The Cony High School football team isn’t about to get overconfident. History gives the Rams reason not to be.

Cony (5-3) is seeded third in the Class B North playoffs, hosting No. 6 Brunswick (1-7), but it was just last year that the Rams were in that sixth spot and beat red-hot Lawrence in the first round.

The symmetry of the scenarios is hard to miss. Especially with coach B.L. Lippert making it a point to bring it up.

“We actually referenced that exact game last year,” he said. “We played a Lawrence team that had won six in a row and knocked them off. We’ve won five out of six and Brunswick has only won one game all year, but they’ve been in every game. .. The record’s a little bit deceiving.

“It should be a fun Friday night, I know that.”

And it’s one of a slate of regional quarterfinal games this week, with many — if not all — promising to be close contests. In addition to the Cony-Brunswick matchup in Class B North, No. 4 Gardiner (3-5) will host No. 5 Morse (6-2) in Class C North and No. 8 Oak Hill (3-5) will visit No. 1 Wells (8-0) in D South, both being played Friday night.


In another D South matchup Saturday afternoon, No. 6 Winthrop/Monmouth (4-4) will hit the road to face No. 3 Lisbon (7-1).

Cony will take on Brunswick after beating the Dragons, 26-14, during the regular season. But Lippert knows notes and film from that game will only serve so much good. Brunswick stumbled out of the gate, reeling from a number of graduation departures, and played Cony during a six-game losing streak to open the season. But the Dragons, led by running backs Owen Richardson and Dalton Dickey, have rallied in the last three weeks, beating Mt. Blue and battling Lawrence and Brewer in tight losses, and Lippert knows a new team will be showing up at Alumni Field.

“We look at what they’ve done recently,” he said. “They’ve tweaked their offensive system, they’ve tweaked their personnel a little bit, trying to find answers, and they’ve scored pretty efficiently here in the second half of the season. That’s the film we have to study, and figure out what they’re doing now.”

Brunswick coach Dan Cooper, meanwhile, said his team learned plenty from that September loss.

“We didn’t tackle very well the last time we played them,” he said. “We let (Jordan) Roddy catch a lot of balls, and when he caught them, we just couldn’t get him on the ground. … We missed a lot of tackles, and I was really impressed with their linebackers. They’re pretty physical, and we had a hard time blocking them last time. They’re a very good football team, we’ll have to play awfully well to beat them.”

Lippert said the same thing about his team, but that expectations are for this to be more than a one-and-done showing.


“Last year, I think there was an element of being happy to be there,” he said. “This year, we’re not going to be happy just getting in and saying ‘Hey, it was a good season.’ “

• Gardiner always had an inside track on a Class C playoff spot, but hosting a first-round game seemed like a pipe dream when the Tigers lost five of their first six games. But Gardiner pulled itself together to win its final two games against Freeport and Cony, and climbed high enough to grab the fourth spot and draw Morse — all thanks to a win over these same Shipbuilders in the first game of the season.

“They were super-excited after the win in Freeport, and then (after) Cony they were just elated,” coach Joe White said. “They’re back to where they were, as far as mentally, in the first week.”

The Tigers have reason for confidence, especially considering the way the first game between the teams went. Gardiner set the tone in every phase, relying on a balanced rushing attack from Collin Foye, Nate Malinowski and Cam Michaud and complementary passing from Cole Heaberlin, and a charged-up defense that didn’t allow easy yards and catches. Morse won six games in a row after that first loss, leaning on running backs Parker Onorato and Austin Baltazar, but Gardiner stifled both in the first meeting, and has been tested by one of Class C’s toughest schedules this season.

• It’s been almost a year since Lisbon beat Winthrop/Monmouth with a last-second touchdown in the D South final. But Ramblers coach Dave St. Hilaire can tell that emotions from that afternoon still simmer.

And with the Greyhounds up next on the Winthrop/Monmouth slate, those emotions will just be stoked again.


“I think if you asked the seniors, they would say we want one more crack at Lisbon,” he said. “I know the kids are a little more ramped up.”

The Ramblers have won three of their last four games, came one play away from making it four straight victories, and have seen improvement on both sides of the ball in recent weeks. The passing game has developed with sophomore quarterback Keegan Choate at the helm and with senior Greg Fay emerging as a go-to target. Meanwhile, the defensive line, hit hard by injuries early, has seen returns to form from Noah Elegbede, Zac Wallace and Trenton Wood — players who will have to be ready in run support and when pass rushing against Greyhounds quarterback Lucas Francis.

• Oak Hill has the beast of D South to deal with in Wells, which outscored its opponents a combined 304-62, but the Raiders have played nearly all of their opponents tough — a list that includes the Warriors, with whom the Raiders were tied 14-14 at halftime in a 41-21 Wells win in September.

The Raiders will need the most out of their defense, which is hard-nosed and disciplined but got handled on the ground by Wells backs Nolan Potter and Tyler Bridge in the first game. Oak Hill’s ace card, however, is with receiver Darryn Bailey, who has been a dynamic playmaker all season and provided freshman quarterback Gavin Rawstron with a dependable target under pressure.

Bailey has excellent hands and is dangerous on jump balls, but he’ll likely draw attention from Bridge, himself a capable defender who limited Oak Hill’s 6-foot-1 senior in the earlier matchup.

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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