Cony’s Parker Sergent, left, and Killian Arnold celebrate a touchdown on a pass play against Gardiner during an Oct. 20 game in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

WINTHROP — You wouldn’t know it by their stature, but it’s been more than a decade since either the Cony or Lawrence football teams claimed a regional title.

The Bulldogs haven’t been to a state final since they beat the Rams in the 2012 Class A Eastern Maine title game before losing to Thornton Academy in the state final. The Rams last won a regional crown the following year, topping Brunswick for the Class B East crown before beating Kennebunk to end an 81-year Gold Ball drought.

One decade-long dry spell will end Saturday afternoon when Cony and Lawrence meet at Winthrop’s Charlie’s Field for the Class B North title. It’s a fitting championship matchup between two central Maine titans; one has been the top team all season long and the other is as hot as hot can be.

“The reason you do the sprints in the summer, watch the film, lift the weights and go to the clinics is to get to a game like this,” said Cony head coach B.L. Lippert. “It really doesn’t (get better than this). You have two teams with a lot of history, and everybody is really excited about it.”

Lawrence has thoroughly dominated Class B North this year. That dominance has been no less emphatic at the top of the league for the Bulldogs, who boast blowout wins over the other top-four teams: Messalonskee (41-6), Gardiner (42-7) and the very Cony team they’ll play Saturday (40-7).

Lawrence’s Michael Hamlin celebrates with teammates after he scored a touchdown against Cony during a football game Sept. 22 in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Lawrence enters this game fully healthy with a dual-threat quarterback in Michael Hamlin, a solid corps of running backs in Colton Carter, Gaige Martin, Gavin Wilson and Maddox Santone and an athletic offensive line. That combo excelled in the Week 4 win over Cony as the Bulldogs ran for a stupefying 483 yards.


Although Lawrence has one of the area’s richest football traditions, it’s been a while since the Bulldogs have added a Gold Ball to their trophy case. The team’s last state championship came in a year that, as one Lawrence player points out, bears significance to the 2023 team.

“The last time we won states was 2006, and that was the year most of the seniors were born,” said Cam Dostie, a Lawrence senior offensive lineman. “It would be amazing to win it again no matter what, but when you look at that, I think that would make it even more special.”

Whereas Lawrence gets it done on the ground, Cony has found its success this season through the air. Parker Morin (163 of 295, 2,402 yards, 27 touchdowns) has emerged as an elite quarterback for the Rams, and Parker Sergent (66 catches, 1,062 yards, 14 touchdowns) has been his top option.

It’s a passing game that, improving week after week, is operating with full-fledged confidence at this point in the season. The Rams throwing for 200-plus yards is almost a given with some performances, such as Morin’s state-record 480-yard effort against Bangor in Week 6, far exceeding that mark.

“We know we’re going to have to throw the football — the short game, the long game, the intermediate game — and mix in some run and mix in some screen,” Lippert said. “That’s been a staple at Cony for a long time; this is kind of what we were accustomed to back in the Ben Lucas days, and we’ll see if we can do it on Saturday.”

Indeed, this Cony team has plenty of similarities to the squad that won it all 10 years ago. Led by Lucas, whose No. 13 was retired by the program earlier this year, the 2013 Rams rode an aerial onslaught to their first state title in 81 years. In fact, it was Lucas’ single-game record (448 yards) that Morin broke against Bangor.


“As a kid, I remember watching Cony football and that 2013 team go and win it,” Morin said. “I have a couple cousins on that team, and they still talk about that and what a great experience it was. … It’s kind of fun to play in the same (regional title) game they did. It’s something you dream about as a kid, and it’s come true.”

Both teams must be prepared to stop an offense much different than their own Saturday. It’s a matchup that will favor the speedy on Winthrop’s new turf surface, something in which players on both teams have expressed confidence — Cony plays on turf, and Lawrence’s Week 4 win came on the Rams’ Fuller Field surface.

It’s a short week for Cony, which will be taking the field less than five days after beating Messalonskee in the regional semifinals. Lawrence, which will have played just once in 21 days come Saturday, will be much more rested, but Bulldogs’ head coach John Hersom knows they’ll still need to bring it to take down the Rams.

“Cony’s a good team, and when you play a team like that, you know not everything in the game is going to go your way,” Hersom said. “We need to be ready to play emotionally, and the maturity it takes to be able to handle the adversity you face during a game will be important for us as well.”

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