AUGUSTA — The Cony football team had a streak to break. The Rams wasted no time Friday night getting to work.

James Presti threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more, Aidan Coulombe scored on a pair of touchdown runs, and No. 2 Cony took down No. 7 Brewer 41-6 at Fuller Field in the quarterfinals of the B North playoffs.

Cony scored on four of its first five possessions en route to improving to 6-2. Brewer finished at 1-8.

“We said we wanted to get a fast start, get up by a few and see what we could do from there,” Cony coach B.L. Lippert said. “Tonight we came out, asserted ourselves early and played a pretty good football game.”

Cony hadn’t been able to say that in recent postseasons, as three straight playoff upsets followed promising regular seasons. In 2017, the Rams lost as a third seed to No. 6 Brunswick. In 2018, they were the second seed in B North and lost again to the Dragons after a bye. And in 2019, they were undefeated and seeded second but lost to No. 7 Mt. Blue in overtime.

“It’s been a long two years, thinking about the last playoff loss here,” Lippert said. “It’s weighed on me personally for a long time.”


In an effort to make sure 2021 would be different, Lippert talked about the recent playoff disappointments with his team leading up to Friday.

“We were quite frank with them about some of the stuff that happened,” Lippert said. “I’m not sure we had the right frame of mind, and we had some bad breaks.”

This time, the Rams were ready for a different story.

“We lost, I’m not sure how many years in the first round,” Presti said. “We were due.”

And then they proved it. On the coldest night of the season so far, the Rams started red-hot. On the first series, Coulombe ran 10 yards on the third play for a touchdown. On the second possession, Presti kept it himself to finish a seven-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead.

Cony quarterback James Presti throws a pass against Brewer during a Class B North quarterfinal football game Friday at Fuller Field in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Cony recovered a short kickoff but couldn’t do anything with it, but made up for it on the next two possessions. Presti fired a pass down the seam to Dom Napolitano for a 39-yard touchdown, and then hit Casey Mills on a corner route for a 28-0 lead with 36.2 seconds left.


“We came out here against Lawrence and we played well on our home field in our first game here, and then we come out here, first game for playoffs, it’s just the energy,” Presti said. “Everything just goes together.”

Having the starting quarterback helps. Playing his second game behind center since a broken thumb suffered in the opener, Presti had his touch going for the Rams. He set up the second touchdown with a 27-yard pass to Sam Flannery, his pass to Napolitano was in stride, and his pass to Mills was in a perfect spot for the tight end to make a catch.

“He’s just a leader. Kids respect him, he’s got a calm about him,” Lippert said. “I’ve seen almost every quarterback in the state of Maine, I’m not sure many throw the ball better than James Presti. When he has time, he absolutely delivers.”

Presti (9-of-11, 150 yards) said he felt more comfortable behind center Friday than he did making his return last week.

“This week, I wasn’t as nervous,” he said. “(Last week) I’m short-arming the throws, thinking I’m going to hit it off somebody’s helmet again. … It feels great. Our line played wonderful.”

Brewer cut the lead to 28-6 on Ryder Goodwin’s 8-yard pass to Logan Levensalor, but Cony answered. Coulombe (13 carries, 81 yards) darted in for a 4-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and Presti capped the scoring with a 2-yard run on the next series.


“It’s awesome,” Coulombe said. “I’m sure for (Lippert), losing three years in a row, it’s tough. And for the team, it’s tough. I felt like I wanted to come out here and play as hard as I could, and the whole team did.”

Lippert also credited the Cony defense, which struggled against the Brewer run game last week but held up this time.

“I think we were a little more stout,” he said. “Last week we were in a three (man) front to open the game and didn’t switch to a four front until midway through the second quarter, and we held our own from there on out. I think the switch in the front really gave us a better chance to defend that offense.”

Brewer coach Scott Flagg credited his team for playing hard, but said mistakes — the Witches had three turnovers in the first half — were costly.

“Cony came out to play, give them lots of credit,” he said. “Last week, a big factor was us controlling the ball and being able to run the ball and possess the ball. But turnovers hurt us (Friday).”

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