LISBON — Two possessions into Saturday’s Campbell Conference Class D clash with Lisbon, Winthrop/Monmouth senior quarterback Matt Ingram connected with senior split end Bennett Brooks on a pretty 59-yard touchdown pass that put the Ramblers in the driver’s seat.

It was a play that Ingram and Brooks have executed countless times in practice and games the last three years, but it never worked better than it did Saturday. Every facet of the play — from Ingram’s play-action and roll out to his left to the pocket the line set up for him to the out-and-up route Brooks ran to get free from one-on-one coverage — was flawless, except Brooks wasn’t Ingram’s primary receiver.

Give Winthrop/Monmouth depth and an entire preseason of preparation to go with its talent and experience and it will execute plays like that on a regular basis. That’s what the Ramblers did throughout the season-opener at Thompson Field, taking early 13-0 lead over the Greyhounds and rolling to a 31-12 victory.

“We’ve worked really hard for the past two weeks. This is what we were working for the whole time, and it paid off,” Ingram said.

Ingram, a three-year starter, completed 8 of 13 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a 38-yard touchdown. Brooks caught four of those passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Fullback Alec Brown rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

On the other side of the ball, the Ramblers met their major objective of containing speedy Lisbon quarterback Taylor Halls. They kept him out of the end zone and the big plays to a minimum (13 carries, 72 yards) and sacked him twice. They also picked him off twice while allowing just 10 of 21 completions for 105 yards.


“We worked all week on our outside rush and attacking his outside shoulder. Our cornerbacks, we tell them to focus on outside in,” Winthrop coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “We had to do a decent job up front, but we had to shut him down on the outside. The kids really responded.”

When second- and third-level defenders such as Nate Scott, Andrew Pazdziorko and Abram Sirois were able to turn Halls inside, someone like 6-foot-2, 325 pound defensive tackle Hunter Hamlin was there to meet him.

“We were just staying home and playing our responsibilities and that helped us out in the end,” Hamlin said. “Halls is definitely a big weapon. We tried to keep him inside and don’t let him get outside.”

Lisbon was able to grind out one marathon scoring drive that covered 59 yards on 18 plays and devoured 8:31 off the clock to pull within 13-6 late in the second quarter on Lucas Francis’ one-yard TD run.

But the Ramblers responded with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to make it a two-score game again. They converted twice on fourth down, including Ingram’s second TD pass to Brooks on 4th-and-10 from the 30 with 16.3 seconds to go in the half.

“That long drive was something that we needed to do as a team. I think that pass just before the halftime took the benefits of it away from us a little bit,” Lisbon coach Dick Mynahan said. “They had some nice momentum changes. I thought their QB scrambled a couple of times and that gave them big opportunities.”


Ingram (seven carries, 68 yards) took advantage of his one big opportunity to use his legs, slipping out of two tackles near the Ramblers’ sideline en route to a 38-yard touchdown run that made it 31-6.

Winthrop/Monmouth marched down the field on nine plays on the game’s opening drive to take a 7-0 lead. Brown ran 16 yards to the 2, then scored on the next play.

Halls executed a fake punt for a 17-yard gain to extend Lisbon’s opening drive, but Antonio Meucci dropped him for a loss on 4th-and-3 from the Ramblers’ 38 to get the ball back to the offense. On the Ramblers’ first play from scrimmage, Ingram found Brooks for their first touchdown

“Going into this we knew they have some great defensive ends, and we knew they come up the field hard, so we knew they were going stay inside,” Ingram said. “I just rolled out and stopped right in the pocket — my line did an amazing job blocking — and I knew Bennett was going to be there.”

Scott and Tyler Cote had interceptions for the Ramblers. Cote also had a 27-yard field goal.

Francis finished with 52 yards on 14 carries for the Greyhounds. He also caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Halls.



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