LEWISTON — Balancing its offense has helped the Lewiston football team balance its won-lost record.

Riddled by injury and winless through four games, the Blue Devils have turned to Quintarian Brown’s shiftiness and speed, Stone Colby’s toughness and Eddie Emerson’s arm strength.

Suddenly they’re keeping the blood flowing in the scoreboard operator’s fingers with the efficiency Lewiston fans and players came to expect in coach Bill County’s first decade at the helm.

“I’ve kind of changed my ways a little. Quintarian is getting the ball 18, 19, 20 times a game, instead of how I used to be a run-my-tailback-40-times-a-game guy,” County said, “Eddie’s doing a great job throwing the ball, so we throw 20 times a game now for 150 (yards) a game, and you can’t not give the ball to Stone once in a while. It’s been kind of fun to have some balance.”

How much longer the fun continues will be determined Saturday, when No. 5 Lewiston (3-5) travels to No. 4 Bangor for an Eastern Class A quarterfinal. Kickoff time at Cameron Stadium is 2 p.m.

Perennially on a collision course as the calendar flips to November, the longtime rivals met three weeks ago in Lewiston, where the Devils answered a late Rams touchdown with a long connection from Emerson to Brown for a stunning 31-29 win.

“When we came down at the end and scored in that game, we kind of rallied around that,” Colby said.

There was a time in early September when no outsider would have foreseen such lofty late-season hopes.

Brown was hampered by persistent cramps in a season-opening loss to Oxford Hills. Lewiston lost both its starting middle linebackers to injury that night, as well.

A week later, Brown left the field in an ambulance after suffering a concussion in a 67-8 clobbering at Cheverus. As a result, he also missed Week 3 against Windham, a game in which Lewiston performed well for a half but also lost.

“That was the biggest turning point. I was out and everybody came together and played a really good game,” Brown said. “We’re just finally healthy.”

And Brown’s early absence may have been a blessing in disguise for the Devils, who used the time to dust off other weapons. Colby, a tackle who converted to fullback after success at the junior varsity level a year ago, saw an increased role carrying the ball.

It’s one that County hasn’t abandoned even with his star tailback at full speed. Brown and Colby, both juniors, have combined for 1,377 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.

“They’re a great one-two punch. Quintarian is special. He’s very shifty. He’s faster than he looks. He’s got those long legs,” County said. “And Stone is just a workhorse. He really is the motor of this team. At nose tackle he’s a phenom, and at fullback, we’ll run him and it’ll be three or four yards and all of a sudden he’ll break one for 20 or 25 and get us out of a bad spot.”

Neither classmate has an issue letting the other bask in the spotlight, either.

“Stone, he’s an animal,” Brown said. “He’s a big boy to bring down. He’s really tough.”

“It’s never one person,” Colby added. “I try to open the holes up for Q and let him do his thing.”

As if that double-whammy isn’t enough for opposing defenses, Emerson leads Eastern Class A in pass completions (59) and yards (853) and is second with nine touchdowns. Ace Curry’s 24 catches are nearly twice as many as the next closest receiver in the league.

The balance begins, however, with Brown, who follows Jared Turcotte, Wesley Myers and Jeff Turcotte in County’s run of superlative tailbacks.

Brown got the state’s attention with seven special teams touchdowns during Lewiston’s two-win 2012 season. He’s added two to that total this fall.

“I wouldn’t say there’s more pressure, but people are expecting a lot more after last year,” Brown said. “(They were expecting me) to get bigger and stronger and be able to do more things on offense. I know the coaches remember my first name.”

Both the tailback and fullback’s first names have a certain memorable, movie-star quality.

Chances are good that you’ll be seeing them at least on your HDTV as part of highlight-film packages for a year to come. Brown and Colby work behind an offensive line that County labels the smartest he’s ever had, and Nate Freve is the lone senior.

“Basically I think it’s that everybody’s getting older,” Colby said. “We were a young team, and we’re progressing and getting better.”

“It’s a nice thing to think about having them back,” County chimed in.

Indeed. Although the way the Devils are putting up yards and points, it could be a while before they have a chance to look past the here-and-now.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.