Thursday, February 13, 2014
Lucas leaves championship legacy at Cony (Maine)
By Matt DiFilippo
When Ben Lucas started classes at Cony High School, the Rams hadn’t won a football state championship since 1932. That streak stayed intact through his junior year. But as a senior, under coach Robby Vachon and offensive coordinator B.L. Lippert, Lucas threw for 3,357 yards and a state record 41 touchdowns. He capped that by throwing for 347 yards – 307 of them in the second half – and directing a game-winning 99-yard drive in the final minutes to defeat Kennebunk in the Class B state final. Lucas finished his career with 7,575 yards passing, and a state-record 89 touchdowns.
He also won the Fitzpatrick Trophy, the award given annually to the top senior football player in the state.
Lucas is heading to the University of Maine, where he’ll be one of five quarterbacks on the Black Bears’ roster. Lucas took some time to answer questions about his magical season, why he chose UMaine, and why he’s been a three-sport athlete throughout high school:
Q: Cony hadn’t won a state championship in a long time before this season. Was that history something you were aware of when you were playing as a freshman and a sophomore?
A: “It had been something I was aware of, but with the history of Cony Football, it seemed like we could never reach that goal until my junior year when Coach Vachon and Coach Lippert reminded us of it daily. But breaking huddles with it, and putting signs around the weight room that said 1932 pushed us to work harder.”
Q: What are some of the things that made the Cony football team successful this season?
A: “I think one of the things that doesn’t get talked about as to why we were so good was the bond we had as teammates. It was truly a brotherhood. We always hear about our team from a playing point of view, but the biggest reason why we were so good was how close we were. And how much we trusted each other and had each other’s back. And still, now even football has ended, we are just as close as during the season.”
Q: How often do you think about the state game against Kennebunk? Are we talking every day? What do you think about when you think about that game?
A: “I think about the state game every day and talk about it every day. And sure I always talk and think about the 99-yard drive. But was really special was the buzz of the community after. How we really united the town of Augusta, and the bus ride back, and getting a parade and police escort through town, showing up at Cony at 1 a.m., with our whole food court packed with people, and just seeing the support we got.”
Q: When you wrote your speech for the Fitzpatrick Trophy banquet, what were the things you really wanted to make sure you included?
A: “I really wanted to make sure I talked about my teammates, family and the process Cony football went through to get where we are now, and that we want to stay here.”
Q: A lot of players who are being recruited by Division I colleges in one sport will focus only on that sport. Yet you play basketball, high school baseball, and Legion baseball. Why is that important to you to play those other sports?
A: “I take pride in being an all-around athlete and I love all those other sports. Being a three-sport athlete is a cool feeling, and all the other sports help me become a better football player -- and I've been playing for so long, it’s hard to give up.”
Q: What are your plans for college? What’s going into that decision for you?
A: “I will be attending UMaine, majoring in either politics or government, as well as being on the football team. Maine was the best fit for me because I want to see how good I can be. It's the best school talent-wise I was being recruited by so I want to go there, work hard and prove that I can play at the next level.”