AUGUSTA — Ground and pound versus the aerial assault.

It will be two vastly different offensive approaches when Brunswick and Cony High Schools face off Friday night for the first time since last year’s Pine Tree Conference B championship game.

The Dragons have looked every bit as formidable as their nickname suggests, blowing out Brewer and Gardiner by a combined 92-14 in their first two games. The Rams, meanwhile, have had a somewhat tough start. They had to come from behind to drop Messalonskee 24-13 in their opener and fell at Brewer in Week 2 46-40 in overtime.

Cony was without senior captain Tayler Carrier for the game against the Witches though, and he will be back in uniform tonight against Brunswick.

Here’s a look at the matchup:

• Last season: Brunswick defeated Cony 54-38 in the regular season, while the Rams beat the Dragons 48-38 in the PTC B championship.

• Cony players to watch: WR/LB/KR Tayler Carrier, QB Mitchell Caron, RB/LB Reid Shostak, OL/DL Elias Younes, WR/CB Joel Bennett, WR Kyle Armstrong, WR Anthony Brunelle.

• Brunswick players to watch: FB/LB Alex Bandouveres, RB/LB Will Bessey, C/DT Devin Hewson, OT/DT Nick Osborne, RB/LB Cam Bailey.

• Cony coach Robby Vachon on Brunswick: “They’re explosive offensively; they have a good offensive line year in and year out and that’s a credit to coach Cooper. They’re good. I don’t see them being any different than the last few years we’ve played them. They’re a big challenge.”

• Brunswick coach Dan Cooper on Cony: “We’re very excited to play Cony. It’s kind of turned into our rival game. We’ve had some very good games with them over the years and we’re looking forward to another good one tomorrow.”

Three keys for Cony

1. ‘Bando’ brothers. Whether blocking for Bessey or carrying the ball himself, Bandouveres is the type of player the Rams will need to send multiple tacklers at to bring down. The fullback/linebacker is a load to tackle at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds.

2. Weather the storm. The Dragons buried Brewer and Gardiner in the first quarter in their first two games. If Cony can get a couple stops and jump in front early on, then it may have a chance to take Brunswick out of its comfort zone a bit and force the Dragons to go to the air more than they would like.

3. Ben who? There were questions coming into the season how Caron would play taking over at quarterback for Fitzpatrick Award winner Ben Lucas, but in two games he has put those doubts to rest. On the season he is 42-of-75 for 536 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions, and has also rushed 27 times for 104 yards and four touchdowns. He will need to continue to play at a high level to give the Rams a chance Friday.

Three keys for Brunswick

1. Guess who’s back? Carrier missed last week’s game against Brewer and will be looking to return in a big way in all three phases of the game. The Dragons likely can’t shut him down completely, but will be in good shape if they can find a way to limit his impact.

2. Make the right Reid. If there is any Ram that can take Bandouveres head on, it’s Shostak. Brunswick will need to find a way to account for him to prevent Shostak from being a disruptive force in the run game.

3. Keep ’em in front. Brunswick has had trouble limiting the big plays against Cony in recent meetings. If the Dragons can keep the Rams in front and make them work for their points a couple yards at a time, then they in turn should force Cony into playing at a pace better suited to Brunswick’s style.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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