AUGUSTA — How do you replace a quarterback like Ben Lucas?

How do you replace a quarterback that last season won not only the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy as the state’s best quarterback, but the Maine Gatorade Football Player of the Year Award as well?

A quarterback that helped lead his team to the Class B state championship?

Well, you don’t and Mitchell Caron knows this.

“I’m going to try to follow Ben the best I can, but I bring a different advantage because I get to run the ball. Ben didn’t get to run the ball,” Caron said. “I look forward to doing that this year.”

Caron was a defensive starter for the Rams last year, but saw very limited action at the quarterback position. While he is confident in his abilities, Caron admitted the first week of practice has been somewhat of a challenge.

“This first week has been a little difficult, possibly the most difficult out of the four years,” Caron said. “We’re learning the plays, getting them down, a couple new guys stepped up and we’re doing great.”

Tayler Carrier flourished last season as a junior with Lucas under center, and said he has the utmost confidence in Cony’s new signal caller.

“He’s doing a real good job,” Carrier said. “He throws a great ball, he’s picking up the offense really quick, which is what we need for this team to be successful.

“I definitely think Mitchell can handle the pressure. He’s not one to buckle under pressure, so he should do a really good job for us. No doubt about it.”

Both agreed, though, there is still plenty of work to be done — particularly when it comes to getting the timing down in Cony’s spread offense.

“The only transition has been to get on the same page as him,” Carrier said. “Me and Ben were always on the same page, and that’s obviously going to be a big thing for me and Mitchell.”

• • •

A similar storyline has permeated the early part of training camp for 2013 Class D champ Oak Hill.

Dalton Therrien is taking over at quarterback this season for Parker Asselin, and the early reviews have been positive.

“He’s picking things up really quick,” senior Alex Mace, a wide receiver/running back, said. “He’s picking up right where Parker left off. He’s bringing it.”

“He’s done beyond my expectations,” added senior running back Kyle Flaherty. “Dalton’s done so well. He’s confident out there, he throws the ball excellent and he can run as well.”

Mace and Flaherty enter the season as the biggest offensive threats for the Raiders. Flaherty has rushed for more than 3,000 yards in his career, while Mace — more of a receiving threat — has amassed over 3,000 total yards.

Having a serviceable quarterback will be key to keeping Oak Hill’s offense balanced, and in a scrimmage against Lisbon on Monday, Therrien looked more than that at times.

Early on he connected with Mace on a pass that went for about 30 yards, as Mace ran a post to the right and managed to haul in a spectacular, diving, one-handed grab.

“Alex Mace is going to catch those every game,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “He makes the quarterback look good.”

While the catch was better than the throw on the first long completion, Therrien put two long passes right on the money later in the scrimmage to Matty Martin and Kyle Tervo, respectively, streaking down the sidelines. Both plays went for more than 40 yards.

“He had a very good scrimmage for his first start,” Doucette said. “He played pretty well.”

Therrien did have a turnover and was off the mark on a few throws, but overall showed he could be a weapon for the Raiders this season.

• • •

On Saturday, Nokomis and John Bapst will play the second annual MS Bowl at Husson University in Bangor.

The two head coaches, brothers Dan O’Connell (John Bapst) and Matt O’Connell (Nokomis), initiated the exhibition game last season to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research. Their mother, Barbara O’Connell, suffers from the disease.

“We’ll honor members of both communities fighting MS,” Matt O’Connell said.

Nokomis and John Bapst play in different leagues, Nokomis is Class C and John Bapst is Class D, making this the only time in the season the O’Connell brothers will coach against each other.

• • •

Two former longtime Waterville assistant coaches will be on new sidelines this season.

Waterville offensive coordinator Ken Lindlof is now on the staff at Lawrence, where he’ll work with head coach John Hersom calling plays for the Bulldogs and coach the quarterbacks.

Former Waterville defensive coordinator Dennis Martin is now at Messalonskee, where he’ll work with linebackers and offensive guards.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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