The story of Jordan Roddy’s 2016 season begins with the ending to his 2015 one, when he felt the sharp pain in his hand three weeks into the season during a game against Brunswick.

It was bad news. It was a broken pinky, one needing surgery in order to heal properly, and one sidelining the Cony wideout for the rest of the year on the heels of a breakout game in which he caught nine passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns against Messalonskee.

“I kind of left at a bad time, when the team needed me,” Roddy said. “It was pretty hard on me last year because I knew that I had some potential and I could have done some things with my season last year as well.

“That was disappointing. I knew that this year I needed to come back and play as well as I did last year.”

Or better. Roddy blossomed into one of Maine’s most dangerous pass catchers this season, hauling in 17 touchdown receptions and scoring 19 altogether to help Cony reach the Class B North semifinals and land recognition as the Kennebec Journal Player of the Year.

“I knew, especially after last season, that I had that in me,” he said. “I knew that if I hadn’t gotten injured last season that last season would have been a good season, too. So I was extremely excited for this season to start, just because I knew that I was capable of that.”

One could see 17 touchdowns, a statistic glowing alongside 67 catches and 1,074 receiving yards, and think of Roddy as a burner, a vertical threat who tears away from the line of scrimmage, flies past the corner and singes the defense with deep catch after deep catch. But his own coach will put a damper on that image.

“Straight line speed, he’s not going to blow you away,” Cony head coach B.L. Lippert said. “He’s probably not even the fastest kid on our team in the 40.”

What Roddy is, however, is quick. He shakes away from defenders, frees himself open and becomes even more dangerous with the ball in his hands and room to move.

“The suddenness when he catches the ball, he really bursts,” Lippert said. “He’s just really dynamic with the ball in his hands.”

For all the physical abilities, Roddy’s best trait might be his intelligence. His last four touchdowns were all on routes modified from the original play, a testament to Roddy’s ability to both read the defense and put himself in the position where quarterback Taylor Heath would be looking to throw the ball.

“If I see something, that’s where I’m going. I’m going to the open part of the field, and Taylor does a good job of getting me the ball,” he said. “He knows where I’m going to be, and I have a good idea of what he’s going to do, too.”

With his flourishing chemistry with Heath and physical skill set, Roddy was often too much to handle with a one-on-one matchup. He caught three touchdown passes in the opener against Mt. Blue, nine passes for 187 yards and five touchdowns against Hampden and seven passes for 172 yards and two scores against Gardiner.

The Hampden and Gardiner efforts, both coming in wins, came past the midway point in the season, when Roddy’s connection with Heath momentarily went dry. Once the Rams, who started 1-4, began to get the ball to their junior standout again, the wins began to mount.

“When Jordan Roddy’s going well, we tend to be going well,” Lippert said.

“I consider myself pretty competitive,” Roddy said. “I’m not going to let someone try to get the best of me. I’m going to get by my man and I’m going to get open.”

Still, there were times when that wasn’t an option. As Roddy’s stats piled up, teams began to catch on that slowing him down was the best way to slow down the Rams. That meant more double-teaming and bracket coverage, and when that was the case, one of the state’s most prolific receivers was happy to play the decoy.

“Our other guys knew they were going to get singled up, and they took advantage of that on numerous occasions,” Lippert said. “He’s one of the few kids I’ve ever had that would admit ‘I can’t get open. I’m getting bracketed.’ … That’s pretty unselfish of someone.”

And yet, for Cony’s biggest win of the season, Roddy was front and center. Cony had 80 yards to go for the tying touchdown in the final 1:42 of its Class B quarterfinal game against Lawrence. The Rams worked their way to a 4th-and-10 from the Lawrence 20-yard line with 6.3 seconds left, and Heath heaved a pass up into the end zone, where Roddy was standing along with a pair of Lawrence defenders.

Roddy leapt up and caught the desperation throw — though he was one of the last to know it.

“I didn’t realize I had the ball until after, once a few seconds passed,” he said. “I looked down and I was like ‘Oh! I caught it!’ ”

Lippert decided to go for the win with a 2-point conversion, once again calling on his best player — with a play that had failed earlier that night, no less.

“We had run that same play a couple of times before and it didn’t really work. Their line kind of smothered it,” Roddy said. “I was thinking ‘This isn’t going to work, I’m going to get tackled, the linebacker’s going to blitz.’ ”

This time, however, the direct snap to Roddy was clean, the blocks were set up and after running along the goal line, he lunged into the end zone for the winning score in the 28-27 victory.

“The linebacker did blitz, and Taylor made a good block,” he said. “I just went right around the edge. I was tired at that point, I ran into the end zone, everyone was screaming and I didn’t even realize it. It was like, ‘We just won the game.’ It was a really crazy feeling.”

Not a bad highlight to cap a season that, from August to October, was full of them.

“This year, Coach Lippert did a lot of stuff to put me in the right position,” he said. “Taylor is obviously really good, and they put me in a good place to succeed. I’m thankful for that.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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