Lately, games between Cony and Messalonskee have been close. Last season, Cony took a 33-27 win at Messalonskee. In 2014, the Rams prevailed 23-14 in Augusta. This season’s game, set for Friday night in Augusta, looks to be another tight one.

Both teams are coming off an impressive offensive showing, although Messalonskee and Cony couldn’t move the ball more differently. Messalonskee will line up in the Wing-T formation and rely heavily on the run. In last week’s 45-21 win over Gardiner, the Eagles had Austin Pelletier and Colby Dexter each run for more than 100 yards. Cony, on the other hand, runs a spread offense and will throw as much as any team in the state. Last week, quarterback Taylor Heath passed for 244 yards and four touchdowns, nearly all to receiver Jordan Roddy, who caught 11 passes for 147 yards, and ran for 23 yards and a touchdown.

Here’s a look at the Messalonskee-Cony matchup:

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Alumni Field, Augusta

Messalonskee coach Brad Bishop on Cony: “I thought they looked pretty good offensively, like they have been all along. They looked pretty good to me the other night in that first game. We’ve got to get better. We played pretty well last week. We’re just looking to get better and play some better defense. The last few times we’ve played them, the games have been a touchdown game. It will be tough playing down there.”

Cony coach B.L. Lippert on Messalonskee: “Messalonskee has just about the perfect defensive personnel to defend against the spread. They have quick, athletic linebackers who can cover, and defensive backs with length, range and instincts. It’ll be a good test for our offense to see if we can make contested catches and make throws into tight windows.”

Keys for Messalonskee:

• Take your time. Messalonskee’s run-heavy offense is conducive to long, clock-eating drives. The best way to stop Cony’s fast-paced passing game is to keep it off the field.

• Keep the Rams in check. Cony is going to complete passes and make plays. It’s impossible to prevent that from happening. If Messalonskee can keep Cony’s big plays to a minimum, prevent Heath from connecting with receivers more than 15 yards down field, it can contain the Rams.

“If we can sustain some drives and play good defense, I think we’ll be all right. It’s just limiting their big plays. They’re pretty diverse in what they do,” Bishop said.

• No turnovers. This one is obvious, but it’s worth repeating. Cony took advantage of Mt. Blue mistakes for scores last week, and Bishop knows the Eagles cannot let that happen this week. Against Gardiner, Messalonskee protected the ball. In its exhibition game against Mt. Blue, turnovers were costly.

“We’ve got to control what we can control. No turnovers and no stupid penalties. Our exhibition game, the first four times we had the ball we fumbled every time,” Bishop said.

Keys for Cony:

• Tackle, tackle, tackle. Cony cannot give Messalonskee’s strong running backs extra yards with lackluster tackling. The Rams need to keep Messalonskee facing long yardage situations as much as possible.

“I thought we tackled pretty well against Mt. Blue and hope that continues because Messalonskee has some running backs who can pop one at any moment,” Lippert said.

• Spread the wealth. While Roddy had a huge game last week, Heath knows he has other options, including Chad Bickford and Anthony Sousa. If Roddy is facing extra coverage, Heath has to go to other guys.

“Offensively teams will obviously notice Jordan Roddy, but we had a couple other guys come up with big catches in key spots and that will be critical for us once again this week,” Lippert said.

• Keep ’em guessing. While Cony loves to throw, the Rams have to run the ball enough to keep the Messalonskee defense from focusing all its attention on the air game.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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