FARMINGTON — The Cony High School football team entered the season with questions on defense. Ten of them, to be specific. That’s the number of starters the Rams replaced from 2018.

The new-look Cony D looked strong throughout the first half, and dominant at times, as the Rams took a 35-18 win in the season opener at Mt. Blue.

“We’ve got some personnel to replace on the defensive side of the ball, but Coach (Brandon) Terrill does a great job with our defense. He instills a lot of confidence in those kids.” Cony head coach B.L. Lippert said.

Cony receiver Dakota Andow hauls in a touchdown catch against Mt. Blue on Friday in Farmington. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

The Rams had eight tackles for a loss, seven in the first half, including the Cougars’ first two plays of the game, when Casey Mills and Luke White broke into the Mt. Blue backfield on back-to-back plays.

“I think we just fly around really good,” said Cony senior defensive end Caleb MacFarland, who had one of those tackles for a loss. “You know, we stick together and work hard.”

That defensive pressure set Cony’s offense up with great field position on its first two drives, and both ended with a touchdown. The Rams’ first possession began at the Cougar 37, and the Rams needed just five plays, all runs, to find the end zone when quarterback Riley Geyer dove on from a yard out for a 7-0 lead four minutes into the game.

After a failed fake punt by the Cougars set the Rams up at the Mt. Blue 41, the Rams scored again, this time with a four-play drive. The normally airborne Rams didn’t throw a pass until their ninth offensive play, and it went for a touchdown, with Geyer finding Dakota Andow in the left front corner of the end zone for a 9-yard score and a 14-0 lead.

The Cougars capitalized on a Cony fumble early in the second to get on the board when Kevon Johnson ran 15 yards for a touchdown. The kick failed and Cony’s lead was 14-6.

Mt. Blue came up big defensively midway through the second quarter when Kyle Fox intercepted Geyer at the goal line on a tipped pass. But the reprieve was short. After forcing a Cougar punt, Geyer found Adrian Larrabee down the right sideline for a 38-yard touchdown pass and a 21-6 lead at the break.

The Rams scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, on Geyer runs of 3 and 1-yard, to take a 35-6 lead and effectively put the game away. Geyer ran for 141 yards and threw for 139. Thirty-three of Geyer’s rushing yards came in the fourth quarter as Cony ran an eight and a half minute clock killing drive to the Cougar 10.

“Riley is a big physical kid. He went downhill and ran hard,” Lippert said.

Added Mt. Blue coach Scott Franzose: “Even though I’m new to the conference, I kind of knew what they were bringing. (Geyer) runs tough and throws the ball well and we didn’t get it done up front.”

Franzose, in his first season at Mt. Blue after years at Madison, overhauled the Cougars offense, installing the spread pistol formation. At times the Cougars moved the ball, but often drives stalled in the first half. In the second half, Mt. Blue’s offense started to click and put together a pair of scoring drives.

With 1:49 left in the third quarter, Keegan Roberts caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Meeks. After another Cony turnover, the Cougars scored again with 24.5 seconds left in the third when Meeks broke a 28-yard run in a fourth down and 8 play, cutting Cony’s lead to 35-18.

Mt. Blue’s Kevon Johnson (27) gets tackled by Cony’s Jack Begin (3) as teammate Adrian Larrabee (5) looks to help Friday in Farmington. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

“I have nothing but faith. We did a lot of things well, consistency is key,” Franzose said.

“(Meeks) ran around in the second half and made some plays and had us scrambling a little bit,” Lippert said. “At the end of the day, we held them out enough.”

Larrabee had four catches for 74 yards for Cony. Johnson had five catches for 76 yards for the Cougars, while Roberts had five catches for 49 yards.

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