AUGUSTA — Anthony Sousa had reason to be apprehensive. The standout linebacker had no quarterbacking experience, yet was being given the keys to the Cony High School football team’s offense for his senior year — and along with it, all the routes and passing responsibilities that go hand-in-hand with the Rams’ aerial show.

There was a lot to learn, and a ton to get used to. But Sousa could also look to his right and left and see Jordan Roddy and Elijah Dutil, and from the first day of the season back in August, he knew he had a pretty good helping hand in the transition.

“It’s nice to have receivers that can just do whatever in the air,” he said. “They can catch anything and it makes it easier for me to just have them there, to be able to put it there and they’ll adjust to the ball and catch it.”

Pass-catching options dot the Cony roster, from Logan Leadbetter to Ashton Cunningham to Reed Hopkins, but it’s the combination of Dutil and Roddy that has opposing coaches and coordinators scrambling to find answers. They’ve been making an impact in their senior seasons, with Roddy hauling in 34 catches for 410 yards and six touchdowns, Dutil snagging 21 for 260 yards and two touchdowns and both taking turns providing highlights for a Rams offense that has been sharpening by the week.

“We assume that teams, defensively, start their gameplanning around how to stop Jordan. He’s maybe the most dynamic player in our league, if not the state,” coach B.L. Lippert said. “The added element now with Eli is if you kind of over-commit to Jordan, commit one and a half or two guys, that leaves Eli on the back side one-on-one. And he can be pretty dangerous on double moves, even just on simple slant routes, he’s a big target. It makes it a little bit difficult, I assume, for some defenses.”

The notion isn’t lost on the receivers themselves.

“It’s great when they double-team me or whatever, I know Eli’s right over there and just as capable as I am of getting open, catching the ball and scoring touchdowns,” Roddy said. “I’d hate to be the other team, having two receivers like that on both sides.”

Though the numbers they produce can look similar, the ways they go about compiling them are vastly different. Roddy, 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, is quick and shifty, with excellent hands, an ability to shake off tight coverages and a knack for breaking big plays in the open field.

“The way I look at it, the kid can’t be guarded too good,” Dutil said. “You put two guys on him, he still gets open. He has the quick feet breakaway, he’s got the slant, he’s got wheels when he’s running deep. He’s an all-around amazing athlete.”

Dutil, at 6-foot-2, is the team’s vertical threat. And with good speed, leaping ability honed by his position as a high jumper on the Cony track team and a knack for grabbing the ball at it’s highest point, he’s a good one.

“You throw it up to him, he’ll go after it and get it,” Roddy said. “Once he gets the ball, there’s not much juking going on. But he’ll get by his guy and he’ll get some yards.”

Dutil is also where the team likes to go on screens — in part, Lippert quipped, due to necessity.

“Jordan’s one of our best, if not our best, blocking wide receivers, so we’ll throw a screen to Dutil and Roddy’s out in front blocking (for) him,” he said. “Eli’s not the world’s best blocker, and I tell him that every film session. … I finally figured it out if we want to make Eli look good on a screen, we need to throw it to him. So whether that’s an intentional move by him, I don’t know.”

The two took opposite paths to where they are now as well. Roddy was an impact player by his sophomore year and a star as a junior, when he caught 17 touchdown passes as the focal piece of Cony’s attack. Dutil progressed more slowly, playing JV as a sophomore and junior before getting his crack at varsity his junior year, during which he played as an offensive option, if not a weapon.

“Last year, nobody really changed their gameplan based on Eli Dutil,” Lippert said.

That changed in Brewer. The sixth-seeded Rams took on the second-seeded Witches in the Class B North semifinals, looking to pull off the upset of the season, and thanks to Dutil they nearly did. He was a force from start to finish, leaping over defenders on fade routes, battling them for balls on deep throws and catching nearly everything quarterback Taylor Heath threw up to him, finishing with six catches for 173 yards and four touchdowns as Cony took Brewer down to the wire in a 44-34 loss.

“My dad always texts me every Friday, before the game. He always texts me ‘Go up and get it,’ ” Dutil said. “That simple text at like 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and I guess it kind of sunk in that day.”

Roddy, who had seven catches for 109 yards that night, knew at that point the team had gained another weapon.

“It was just kind of funny because they were bringing their safety to me, they were doubling me the whole game,” he said. “And I was like ‘Eli’s over there too! He’s on his third touchdown, and you’re still doubling me!’ ”

This season, the two have picked up where they left off. When Roddy was rusty at first following his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, Dutil played the starring role, catching 16 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns over the first two games. Lately, Roddy’s found his form, totaling 21 catches, 282 yards and five touchdowns in wins over Brunswick and Mt. Blue.

While it varies from week to week which receiver will have the biggest day, both know that they’re part of the gameplan each week.

“They’re both supportive of one another, and they know they’re going to get their turns in our offense,” Lippert said. “It’s not like they’re going to go a game or two where they don’t see a pass their way. … There’s not a lot of petty, diva stuff that sometimes receivers show. They both kind of know, ‘Hey, if I don’t catch a ball in the first half, I’ll probably catch five in the second half.’ ”

It’s balance, in other words. And it’s fine by them.

“I’m not here just to get the ball to me,” Roddy said. “If I’m double-covered, if I’m not open and Eli’s wide open, don’t look at me. Give him the ball.”

“I don’t look at it as me and Jordan, just kind of carrying it,” Dutil said. “We do have multiple playmakers on this team. I guess we do stick out a little more.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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