AUGUSTA — A free play is a dangerous thing in the hands of an offense like that of the Cony High School football team.

A turnover on downs from Skowhegan (2-3) allowed the Rams a free shot at the end zone with 2.2 seconds left in the first half in a close game and Cony made the Indians pay Friday night.

Mitchell Caron found Anthony Brunelle in the back, right corner of the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown on what proved to be a back-breaking play for Skowhegan in a 28-7 victory for the Rams at Alumni Field.

“It was a pretty big play for us,” Cony coach Robby Vachon said. “I thought we battled well, we did some things wrong tonight that we have to get better at but anytime you come out of here with a 28-7 victory against a quality team like that you’ve got to appreciate what we did on the field.”

After Cony’s Tayler Carrier scored on a 1-yard run off a direct snap with 57.3 seconds remaining in the half to put the Rams up 14-7, Skowhegan took over at its own 34-yard line with 48 seconds showing on the clock.

Looking for a last-second score, the Indians gained a little traction and picked up a first down near midfield. From there, however, the drive stalled.

Skowhegan was faced with a difficult decision on 4th and 8 with just nine seconds remaining in the half and the ball at its own 48-yard line. The Indians elected to go for it, and on the play quarterback Nathan Morris was sacked for a 17-yard loss by junior Benaiah Willhoite.

“It was a bad call by me. I should have punted the football,” Skowhegan coach Matt Friedman said. “It was a poor decision and it put our team in a bad spot.”

“Our thought was when we were talking on the headset that we had a chance where we could draw it out and make it one play. It didn’t work out that way.”

How it worked out was a 31-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell Caron to Anthony Brunelle. On the play, the athletic Cony quarterback bought some extra time with his legs rolling to the right, where he had time to settle and loft a pass to Brunelle, who made a fantastic catch.

“We were just fortunate to get the ball where we got it,” Vachon said. “It was actually a designed play and Mitchell threw it up in the back of the end zone to give him a chance to make a play.”

Caron added a 4-yard touchdown run with 3:45 left in the third quarter, and from there the Rams leaned on their strong offensive line and the running of Reid Shostak.

“We got some really good movement up front,” Vachon said. “They started to send some blitzes at the end and kind of slowed us down a little bit, but (Shostak) runs really hard. He plays his tail off every game.”

Shostak finished with 102 rushing yards on 14 carries and also added five catches for 41 yards. Carrier paced the receiving game with 10 catches for 124 yards, while Caron went 21-for-30 with two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and no interceptions.

Running back Kaleb Brown was a workhorse for the Indians, carrying the ball 29 times for 205 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 21 yards.

Skowhegan may have taken a step back in the ultracompetitive Pine Tree Conference B, but it’s a position the Indians are more than familiar with overcoming.

“We were in this exact same position a year ago,” Friedman said. “We were 2-3 coming off a tough loss to Cony at home last year and we were able to win two in a row and put ourselves right back in the playoff mix.

“We’re going to do what we do. We’re going to go home, we’re going to figure out what we need to fix and be better Friday night.”

Evan Crawley – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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