdown passes — to John Bennett and Carrier — and Reid Shostak added a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 41-7.

“We wanted to come in and jump on them early, and we did,” Lucas said. “We took it to them from the start.”

Shostak rushed for a team-high 66 yards on 12 carries. Carrier rushed for 46 yards on seven carries and also caught three passes for 47 yards.

Cony’s defense contained the dangerous ground game, holding McKenzie to 36 rushing yards. Josh Casey rushed for a team-high 41 yards on 10 carries.

“We deserved this,” Carrier said. “We worked hard. This has been our goal for a long time, to get back to an Eastern Maine championship game.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640[email protected]Twitter: @billstewartkj

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