LEWISTON — His team was run off the field by Cony in the first matchup, but Brunswick football coach Dan Cooper had a feeling his team was going to see the Rams again.

And he had a feeling it was going to be a different story.

“We’ve been practicing for Cony for two weeks, really,” he said. “We believed we could beat this team.”

That belief transitioned to the football field at Lewiston High School on Friday night. Nate Girardin threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Treyvon McKenzie, Chandler Coombs had a pair of clutch interceptions and the third-seeded Dragons stunned No. 2 Cony, 21-13, in the Class B North semifinals.

“I’ve known that we could beat them all week,” said Coombs, whose team rallied from a 13-7 deficit en route to improving to 7-3. “It’s awesome. We were an underestimated team, with (Cony). Everybody knew that. I’m at a loss for words for this win right here.”

It was a nightmare revisited for Cony (7-2). One season after losing on their home field in a rematch of a regular season win over Brunswick, the Rams suffered the same fate Friday.

“It’s a bitter pill to swallow,” said coach B.L. Lippert, whose team beat Brunswick 30-6 two weeks ago. “We were a step away from making some plays all night, and as a result we’re going home early. I didn’t have much to say to those guys. I told them I love them, I’m going to miss them. I just don’t have any answers.”

The Rams took the six-point lead into halftime, but Brunswick came out moving the ball in the second half, and tied the score at 13 with a 2-yard run by Nate Goddard with 8:36 to go in the third quarter. Cony turned the ball over on downs in Brunswick territory on its next series, but made a big stop on the other end when it stopped Donald Bromiley on a 1-yard catch on 4th-and-3 from the Rams’ 19-yard line.

Disaster then struck for Cony. A miscommunication between quarterback Riley Geyer (19-of-31, 157 yards, touchdown, two interceptions) and receiver Dustin Dyer resulted in an underthrow that Coombs easily intercepted and returned down to the Cony 13.

“Quarterbacks don’t see me,” Coombs said, laughing. “It might be because I’m small.”

Brunswick still needed to convert, and the Dragons did on 3rd-and-7 from the 10. Girardin rolled into the backfield and found McKenzie open in the back of the end zone for the touchdown and, after a Goddard run, a 21-13 lead with 10:24 to play.

It was Girardin’s second pass attempt of the night. And his only completion.

“I know Treyvon has the jumps, and he can do it,” Girardin said. “He’s been reliable all season. … It was definitely a well-executed play.”

One that Cooper reluctantly called.

“No guts, no glory,” he said. “We didn’t like to call the pass, but we felt it was necessary to take a chance.”

The Brunswick defense had no answer for the Cony offensive line in the regular-season matchup, but the Dragons weren’t going to let the chance get away this time. Brunswick held on Cony’s next three drives, the last ending when Geyer couldn’t find Matt Wozniak with a 4th-and-7 pass from the Dragons 22.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” said Lippert, whose team got two interceptions from defensive back Reed Hopkins. “I feel awful for this team, particularly for our seniors.”

The game started ominously for the Rams. Cony appeared to get a 39-yard run by Ashton Cunningham to the Brunswick 20, but a holding penalty set up 2nd-and-13 from the Cony 33. Misfortune struck again one play later when Geyer’s screen pass was deflected into the air and was caught by Coombs, who had nothing but turf in front of him and went 33 yards for the touchdown and a 7-0 Dragons lead.

Cony answered two drives later. Geyer completed three straight screens, then hit Reed Hopkins down the right sideline for 23 yards to the Brunswick 1. Geyer ran in from a yard out on the next play, cutting the deficit to 7-6 with 3:34 left in the first quarter.

Cony struck again on its first drive of the second quarter, going 61 yards in 13 plays. A pass interference call on Brunswick moved the ball from the Dragons 31 to the 16, and it took Geyer four plays to find a diving Wozniak for a 4-yard touchdown reception and a 13-7 lead with 5:06 to go in the half.

Brunswick, however, came out rejuvenated in the second half. The Dragons got a 25-yard kickoff return from Mitch Lienert and cashed in seven plays later on Goddard’s run, setting the stage for the dramatic finish.

“(It’s) frustrating that we didn’t play our best here tonight,” Lippert said. “And as a result, we’re done.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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