Friday, April 18, 2014
It’s been a difficult season for the Gardiner football team, which has lost all seven games by a combined 292-30.
WEEKLY HONOR ROLL
• Oak Hill running back Kyle Flaherty rushed for 183 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-8 win over Traip.
• Oak Hill quarterback Dalton Therrien threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to Alex Mace and also rushed for a score in a 35-8 win over Traip.
• Winthrop/Monmouth running back Zach Glazier rushed for 183 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in a 48-8 win over Boothbay.
• Winthrop/Monmouth linebacker Nate Bowers had 7.5 tackles and a fumble recovery in a 48-8 win over Boothbay.
• Maranacook running back Chris Robinson rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-0 victory over Telstar.
• Cony quarterback Ben Lucas threw for 257 yards and a touchdown in a 35-21 loss to Greely.
However, Gardiner knows it can erase a fall of futility by stunning Cony in the regular-season finale Friday night.
The historic series, which Cony leads 68-57-10, resumes at 7 p.m. Friday at Alumni Field in Augusta.
It’s the first regular-season meeting between the teams since 2004. Gardiner dropped to Class B in 2005 and the teams continued their series through exhibition games at either the beginning or end of their respective seasons.
Cony joined the Pine Tree Conference Class B this fall with the implementation of the four-class system. The Rams have won three of the last four meetings, including a 26-15 decision last year at Hoch Field.
“This game will cap a rough year,” Gardiner coach Matt Burgess said. “But we know it can make or break our year. I think it’s great to get this game at the end of the season. It was interesting to have it at the beginning. It was an exhibition game that you had to win.”
The game is part of the Great American Rivalry Series as presented by the U.S. Marine Corps and Hibbett Sports. The series, which Rick Ford founded, highlights a variety of top rivalry games throughout the country.
“It’s pretty cool,” Burgess said. “They’ve been contacting us all week.”
The teams are heading in opposite directions as the regular season concludes.
The quick-scoring Rams (5-2) can finish as high as second in the PTC B with a victory. The top two seeds receive byes to the semifinals. The Tigers (0-7) are playing for pride, their playoff hopes dashed weeks ago.
“We need a win,” Cony coach Robby Vachon said, “and it’s still Cony-Gardiner. It doesn’t matter if they are down or if we were down. It’s still a big game to us. We know they are 0-7 but you never know what can happen. They have nothing to lose. They’ll throw anything and everything at us, I’m sure.”
Added Burgess: “I don’t even know if we have different things to come up with. We still need to do the little things, like blocking and tackling. We need to block and tackle soundly; if we do that maybe we can throw a wrinkle at them.”
Gardiner will host a rally at 6 p.m. Thursday in advance of the game. There will be a bonfire and the football team will be raising money for the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta.
The rally will also help show support for the soccer and field hockey teams.
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The Winthrop/Monmouth program can close out a perfect regular season for the first time since Winthrop went 8-0 in 2008.
The Ramblers reached the Class C state title game that season, losing 21-14 to John Bapst.
Coach Joel Stoneton said this year’s team is much deeper than his 2008 squad.
“The thing we have this year is more talent with the depth,” Stoneton said. “In 2008, we had (Jordan) Conant, (Jake) Steele, (Riley) Cobb and (Skylar) Whaley, but we didn’t get any deeper than that. We do this year.”
The Ramblers (7-0) have all but locked up the No. 1 seed in the Western D Campbell Conference playoffs. They will host Maranacook (4-3) on Friday night.
Stoneton said he is trying not to pay attention to what is unfolding in the Big Ten Conference.
However, he acknowledged he was aware that Buckfield toppled Maine Central Institute in a game last weekend between the top two teams in the conference.
(Continued on page 2)