AUGUSTA — The Cony High School football team has seen its fair share of standout quarterbacks over the years.

The Rams saw another one Friday night at Alumni Field, but unfortunately for the Rams he was not wearing red and white.

Skowhegan quarterback Garrett McSweeney completed 22-of-34 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns as the Indians held off the Rams for a 24-19 Pine Tree Conference Class B victory.

“He’s really good, they’ve got really good receivers and their offensive line is really underrated,” Cony coach B.L. Lippert said. “He had a lot of time to throw and we have a pretty good pass rush. We thought we might have a chance to get him off the spot a little bit.

“He has little, subtle movements in the pocket that buys him a little time. As your (defense) is closing in on him he slides a little bit and does a really nice job. That’s just natural ability. It’s really hard to teach that. He’s got it, we’ve had a few quarterbacks that were like that and it’s not very fun going against them, I can tell you that.”

Aside from the numbers, McSweeney also did an effective job of spreading the ball around as at times he was forced to look to his third and fourth reads. Spencer Salley was his top target with eight catches for 138 yards and a score, but six different players caught passes for Skowhegan.

“Cony was playing man so that puts a little pressure on us, but our receivers, they’re quick,” McSweeney said. “They’re making good cuts, running good routes and doing the best to get open.”

A 1-yard touchdown pass from McSweeney to Salley on fourth and goal on the first play of the fourth quarter put the Indians ahead for good up 18-12, but Cony made sure to make Skowhegan sweat it out until the end.

Cony hit a trick play on its ensuing possession when Taylor Heath handed off to running back Reid Shostak to the left, who in turn handed it to wide receiver Chad Bickford running from left to right. Bickford pulled up to pass and found a wide open Anthony Brunelle for a 31-yard gain down to the Skowhegan 15-yard line.

A pair of Shostak rushes made it first and goal inside the 5, but a 15-yard personal foul penalty and false start ultimately derailed the drive. The Indians made the Rams pay on the ensuing possession, as a 50-yard pass from McSweeney to Sam Baker set up a 15-yard touchdown run from Luke Bolster three plays later with 3:45 remaining to make it 24-12.

Cony cut the deficit to 24-19 on a 13-yard scoring strike from Heath to Bickford with 1:36 to go, but the Rams were whistled for illegal touching on the ensuing onside kick. Cony, out of timeouts, could only look on from there as the Indians kneeled out the clock.

“Our defense, they’re tough,” McSweeney said. “They came back and stuck it out.”

Shostak, who set a career-high in yards in the Rams’ last game with 215, nearly set a new mark Friday night. The senior running back carried the ball 23 times for 198 yards and two scores.

“We were trying to defend both (the run and pass) but they’ve got a big running back and they did a pretty decent job of blocking up front for him,” Skowhegan coach Matt Friedman said. “We were just trying to stop the run up there for most of the game.”

Shostak did not waste any time in flashing his big-play ability as he made it 6-0 19 seconds into the game with a 69-yard run. The Indians answered, though, with a 10-play, 77-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 3-yard run for Bolster.

Skowhegan went ahead 12-6 with 6:58 to play in the second quarter when McSweeney completed a pass to the right side to Jon Bell on fourth-and-8 for a 15-yard touchdown, but the Rams responded.

A 36-yard pass from Heath to Nijual Davis breathed life into what would become a seven-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Shostak capped it off with a 15-yard scoring rush, but the extra point kick was off the mark to keep it at 12-12 at intermission.

Evan Crawley – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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