Nor do they speak loudly or with a hyper-caffeinated level of excitement, a refreshing character trait that probably explains their penchant for comebacks that get other hearts racing and lungs screaming.

Pratt and Pratt-Holt delivered the Cougars’ latest last-minute heroics with a 10-yard touchdown catch to seal a 35-34 Class B North quarterfinal win over Cony last Friday night. Mt. Blue trailed by three touchdowns late in the third quarter.

A week earlier, the Cougars rallied from deficits of 19-0 and 26-7 and reached the Skowhegan 14-yard line with a chance to win before the Indians intercepted a pass in the end zone to close it out. And nobody associated with Mt. Blue has forgotten Pratt-Holt’s 18-yard catch from Pratt on the final play to steal one from Brewer, 37-36, at 2014 homecoming.

“Anything to win games at this time of year,” Pratt said. “It usually comes naturally. I always have faith that we can get the job done at the end.”

No. 4 Mt. Blue (6-3) might be a decided underdog when it travels to No. 1 Brunswick (7-1) for a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Friday.

Fair warning, though: Even if the Dragons carve out a substantial lead at halftime, don’t leave.


“This is probably the closest team I’ve been on,” Pratt-Holt said. “We all believe in each other. We won’t give up.”

Between bloodlines and pure athleticism, there was no doubt the Cougars were getting something special in their top aerial tandem the past two years.

Pratt took over the quarterback from his older brother, Andrew. Those two are the grandsons of Ray Caldwell, the coach who guided Mt. Blue to three state championships in the 1970s and ‘80s and for whom the Cougars’ home field is named.

Pratt-Holt won the Class A triple jump championship in outdoor track and field his sophomore and junior seasons.

“The lights aren’t too bright for them. The moment doesn’t get too big for them,” Mt. Blue coach Jim Aylward said. “It’s their overall demeanor, too. They’re very similar kids. They’re quiet. They conduct themselves very well. They’re respectful. They’re unassuming. They truly have the same character.”

The transition from Gary Parlin’s “Cougar Gun” to Aylward’s Wing-T preferences figured to change Mt. Blue’s style after the coach moved over from Mountain Valley two years ago.


Still, the 5-foot-7 Pratt has thrown for more than 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in his two seasons at the helm. He connected with Caleb Hall, Makao Thompson and Pratt-Holt for scores in the win over Cony.

“He’s smart. The line does a great job. He’s really accurate. He’s got a great football IQ,” Pratt-Holt said of his quarterback. “Over the summer we got together and he’d throw me some routes most days.”

Pratt-Holt also had a 35-yard touchdown run to launch the fourth-quarter revival in the quarterfinals, set up by his own blocked field goal. He also made the initial catch on a hook-and-ladder play, pitching to Christian Whitney for a huge gain to ignite the drive.

He has more than 900 all-purpose yards catching, running and returning kicks. Also a starting safety, Pratt-Holt is second on the team with 60 tackles and has intercepted two passes.

“Nate’s a good receiver,” Pratt said. “I think he knows what I want for a route, but he can go up and catch anything.”

The blocked field goal against Cony, as well as a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter at Skowhegan, were a testament to Pratt-Holt’s quickness and nose for the ball.


“Some people would say when a safety is your leading tackler it’s not a good thing,” Aylward said. “But when you watch film, you don’t even see him at the start of the play, and all of a sudden he comes on the film and it’s a one-yard gain.”

Pratt doesn’t play defense, a concession to the vulnerability of his non-throwing shoulder, twice separated during American Legion baseball season.

“He might officially be the first player I’ve ever coached who didn’t play defense all year and didn’t practice it either,” Aylward said. “He’s a pretty important guy. He can run with the ball, and the farther we get the more that happens. But the reality of it is he’s our varsity quarterback and we only have one of ‘em.”

In addition to avoiding the daunting early deficit, Pratt said the key to reversing a 27-16 loss to Brunswick on Oct. 16 is to sustain more drives.

Will Bessey ran 34 times for 198 yards and a touchdown. After Brunswick’s goal-line stand stopped Mt. Blue from taking the lead in the third quarter, the Cougars couldn’t pull another comeback out of their helmets. Pratt’s quarterback sneak and a long kickoff return were the Cougars’ only scores of the night.

“We need to run more offensive plays,” Pratt said. “They controlled the game with Bessey the first time. I think he had more carries than we ran plays.”


The Cougars have made it clear what can happen if you let them run the last play.

“Last Friday night, we had no margin of error for the whole fourth quarter,” Aylward said. “Ryan ran the offense great. We were efficient in everything we did. When you have kids like that, the quality of their character is so strong that no moment is too big for them.

“I think they’re appreciative of the moment, so instead of worrying about what’s going to happen, they try to make things happen.”

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