In the 2013 Class B championship game, Cony quarterback Ben Lucas played poorly in the first half, but the Rams trailed Kennebunk only 6-0 at halftime.

Lucas had a message for his team at the break. Cony was still in it, and the second half was going to look a lot different than the first.

“It was ‘Hey, I’m not going to do that again,’ ” Lucas said. “We had a good group, and I knew that I wasn’t going to let the group down.”

Cony quarterback Ben Lucas, center, celebrates a touchdown during a 2013 game in Augusta. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

He didn’t. Lucas put a cap on the game, a dream season and the most prolific passing career in Maine football history when he guided the Rams to a 30-23 victory and the school’s first Gold Ball in 81 years. Nearly two months later, Lucas won the Fitzpatrick Trophy after passing for 3,482 yards and 41 touchdowns that season.

For his career, Lucas passed for 7,700 yards and 89 touchdowns. He didn’t have a rocket arm, said his offensive coordinator, B.L. Lippert. But he was accurate. And he was smart.

“Ben was exceptional. Just a high football I.Q. … I’d call the play, he knew exactly what I had in mind,” Lippert said. “And I think his accuracy and anticipation, a lot of high school quarterbacks need to see a guy open and then throw the ball. He would throw it to a spot knowing his guy would break in there.”

And he came through in the big games — most notably, the biggest. Cony’s deficit in that title game grew to 16 points, but Lucas threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns in the second half alone to lead the rally.

With 5:14 to go, Cony trailed 23-22 when it took over at its own 1-yard line. Lucas and the Rams then went on a drive to history, going the length of the field and finishing it off with a 25-yard pass to Jonathan Saban for the winning touchdown with a minute to play.

“No one was flustered, no one was stressing out,” Lucas said. “We knew that we could go down there and score, and we just went out there and executed.”

“It was just surreal. You really can’t put it into words. Even still to this day, I struggle to do that.”

2. Dylan Hapworth, Winslow. On Nov. 21, 2014, Winslow’s Dylan Hapworth turned in perhaps the area’s greatest single-game performance — and on the biggest stage possible.

Hapworth shone the brightest on a loaded Black Raiders team that day, rushing for 236 yards and seven touchdowns as Winslow crushed Leavitt 62-14 in the Class C championship game.

Hapworth’s dominance wasn’t limited to one night. In his senior year alone, he gained 2,233 yards and scored 33 touchdowns. Hapworth could run past or over defenders, and in his final year ran for 1,858 yards on 187 carries — nearly 10 yards per attempt.

3. Sam Dexter, Messalonskee. Sam Dexter was often the best athlete wherever he stepped foot. And as opponents in the Pine Tree Conference found out, that included the gridiron.

Dexter was a three-way force for the Eagles, taking over games as a wide receiver, cornerback and kick returner. In his senior year he was named all-conference at all three positions, and in his final regular season accounted for 1,649 total yards — a clip of 183.2 yards per game — and 19 touchdowns. He also picked off six passes, and returned two for scores.

Messalonskee running back Sam Dexter takes a hit by a Cony defender during a 2011 game at Alumni Field in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

In addition to his speed and athleticism, Dexter was smart. He had a knack for extending runs to pick up the yards the Eagles needed to move the chains, or baiting the quarterback into throwing a pivotal interception.

4. Alonzo Connor, Gardiner. Few teams in recent memory have had a running back that could take over games the way Gardiner’s Alonzo Connor could.

When Connor got the ball in his hands, defenders were left grasping in vain at orange and black jerseys. Connor could run through tackles or slip out of them, or cut back and dance around contact altogether.

He delivered one of his finest games in one of his last, rushing for 281 yards and five touchdowns in a PTC B quarterfinal win over Waterville. In the semifinals against a daunting Mt. Blue opponent, he gained 127 more on 28 tries.

5. Luke Washburn, Oak Hill. Luke Washburn was a force on defense for the Raiders — and he had the hardware to prove it.

Washburn won the Gaziano Award as the state’s best defensive lineman for his play for Oak Hill in 2013, when he helped lead the Raiders to the Class D state championship. A defensive end, Washburn at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds overpowered his Class D opposition, and he did it wherever the Raiders needed him to — in his career, he lined up at end, tackle, linebacker and nose guard.

His career ended fittingly, with a sack of Bucksport’s Matt Stewart on fourth down with 57 seconds left to clinch Oak Hill’s 42-35 championship win.

Gardiner running back Alonzo Connor sprints to the end zone on a 33-yard touchdown run during a 2011 game at Hoch Field in Gardiner. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

6. Spencer Carey, Lawrence. Before going on to play at UMaine, Spencer Carey was a game-changer in the Pine Tree Conference.

Carey quarterbacked the Bulldogs to the Class A title game in 2012, but he turned heads primarily as a safety. Carey had size at 6-2, 210 pounds, but he also had great closing speed and an ability to race over and break up, or catch, balls to seemingly open receivers.

His magnum opus was the 2012 playoffs. Carey had three interceptions in the A North playoffs to guide the Bulldogs to the state final, with two coming against future Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Ben Lucas of Cony.

7. Chandler Shostak, Cony. Fast, quick and as tough as anyone on the field, Chandler Shostak thrived for the Rams while catching passes from both his quarterback and the opponent’s.

Blessed with good hands and an ability to make the tough catch in traffic, Shostak set school records his senior year with 58 receptions for 853 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was just as effective, if not more so, on the defensive side of the ball, notching 11 interceptions en route to becoming a finalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy.

Shostak set school records for his career with 124 receptions, 1,789 receiving yards, 28 total touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

8. Jacob Doyon, Messalonskee. Offensive linemen can be overlooked in football, but that wasn’t the case with Messalonskee’s Jacob Doyon.

The 6-2, 270-pound Doyon got plenty of recognition his senior year in 2015, as he was first named the PTC B Player of the Year, as well as an all-conference first-team pick on both the defensive and offensive lines, before becoming a finalist for the Gaziano Award.

Behind their star lineman, the Eagles ran wild. With Doyon at tackle, Messalonskee ran for more than 3,200 yards in 10 games, including 516 in a playoff victory over Mt. Blue.

9. Jordan Roddy, Cony. He wasn’t the fastest receiver in the state, but Jordan Roddy was one of the quickest — and that helped him also become one of its most productive.

Roddy thrived for three years at Cony but had his best season as a junior, when he hauled in 67 passes for 1,074 yards and 17 touchdowns while scoring 19 altogether.

Roddy also came through in big moments. He caught a last-second touchdown pass and converted the winning 2-point conversion in an upset playoff win over Lawrence in 2016, and caught seven passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over Gardiner that year.

10. Jordan Whitney, Mt. Blue. Mt. Blue won its first football state championship in 32 years in 2012, and Jordan Whitney was the biggest reason why. In his senior season, the dual threat quarterback passed for 1,755 yards, ran for 658 more, threw 29 touchdown passes and scored 34 altogether.

Whitney, who ran for 117 yards on 13 carries in the title game victory over Marshwood, finished his career passing for 4,924 yards and 65 touchdowns while running for 1,241 yards and 12 scores. He also intercepted nine passes as a safety and scored two touchdowns.


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