The Skowhegan football team beat Cony 20-14 in 2017. It edged the Rams 14-13 last fall.

So, sure, Skowhegan coach Ryan Libby would love for Friday to be one of those easy nights where his team scores early, goes up big and coasts to the win. He also knows that, if the last couple of years are any indication, that’s not happening.

“I hope we can find some separation before (the fourth quarter),” Libby said. “But it definitely does feel like history could repeat itself.”

Mt. Blue defenders Keegan Roberts, back left, and Kevon Johnson wrap up Cony ball carrier Jake Harris during a Pine Tree Conference Class B game Friday night at Caldwell Field in Farmington. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

For some of those recent Cony-Skowhegan matchups, it felt like one team playing itself, as both squads favored pass-heavy offenses that looked to move the ball down the field quickly. Many of the key players in those showdowns have left, but Cony coach BL Lippert said the game still feels, in a way, like looking at a reflection.

“They kind of remind me of what we are,” he said. “In a lot of ways it’s a mirror image of ourselves, from a coaching philosophy, from a personnel standpoint. Maybe this year will be different, but some of the last four or five years, it’s felt like, when we see them on film, it looks a lot like what we do.”

High-powered as these offenses have been at times, it’s often been the other side of the ball that’s determined the upper hand.


“Last year, it was kind of like a defensive showdown (with) stalemated offenses,” Libby said. “We get labeled that high-scoring, throw the ball all the time (offense), but in our games recently, defense has really been a showcase.”

Here’s a closer look at the Cony-Skowhegan matchup:

When: 7 tonight

Where: Clark Field, Skowhegan

Cony coach BL Lippert on Skowhegan: “Skowhegan’s a really good team. … I have a lot of respect for their coaching staff. They vary the defensive looks, they are difficult to defend. The week of practice always seems pretty short when it’s Skowhegan because you feel like you’ve got to cover so many things.”

Skowhegan coach Ryan Libby on Cony: “The matchup has been really good the last five to seven years. … We’ve got to play our best. Cony’s a good team again this year, and we definitely have to step up to the challenge.”


Three keys for Cony:

• Balance it out. The Rams scored 35 points against Mt. Blue last week, and balance was a key for that offensive production. Quarterback Riley Geyer threw for 139 yards and ran for 141 last week; if he can be a true dual threat again this week and get both his receivers and running backs in the game, the Rams will be well-positioned.

• Always be changing. Marcus Christopher may no longer be behind center, but Skowhegan still likes to throw the ball with junior quarterback Cam Green. Lippert said the key to stopping the pass won’t be in constantly bringing pressure or dropping back in coverage, but in keeping Green unsure of what’s coming next.

“You try to mix the looks,” he said. “If you line up in one defense against Skowhegan, they’re going to get accustomed to that and call plays accordingly.”

• Win the special teams battle. Special teams tend to play a big role in these games, from Tyler Scott’s kick return for a touchdown in Skowhegan’s 34-7 win in 2016 to Jon Bell’s doing the same in 2017, to Chase Carey’s blocked punt that set up Skowhegan’s winning touchdown last year. This time, the Rams need to add some highlights of their own to the growing trend.

Three keys for Skowhegan:


• Handle Geyer on the ground. The junior can throw the ball with anyone, but limiting what he can do on the ground would make him one-dimensional and throw the Rams’ offense out of rhythm.

“Geyer is their top guy,” Libby said. “He was their No. 1 runner last week, so we’ve really got to contain (him).”

• Bounce back. Skowhegan has been one of the more consistently competitive programs in Class B North, so a loss like last week’s 48-7 defeat to Brunswick is rare and could leave the team reeling going into its next game. A win puts the team back on track at 1-1, however, so that needs to be the focus going in.

• Clean it up. Libby pointed to mistakes as being the big reason last week’s game got out of hand, and knows his team won’t be able to afford miscues this week either.

“For us, we need to fix a lot of mistakes from last week,” he said. “We need to play with a lot fewer penalties, we need to sustain and finish drives. We can’t turn the ball over … and put ourselves in deep holes.”

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