As a sports writer — particularly one with no ties to Maine prior to seven months ago — I don’t root for teams.

I just root to see a great game, and finally after a season’s worth covering high school football I saw one Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.

The phrase ‘instant classic’ gets tossed around a little too frequently for my liking these days, but Lawrence’s dramatic 28-27 win over Cony in the Pine Tree Conference B semifinals Saturday is certainly deserving of that moniker.

“We certainly knew coming down that they weren’t going to give it to us,” Lawrence coach John Hersom said. “We had to beat them.”

That is the way it should be every game, but unfortunately close contests were hard to come by during the regular season this fall.

Personally, I saw 16 high school football games prior to Saturday’s showdown and only three of them were decided by a single score or less.

Maybe I just had crap luck and got stuck covering only blowouts by luck of the draw?

Well, not quite.

I went back and counted 295 games played during the regular season this fall, of which only 58 were decided by eight points or less.

In the opening round of the playoffs five of the 22 were decided by the same margin and this past weekend 11 of the 16 semifinal games were decided by eight points or greater.

Basically what I am getting at is games like the one Cony and Lawrence played Saturday don’t come along every day — particularly this season.

Cony coach Robby Vachon remarked to one of his assistant coaches prior to the game that the atmosphere was like that of a college game and he could not have been more right.

A beautiful, sunny yet brisk Saturday afternoon in late fall with a good crowd on hand supporting both the Rams and Bulldogs.

The best part of the game though?

At no point was it ever clear which team was going to win. Neither team led by more than a single score and even when Lawrence took the lead with a little over one minute remaining you could not help but think, ‘did they leave Cony too much time?’

If any offense was ever set up to orchestrate a drive of that nature it was the Rams, and after Mitchell Caron hit Anthony Brunelle for a 19-yard completion on 4th-and-16 to get into Lawrence territory with less than 40 second on the clock those thoughts became ever-more prominent.

Obviously the final drive did not pan out for the Rams, yet you have to give them credit for making Lawrence sweat it out until the final whistle.

Based off of both team’s reactions following the game you could tell neither expected to actually lose.

That, however, is the ugly side of sports — the assumed risk most kids don’t acknowledge until it is too late.

The fact was one team that played well enough to win was going to lose Saturday.

I can’t imagine it will be something that sits well with the Rams given the competitors they have on their team, but hopefully they will realize it took everything Lawrence had from a very good Bulldogs team to stop them.

For those lucky enough to watch that game, enjoy it.

There is no telling when one of such quality will come around again.

Evan Crawley — 621-5604

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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