AUGUSTA — Members of the Cony High School football team ran through passing drills on Sunday night, preparing for the unofficial start of the 2014 high school football season.

The Leavitt Area High School 7 on 7 league begins play on July 6 with 18 teams in three divisions, and runs for three weeks until July 20. The league features three defending state champions, Cony (Class B), Leavitt (Class C) and Oak Hill (Class D).

For Cony, the passing league is less of a chance to begin battles for open positions, and more of an opportunity to go over the basics of its offense.

“What it does, it gives us a chance to introduce some of our formations, some of our offensive package, to the kids who haven’t been here before,” Cony head coach Robby Vachon said. “It’s more for them than it is for (coaches). It gives them an opportunity to learn what we do offensively, and just get a jump start before we get into the preseason, so it’s not all installation. We can actually get some kids some reps early in the year.”

Still, the 7 on 7 league, which features a physical style of two-hand touch play, will give Vachon a chance to see some players fighting for positions, most notable quarterback. Ben Lucas, who won the Fitzpatrick Trophy as the state’s top player and graduated as the most prolific high school quarterback in Maine history, is off to the University of Maine. Returning players Mitchell Caron and Tayler Carrier will see snaps at quarterback in the 7 on 7 league.

“It’s no big secret we have a pretty good nucleus coming back. We have (Reid) Shostak back, Mitchell Caron back, Carrier back. That being said, we have some holes to fill on the O-line,” Vachon said. “You really can’t know what we’re going to look like in 7 on 7 up front. That’s going to have to wait until we put the pads on.”

The Leavitt 7 on 7 league is one of three leagues around the state, with the others at Hampden Academy and Bonny Eagle High School in Standish. Leavitt head coach Mike Hathaway started the league a few years ago with Darren Hartley, the former head coach at Edward Little of Auburn. Originally, the league played games in Turner and Auburn, but when Hartley stepped down at Edward Little, the league moved exclusively to Leavitt.

Leavitt’s 7 on 7 league has had at least 16 teams in each of the past three seasons, Hathaway said, and more than 20 schools have taken part.

“It’s pretty physical, actually, and it gets pretty competitive as you get towards the end. When you get to Sunday and the finals, there’s some very good competition,” Vachon said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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