AUGUSTA — The tears were still on Hunter Meeks’s face when he was asked to describe what was first a night of determination, and then a moment of triumph.

“We knew that we were taking nothing less than a win tonight,” the Mt. Blue quarterback said. “We fought to the final seconds, and you can see the results from that.”

The results were a victory that stunned the state’s football landscape and shook up the Class B North playoffs. Meeks found Kevon Johnson for a touchdown in overtime, Mt. Blue’s worn-down defense stopped Cony quarterback Riley Geyer on a final two-point conversion attempt, and the seventh-seeded Cougars one-upped the second-seeded and unbeaten Rams 21-20.

“There was not a single point in this game where we thought we were out of it,” said Meeks, who ran for 73 yards and passed for 146, 13 of which came on a game-tying touchdown toss to Kyle Fox that helped send the game to overtime. “It’s just the heart and will to win.”

Mt. Blue (6-3) coach Scott Franzose was asked to sum up his feelings after the victory. He knew it was an unreasonable task.

“Holy smokes, really? I don’t know,” he said. “It’s tough to wrap your mind around it. … It was just this focus, this togetherness, the things they continue to do better every week, and you couldn’t bring it at a better time.”

For Cony (8-1), it was another postseason heartbreak. The Rams have gone 15-1 in the regular season over the last two seasons, but saw both end in their first playoff game.

“We turned the ball over five times, four in the first half in plus territory, five in their territory, and it’s just tough to overcome that,” said coach B.L. Lippert, whose team fell short despite 205 yards rushing on 35 carries from Geyer. “It seemed like we didn’t make plays in big moments.”

Still, both teams had a chance for the win when the game went into overtime tied at 14. Mt. Blue went first and scored right away, with Meeks hitting Johnson with a swing pass that he brought inside the right pylon for a 21-14 lead.

It was Cony’s turn, and the Rams eventually found paydirt when Geyer scored on a 4th-and-goal run from the 1. Lippert chose to go for the win, however, and called for another run from his quarterback, who had rushed for 156 yards after halftime.

This time, the Cougars held. Geyer’s first surge was stopped, his second was stymied, and the upset was complete.

“Our defense played spectacular, stop after stop after stop,” Franzose said.

Lippert said he felt good about going for the win.

“Putting the ball in (Geyer’s) hands is never a bad idea,” he said. “I’m sure there are others that think we should have kicked it, and maybe we should have, but it’s really not my style. Our style as a coaching staff is to go for it.”

The drive that set up overtime began at the Mt. Blue 16-yard line with 2:57 to play, and had to come against Class B North’s top scoring defense. Meeks, however, was confident, and so were his teammates.

“(I thought) ‘We’re going to score. We have no choice but to score,’ ” Meeks said. “That’s exactly what we did. We executed when we needed, and we all played together.”

A pair of pass interference penalties brought the ball near midfield, and Meeks found Johnson four plays later with a shovel pass for 17 yards to the 13. A pair of incompletions followed, and Meeks looked for Fox in the end zone, only to see Cony corner Adrian Larrabee breaking on the throw.

Larrabee knocked the ball into the air, but Fox brought in the deflection for the score. Sophomore Mason Biello booted the extra point, and the game was tied.

It was a moment of terror for Fox, followed by one of joy.

“I thought it was over,” said the senior, who had six catches for 94 yards. “And then I saw it in the air, and I just grabbed it.”

Cony had a crack at a final score, but a Dakota Andow pass from the 15-yard line was intercepted in the end zone by Alex Davis. It was the final Cony turnover in a night full of them, four coming in the first half as the Rams were kept off the board while Mt. Blue went into the break with a 7-0 lead on a 47-yard touchdown reception by Johnson.

In the second half, however, the Rams found life behind Geyer’s hard running. He ran for 64 yards on seven carries on Cony’s first series of the second half before Jamal Cariglia scored on a 13-yard run, and after the Rams’ Logan Tyler recovered the ensuing kickoff, Geyer ran for 33 more yards before scoring from a yard out to make it 14-7 with 1:28 to go in the third.

Cony’s defense held on Mt. Blue’s next two drives. The Rams needed to hold for a third, but the Cougars, when their season required it, found an answer.

“We just beat an undefeated team,” Fox said. “I’m just excited to step up and face the next team going on.”

Mt. Blue’s Kevon Johnson catches a touchdown pass to put the Cougars up 6-0 against Cony in the first quarter of a Pine Tree Conference Class B quarterfinal game Friday at Alumni Field in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

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