HEBRON — Cony High School’s Ben Lucas and Hampden Academy’s Matt Martin have gotten to know each other’s games pretty well over the years.

Widely considered two of the best quarterbacks in the state last season, the two have faced off regularly the past four years with both of their teams competing in Pine Tree Conference B.

“I’ve known Matt along the way, playing sports when we were younger,” Lucas said. “He’s a good kid. We both like to sling it around.”

Few slung it around in the history of Maine football better than Lucas did last season. The Cony quarterback threw for 3,347 yards and 33 touchdowns last season, and finished his career with a state-record 89 touchdown passes.

Lucas is set to begin training camp with the University of Maine football team on Aug. 3 and while making a good impression with the Black Bears is obviously his focus, he said he is not planning on taking it easy in Saturday’s Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl.

“You can’t be timid going into it. It’s just a normal football game. You just have to trust your body,” Lucas said. “I’ve worked hard to have my body in good shape to prevent myself from injuries in any games, so you just kind of have to hope and pray everything goes well.”

Martin may not have had quite the numbers Lucas did, but he certainly had a fantastic season in his own right. The two will be teammates on Saturday as the East squad’s quarterbacks, and they very nearly both ended up Black Bears.

Martin verbally committed to play baseball at UMaine in the spring 2013 but later backed out. He will attend Miami Dade College — which lost in the championship game of the NCJAA JUCO World Series last month — in the fall.

“I was going to (UMaine) but I got an offer where I don’t have to pay, full boat to Miami Dade,” Martin said. “It’s a lot more baseball than I can find up here. I’m going to see where my options are from there if I have some offers.

“…After next year I kind of want to see where things fall and I’ll make my decision from there.”

For now though, both players are focusing on getting ready for Saturday and through the first few days of camp have found out they have a bevy of quality receiving targets.

“It’s crazy. Everyone here is such an unbelievable athlete,” Martin said. “I really can’t pick any favorites. Everyone I’ve been throwing to this week has been a treat for me.

“A lot of athleticism running around out there, good hands. It’s been a blast.”

Lucas will have one of his favorite targets — Cony wide receiver Jonathan Saban — on the field with him Saturday, but he said he has also found some new options that have impressed him.

“Ronny Hargrove, from Portland, that kid can fly,” Lucas said. “D.J. Allen I think is one of the most underestimated receivers in the state. He’s got great hands, he’s got size. I think he might be the best receiver in the state, he just didn’t get a lot of recognition for it.”

Allen, of Skowhegan, spent the fall catching passes from a standout quarterback in his own right, Adam Clukey, but said he has been very impressed with both passers.

“They’re always on target, always there. They’re both really good quarterbacks,” Allen said. “I knew what Ben was already like because I’ve played against him. I never saw Matt throw that much but Matt has a great arm too.”

Allen — who played tight end for the Indians but has been lining up in the slot in Cony/East All-Star coach Robbie Vachon’s spread offense — has not been the only receiver to sing the two quarterbacks’ praises.

“They’re the best I’ve ever played with — besides my boy back home Jake Dexter,” Messalonskee’s Devin Warren said. “These guys are on point with their throws and they’re hitting the spots. That’s all I can ask.”

“Being a wide receiver for this offense is wonderful,” Saban added. “You have a chance to get the ball almost every play. Even with our runs we have screens set up where if the run doesn’t look good the wide receiver can get it.”

Given the talent under center and split out wide, Saturday’s contest is certainly shaping up to be an entertaining affair.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: Evan_Crawley


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