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PREVIEW: Cony vs. Gardiner (ME)

August 23, 2012

The Gardiner Tigers and the Cony Rams will square off in the 135th meeting between the two schools, a rivalry that dates all the way back to 1892 and is considered one of the longest-running high school rivalries in the nation. Since the teams no longer play in the same division, they play a pre-season game one week prior to the start of the regular season. The game now takes part in the “Drive Out Cancer Challenge”, with all the proceeds going towards the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta. Upwards of 3,000 fans are expected to pack the stands at Hoch Field in Gardiner, ME.

Gardiner won 36-34 in overtime last season rushing for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in extra time and converted the two-point conversion. Cony answered with a score of its own, but failed to connect on its own two-point attempt. Two of the last three games in the series have needed extra time to determine the winner, so a nail-biting game seems certain as the two teams take the field in the 2012 Great American Rivalry Series.

Cony leads the all-time series with a record of 67-57-10. There may be no other exhibition game in the country that has as many implications as this game. Most exhibition games are played in front of a smaller crowd and are used to figure out starters for the upcoming season. This game is played in front of thousands of rowdy fans eager to earn bragging rights for another year.

The Gardiner Tigers finished with a 6-3 record last year behind first year coach Matt Burgess, making it to the Pine Tree Conference Class B semifinals before losing to Mount Blue 35-14. The Tigers last won the Maine Class B State Championship in 2007, they will be looking to attain those lofty heights again in 2012.

The Cony Rams, under head coach Robby Vachon, are looking to bounce back from a disappointing season finishing with a 2-7 record. They are led by junior quarterback Ben Lucas and senior wide receiver Chandler Shostak.

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What is the Great American Rivalry Series?

Each fall for over a century, high school football has been the centerpiece for families and communities on Friday night. In 2004, iHigh, Inc. created the Great American Rivalry Series to celebrate this uniquely American sport and the cultural phenomenon of “Friday Night in America.” The Series shines the spotlight on top high school football rivalries across the nation, where long-standing traditions are valued, expectations are sky high, and followers are committed.