Tuesday, March 11, 2014
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
BY BILL STEWART
BROTHERS AND TEAMMATES: The Shostak brothers, Chase, left, and Chandler, play defensive back and wide receiver for Cony. The No. 6 Rams will travel to Farmington to play No. 3 Mt. Blue on Friday night in a Pine Tree Conference Class A game.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
Cony High School junior Chase Shostak had just lost a fumble during the regular-season finale against Oxford Hills and trudged back to the huddle, where his teammates awaited.
"He says to me, 'you have to stop doing that,' " Chase said. "And, you know, he was right. I needed to stop."
And who offered the friendly chastisement?
None other than brother Chandler, a sophomore for the Rams.
"It's fun playing with him," Chase said. "We've never done this in football before."
The brothers Shostak -- Chase is 17; Chandler 15 -- have been teammates in baseball and basketball, but never in football prior to this season.
Both play cornerback and wide receiver for the Rams (4-4), who open the Pine Tree Conference Class A quarterfinals Friday night in Farmington against No. 3 Mt. Blue (6-2).
Sibling teammates are somewhat common -- Oak Hill, for example, has two sets of brothers -- Cam and Sam Morin, and Caleb and Cody Provost.
But the Shostaks are unique for two reasons: They play the same position and both are impact players on both sides of the ball.
"Both are very good football players who have made huge contributions for us," Cony coach Robby Vachon said. "You don't see that too often -- brothers who are both big impact players."
The Shostak brothers are each ranked in the PTC A top 10 receivers.
Chase has caught 22 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. Chandler has 27 receptions for 323 yards and a score.
Both describe the experience of playing together as "interesting."
"It's definitely fun," Chase said. "It's interesting. We talk a lot on and off the field. We play the same sports. I don't know, we don't have too many differences."
Added Chandler: "It's been fun. I enjoy playing sports with him. But I try to see him as just another teammate."
Is that hard?
"Not, it's not too hard," he added. "We do different things. We don't train together and we don't do everything together."
Added Vachon: "They treat each other as teammates. I've never seen any friction with the two on the field. Both are very, very competitive. But I don't look at them like (brothers). I don't look at them that way. They play two key positions and are just really, really good players for us."
But both helped solidify the Cony passing game after senior Nick Lucas suffered an ankle injury early in the first quarter of a season-opening victory at Mt. Ararat in Topsham on Sept. 3.
Neither expected to play a significant role this season, but the injury to Lucas -- who missed five games -- forced a change of plans.
Chandler and Colin McKee were slated to alternate plays, but both earned starting jobs when Lucas was injured.
"We knew Chandler would help us offensively, but we didn't realize how good a corner he was," Vachon said. "Offensively, we have four or five guys who would be out there running routes every play, and obviously they all can't catch a pass. Chase has always been a great blocker, especially on the edge."
Added Chase: "No, I didn't expect to play this kind of role. I expected to be blocking all the time. I was hoping I would get the ball."
Quarterback Luke Duncklee said Chase and Chandler Shostak capitalized on an opportunity to play a bigger role.
"Both are really scrappy players," Duncklee said. "They'll play right to the whistle. Chase is pretty intense and Chandler is quiet, but he can get excited. They have both stepped up. They make plays."
Chase and Chandler, while playing the same positions, are different players, Vachon said.
"Chandler is a little more finesse," he said. "Chase is not as smooth, but he's tougher. Chase is more of a physical receiver. Both are ultra-competitive."
And both hope to help keep the Cony season alive this week.
"We've played well," Chase said. "Hopefully, we can keep it going."
Bill Stewart -- 623-3811, ext. 515