AUGUSTA — Saturday morning film sessions after a big victory the night before tend to be pretty jovial for the Cony High School football team.

This past Saturday’s was more of the same following a 40-0 win over rival Gardiner until a certain play flashed across the screen.

“I got a little emotional — choked up — but everybody on the inside was loving it,” Cony senior wide receiver/defensive back Anthony Brunelle said. “It was a really emotional but quiet moment.”

The sequence in question came with just under seven minutes remaining in the game with the Rams up 40-0 — hardly the time when plays of such importance tend to occur. Gardiner quarterback Eli Kropp had been flushed from the pocket and tossed a ball downfield into double coverage.

Senior defensive backs Nijual Davis and Lucas Tyler each could have picked off the pass, but it was Tyler who came away with the jump-ball interception. Moments later he was mobbed by a sea of red, Cony head coach B.L. Lippert among those leading the charge.

“As soon as the ball went up, I saw that he had really good position,” Lippert said. “I started to run actually before he even picked it off and before he hit the ground a bunch of us were there.

“Pure emotion comes out because you’re just so happy for him because it was an awful day and he’s going through some tough times still. Just that one moment was pretty awesome.”

In the early hours of Friday morning, Lucas Tyler’s mother, Carrie, died at home unexpectedly at the age of 40. While word eventually traveled during the school day, initially Tyler had asked Lippert not to let the team know what had happened.

“He wanted to keep it under wraps just because he didn’t want to take away from the Cony-Gardiner game, which I think is remarkably unselfish given the magnitude of the news that he found out that morning,” Lippert said. “It just says a lot about who he is and the fact that he played sort of said an equal amount.”

For those that know Tyler, the fact that he did not want people to know or that he played in the game Friday night did not come as much of a surprise.

“In a way, I guess I saw it coming because he’s a tough kid,” said Brunelle, who was one of a handful of kids that helped convince Tyler to start playing football as a freshman. “He’s just such a great kid. He loves the team, loves the sport. I kind of assumed he’d want to go out there with all his friends.”

Tyler is the type who lets his play do the talking. He may not get as much attention as players like Brunelle or Reid Shostak, but has been every bit as important, according to his coach.

“He’s probably our best cover corner. He’s usually in good position, he’s actually quite fast, he moves well and he sets the edge as a tackler. He’s not the most physical kid but he gets the job done,” Lippert said. “He’s really a kid that just kept getting better.

“If you told me his freshman year that he’d be starting for us midway through his junior year I would have told you that you were crazy, but he literally lifted in every one of our weightlifting sessions and went to 7-on-7 and just sort of willed himself onto the field.”

Friday’s interception meant a lot, Tyler said, not just for the play itself but for the way the team reacted as well.

“It just felt great,” he said. “It was comforting and they showed just how much they care about me.”

As it prepares for its Pine Tree Conference B playoff game Friday at 7 p.m. at Mt. Blue, Cony has increased its focus on playing together in what has been a trying week for those associated with Rams football. On the same day Carrie Tyler passed away, Alison Lucas — mother of former Cony quarterback and Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Ben Lucas — died after a lengthy bout with cancer. She was 50.

“We typically say ‘win’ when we get together as a team or ‘dominate’ and we’ve started saying family, because that was a reminder for perspective for our kids that life can be pretty fragile,” Lippert said. “Football is a tough sport — it’s demanding — but in the end we’re all a family, and whether you’re playing now or you’re a graduate we’re going to be there for you.

“That was a reminder for our kids and a reminder for our staff and in some sense to motivate us moving forward.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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