ORONO — Years from now, what will we call it? The Orono Drive? The Cony Comeback? The Morse Field Miracle?

Right now, the Cony High School football team is calling its 99-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter the path to the Gold Ball.

Trailing by a point with 4 minutes, 45 seconds to play, Cony forced a Kennebunk fumble at its own 1-yard line. Then, Cony made history. The drive ended 99 yards later, when Ben Lucas threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Saban with exactly a minute remaining.

“It was a slide flag (route),” Lucas said. “The corner bit on the slide and Saban got under (the pass).”

Ninety-nine yards in 3:45, and the Rams never panicked.

“We said we’ve got to keep our heads. We’ve got to play hard,” Saban said.

The drive started poorly, with Lucas throwing incompletions on first and second down. On third and 10 from the 1, Lucas connected with Saban for a 14-yard completion on the right sideline, moving the Rams to their own 14.

“We just tried a couple shots down the field. It didn’t work,” said Lucas, who threw for 67 of his 347 yards on the drive. “We just knew, if we got a little breathing room, we’d get rolling.”

After a 1-yard run by Charlie Hallak on first down, Lucas went to Saban again, this time for 11 yards on the left side. On the next play, Cony caught a break, when Kennebunk’s Ben Bath dropped an interception on a screen pass.

After Lucas scrambled for 4 yards, Kennebunk was hit with a pass interference penalty, setting Cony up with first and 10 from its own 45.

Before the drive, Cony head coach Robby Vachon didn’t give his team any quick rah rah speech. He didn’t think he had to.

“Just let them go out and do their thing,” Vachon said.

Lucas and Saban connected again, this time for 18 yards, and Cony was at the Kennebunk 37. Lucas completed four passes on the drive, all to Saban.

“We just have a connection. We’ve been playing together since I can remember,” Lucas said. “He just gets open.”

With just over 2 minutes left, Cony went to three consecutive running plays, all Hallak, all up the middle. The runs gained 12 yards and set the Rams up at the Kennebunk 25 Cony wasn’t trying to take time off the clock to prevent Kennebunk from having more time, if it got the ball back after a Cony score, Vachon said.

“Coach Lip (offensive coordinator BL Lippert) was just taking what they were giving us,” Vachon said.

On first and 10 from the Kennebunk 25, the Rams ran the winning play. Saban ran 10 yards up the field, then cut hard toward the right corner of the end zone, gaining a step on his defender. Twice on the drive, Saban left the field with a minor injury. Just cramps, he said. He didn’t drink enough water.

On Cony’s final offensive play, Saban ran as hard as he had all night. He caught the ball as he crossed the goal line.

“Ben hit me in stride,” Saban said. “Ben dropped it in there perfectly.”

Ninety-nine yards in 3:45. When Cony fans think of this gold ball, won in the first championship game in the school’s history, they’ll think of that. Saban, gutting out the final route of his career, to catch the 89th touchdown pass of Lucas’ career, in stride and into history.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242[email protected]Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.