WINTHROP — The Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale football team wanted to make a statement. And though the Ramblers had to wait a little longer than anticipated, they made it Monday afternoon.

The Ramblers used big plays throughout the afternoon to defeat Freeport 40-14 in a game at Maxwell Field that was moved back from Friday night due to a power outage caused by a car accident. The victory allowed Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale (5-0) to stay in the top spot in Class D, and came against a Falcons team (4-2) that posed a stiffer challenge than the opponents the Ramblers had already beaten, teams with a combined record of 3-11.

“We knew they were going to be a challenge, and we met that challenge,” said Winthrop quarterback Andrew Foster, who threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns. “We showed that we can score 40 points on whatever team we wanted.”

“Huge statement. We’ve been told the past few weeks that we’d been playing the not-as-good teams, that we haven’t had any real competition yet,” said Winthrop’s Logan Baird, who ran 20 times for 112 yards and a score, and also hauled in a 52-yard touchdown catch. “We showed today that we could beat competition.”

Freeport coach Paul St. Pierre wasn’t happy with his team’s performance, but was turning the page the moment the game was over.

“It’s not the result we wanted, not the result we expected,” he said. “We’re going to watch film, we’re going to learn every single mistake we made, and we’re going to correct it.”

The Ramblers had been fired up for the Friday night showdown, then had to wait three more days to get their shot. Coach Dave St. Hilaire didn’t fear a letdown, but it was on his mind.

“It was (a concern) a little bit, because we were ready Friday night, and Freeport was ready Friday night,” he said. “We were really locked in, and you wonder, hey, two days. Are we going to be rusty? … Are we going to forget our keys, things we put in and worked on?”

His team showed him there would be no such issues early on. The Ramblers reached the Freeport 14 on their second possession on a 63-yard completion from Foster to Brayden Stubbert, but Freeport’s Tony Casale blocked a field goal to keep the game scoreless.

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Logan Baird battles Freeport tackler Danny Casale during football action Monday in Winthrop. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The Ramblers finished the drive on their third series. A 33-yard punt return by Nick Keezer put the ball at the Freeport 24-yard line, and Baird ran in from 11 yards out five plays later for a 7-0 lead with 5:16 to go in the second.

The Ramblers kept rolling. After holding Freeport to a three-and-out, they needed only two plays to strike on their next possession, with Foster finding Evan Jones on a perfectly executed play-action pass for 72 yards and a 13-0 lead with 2:32 to go in the half.

The Ramblers struck again to make it 21-0 with 36.3 seconds left when Dom Trott (13 carries, 86 yards, two touchdowns) ran in from 4 yards out, and though Freeport managed to score at the buzzer on a 10-yard run by Jordan Knighton (13 carries, 31 yards), the Ramblers had a full head of steam.

“We kept the same intensity throughout the whole game,” Foster said. “We’ve been explosive on offense, and our defense held up. We were able to finish.”

The Ramblers picked up where they left off in the second half, with Foster slinging a pass to Baird in stride for 52 yards and a 27-7 lead just three plays into their first possession.

“It’s a good thing, being able to play multiple positions,” Baird said. “I play running back and receiver sometimes, it just spreads the field more.”

It was another on-the-money pass from Foster, who needed only four completions to reach 200 yards.

“Andrew does a nice job of pocket presence. He doesn’t look to just take and run, he looks to see who’s open downfield,” St. Hilaire said. “He’s clicking on all cylinders right now, and he’s running the ball well.”

Freeport’s Tony Casale battles Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale tacklers during football action Monday in Winthrop. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Freeport answered, going 67 yards and capping the series with a 1-yard sneak from Aidan Heath (11-of-20, 140 yards) to cut the deficit to 27-14, but the Ramblers kept adding to their lead. Foster kept for a 2-yard touchdown early in the fourth, and Trott ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 1:15 left to round out the scoring.

As impressive as the Ramblers’ big-play offense was, its defense was just as sharp. Heath and Danny Casale (four catches, 97 yards) had a rapport throughout the game, but Freeport managed only 41 rushing yards on 27 attempts and struggled to maintain drives.

“Our guys trusted what we had for a gameplan, knowing what their weapons were and putting our players in position to make stops,” St. Hilaire said. “They hit some passes, that’s something we’ll have to work on.”

St. Pierre had a similar get-to-work mentality.

“We will see these guys again. That is our goal,” he said. “We have a lot to work on on both sides of the ball, but I can tell you, I always get better from my losses, not from my wins. We will get better. We’re going to get better from this.”

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.