Gardiner Area High School football coach Joe White wasn’t mincing words when discussing the Cony team coming into town tonight.

“We owe them a little bit,” White said. “They’ve had our number the last couple or three years. I think they’ve scored 150 points in three contests, versus our maybe 14. It’s been one-sided.”

Pretty close — the margin is at 157-14, actually. But point taken. The Cony-Gardiner rivalry has been imbalanced recently.

Historically so, in fact.

Another scoreless effort from the Tigers would be their third straight shutout at the hands of the Rams, and as much as Cony has had the upper hand recently, such a string of blankings is hard to find in the rivalry’s annals. You’d have to go back to 1970-72 to find the last time Gardiner was shut out three straight times, and you’d have to travel to 1907-09 to find the last time Cony was held without a point in three straight games.

There was a time when shutouts were commonplace in the series. From 1926-37, all but two of the games had the loser being kept off the scoreboard. Two of those — 1927’s and ’33’s games — were ties.

There’s no shortage of odd trends and strange stats when a series includes 138 editions dating back 124 years. Consider…

• The nine 0-0 games in the rivalry’s history are obviously tied for the lowest-scoring contests, but there were two years in which that was the result of multiple games. Cony and Gardiner tied 0-0 in both 1918 games, and in two of the three games in 1895. The third game, a 10-0 Cony win, was a scoring bonanza.

• The 2013 Rams set the mark for most points by a team in their 76-14 win. That broke the 121-year-old record of 62 set by Cony in 1892 — the first game in the rivalry. The 2013 game was also the highest-scoring game in terms of combined points for both teams.

• Gardiner trails in the series, 71-57-10, but owns the two longest win streaks. The Tigers won eight in a row from 1980-87, then won seven straight from 1993-98 (one was a playoff game). Cony’s longest winning streak is five, set from 1949-53 and 1928-32.

• The game has been played for 98 straight years, and has been skipped six years altogether. Four of those years a game wasn’t scheduled, one (1899) was canceled after Cony failed to field a team, and the latest cancellation was in 1917 — due to a smallpox epidemic.

• The game has produced two Fitzpatrick Trophy winners as the state’s best football player: Gardiner’s Nate Sergent and Cony’s Ben Lucas. Lucas’s final game was Cony’s blowout win in 2013, while Sergent’s was a 46-8 win — one that Cony coach B.L. Lippert, then a sophomore, remembers well.

“The opening kickoff my sophomore year, we were told not to kick it to Nate Sergent,” he said. “We kicked it to him, and it was 7-0 14 seconds into the game.”

• There have been 11 one-point games in the rivalry, but only one since 1968. That came in 2008, a 14-13 Gardiner victory. Gardiner’s lone victory since, a 36-34 overtime win in 2011, was a nail-biter as well.

• Gardiner and Cony have met in playoff rematches twice, and in both cases the second game went the way of the first. Cony beat Gardiner, 18-7, before eliminating the Tigers with a 14-6 win in 1992. Gardiner edged Cony, 9-6, in 1994 and won the playoff matchup, 15-0.

• The towns couldn’t get enough of this game in 1911, as Cony and Gardiner played each other four times. Gardiner won the first game, but Cony won the second, tied the third and won the fourth.

• A few of the more unusual scores posted: Cony 6, Gardiner 2 (1961); Cony 2, Gardiner 0 (’32); Gardiner 4, Cony 3 (’13); Cony 19, Gardiner 5 (’11); Gardiner 6, Cony 5 (’07); Cony 62, Gardiner 4 (1892).

• Gardiner has never led the series, or been tied in the overall standings. The closest it came to pulling even was 1916, when an 18-6 Tigers victory made the series 16-15 Cony.

• That being said, Gardiner’s been chipping away. Cony pulled ahead by double digits in 1936, and it stayed that way for 70 years — until the Tigers’ 19-6 win in 2006, their fifth straight, cut the series to 64-55.

“It got close there for a minute,” Lippert said. “Some of the veterans of Augusta, some of the older folks would say ‘Hey, you’ve got to make sure you win this year. They’re cutting into single digits.’ People have an awareness for the overall rivalry, including the series record going all the way back to 1892.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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