Sunday, April 20, 2014
Robby Vachon came up with the idea during the summer as his Cony football team prepared to embark on what they hoped would be a historic season.
“The last time the Cony football program was crowned a state champion, it was 1932,” Vachon said. “I really thought that for our kids to validate all their hard work, they would have to win it. At the beginning of the summer, I decided that we would break every huddle, every practice, every team gathering by saying ‘32 on three.’ It just became our thing. We said it for everything. Whenever we broke as a team, we’d hold our hands up and say ‘32 on three.’”
The team rallied behind that saying and put together a remarkable season that ended with the Class B state championship.
For leading the Rams to the first-ever state championship game victory, Vachon has been named the Kennebec Journal Football Coach of the Year. Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette, who led his team to the Class D state title, was also considered.
Vachon, who will enter his eighth season as Cony coach next fall, knew he had a talented team returning, particularly with senior quarterback Ben Lucas. But Vachon also knew he’d be taking on an even bigger role compared to years past.
“I took on the defense,” Vachon said. “We knew we had a good club coming back and that we had the kids who were committed , but we still had to coach them up. We have a fantastic staff and really it was a collaborative effort. We all kind of did the job.”
With coordinator B.L. Lippert leading the fast-scoring offense, the Rams used their spread offense to batter opposing defenses for much of the season. But the improved play of the defense also played a big role in the team’s success.
Vachon served as defensive coordinator and helped the unit stabilize as the season progressed.
“We made a few moves and shifted a few people,” Vachon said. “It wasn’t just me. We have eight guys on the staff, most on a volunteer basis, and they all contributed. A lot of people didn’t see that. I am lucky to have the staff that I have and lucky to have kids who dedicated their time to Cony football.”
Players said they enjoyed playing for the emotional and fiery Vachon.
“He really got us focused on shutting down the run,” said Tayler Carrier, a junior linebacker. “That was his main focus. He got us to play physical on defense. He’s just a great motivational person. The way he says stuff, it’s very motivating. How he used 1932 to fuel our fire, it just worked. He really made us think about how long ago we had won anything.”
Added senior quarterback Ben Lucas: “I owe a lot to Coach Vachon. He really helped me through the years. I loved playing for him. He’s a great coach, not just with his Xs and Os but how he runs practices. He’s just very organized and he knew how to get us fired up.”Bill Stewart — firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @billstewartkj