MADISON — What was a close game after one quarter started to turn into a rout after two, thanks in part to Madison/Carrabec’s two-headed monster in the backfield.
Evan Bess ran for a touchdown and threw for two more, both to Sean Whalen, who ran for two of his own, and the Bulldogs ran past Winthrop/Monmouth 47-8 in a Class D South football game at Rudman Field on Friday night.
“They looked good,” Bulldogs coach Scott Franzose said. “They’ve played together since they were kids.”
Whalen scored from nine yards out three plays into the Bulldogs’ (3-0) first drive to put the hosts up 6-0 quickly. The Bulldogs’ next drive ended in a punt, and their third didn’t start until the final play of the first quarter.
Eric Wescott’s 32-yard run set the Bulldogs up in Ramblers (1-2) territory to start the quarter, and he ended that drive with a 6-yard touchdown run.
Whalen ran for another touchdown (39 yards), and Bess hooked up with him for a 79-yard catch-and-run to give the Bulldogs a 27-0 lead at halftime.
“We obviously look to put the ball in his hands,” Franzose said. “They were over-adjusting at times to our trips, so we saw some plays we could get him more involved in the pass game. He’s slippery in general, but he hit the hole hard tonight. He’s obviously a big part of what we do. Playmaker in just about every phase of our game.”
Whalen finished the game with 10 carries for 115 yards and four catches for another 119.
“Our line did a great job protecting our quarterback and helping our running backs get to the second level,” Whalen said. “And once we get to the second level, it’s up to us to make the right reads and do our jobs, shed a couple tackles.”
The Bulldogs’ first drive of the second half also only took three plays, and Whalen finished it with his fourth and final touchdown. Bess connected with his senior classmate on a 29-yard pass.
Wescott later ran for his second touchdown (eight yards), and Bess kept the ball himself on the final play of the third quarter for a 7-yard score.
“I thought we were playing them very well defensively. They had that first big play on the pass and then they had a couple long runs,” Ramblers coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “For the most part for that first half I thought we played pretty well knowing we were up against a really tough team. But you can’t give up those big plays. We did.”
The Ramblers’ opening drive of the game got them into Bulldog territory Kane Gould returned the opening kickoff 31 yards, but a fourth-down stop ended the drive before it really got started. The Ramblers didn’t get as close to the end zone again until late in the second quarter.
“Our game plan coming in, we knew they could score and we knew all about their speed. What we wanted to do was slow the game down, have some long drives, every punt we would try to put out of bounds,” St. Hilaire. “But when you don’t get the first downs, it kind of takes that game plan and throws it the window because we needed eight, 10 play drives, and whether we score or not we need to flip the field and make them go the distance.”
The Bulldogs’ secondary “came up big,” according to Franzose. Interceptions by Bess and Wescott ended the Ramblers’ final two drives of the first half, which both had gotten into Bulldog territory.
The Ramblers prevented the shutout when Ian Steele ran in from 11 yards out with just over a minute to play in the game.