LIVERMORE FALLS — Brett Frey and the Spruce Mountain offense were tough to stop Friday night, whether it was running, passing or facing 4th-and-long.
Frey ran for a touchdown and threw for four more, including two on the aforementioned fourth down, to lead the Phoenix to a 34-8 homecoming victory over Winthrop/Monmouth at Griffin Field.
Frey completed 10 of 16 passes for 126 yards as part of a balanced attack that also picked up 234 yards on the ground while out-gaining the Ramblers, 360-163 in total yardage.
“I think we have (been balanced on offense). I just don’t think we’ve had enough opportunity to show it,” Frey said. “Each week, it’s getting better and better, and this is the start of it.”
“We had a good night,” said head coach David Frey, Brett’s father. “We installed some passing stuff from last year that I felt we could do. Brett threw really well.”
Kayle Stewart led the ground game with 21 carries for 135 yards. Tate Walton had 18 carries for 77 yards.
“We’re in the backfield to make plays and we’re not tackling,” Winthrop/Monmouth coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “We’re missing blocks and guys aren’t running hard. We’re still a team with potential. We’ve got to fight through some adversity now.”
Nick Lombardi and Logan Smith caught two touchdowns apiece. Lombardi also had an interception.
On their opening offensive series, Frey and Lombardi connected for their first score after it appeared the drive would end in disappointment.
The Phoenix (3-1) marched to the Ramblers’ 2 before a high snap on 3rd-and-goal forced Frey to jump on the ball at the 20. On the next play, he lofted a pass to the right corner of the end zone, where Lombardi out-jumped a defender and came down with it for the early lead.
“I had great blocking, great time to throw the ball, and I threw it up there hoping he’d make the play and he did,” Frey said.
“I beat the guy off the jump, started running and saw him toss the ball up,” Lombardi said. “My receiving coaches always tell me go to the ball, don’t let it come to you, so that’s what I did.”
Smith outfought a defender for his touchdown catch, showing good concentration to bobble and gather the ball in before turning upfield for an 18-yard touchdown with 54 seconds left in the half.
Led by Tucker Smith, Austin White and Jack Bryant, Spruce Mountain limited Winthrop/Monmouth (1-3) to 40 total yards in the first half.
“Going into the game, we knew if we stopped their screen passes, we’d be able to win the game, and that’s what we did,” Lombardi said.
The game was delayed for about a half-hour early in the third quarter when the Ramblers’ Ryan Baird went down with a neck injury. Baird was moving his arms and legs but was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for precautionary reasons.
The Ramblers felt the affects on the field not long after, as Baird was their starting punter and their second- and third-string punters were injured and unavailable to kick. Cameron Gaghan volunteered for the duty and made a valiant effort but the punt ended up traveling zero net yards, giving the Phoenix the ball at the Rambler 26.
On 4th-and-11, Frey found an open Smith over the middle for a 27-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
Frey added an eight-yard touchdown run and an eight-yard TD pass to Lombardi to finish off the Phoenix scoring. Beau Schmelzer spoiled the shutout with the JV players on the field by breaking off a 35-yard touchdown run for the Ramblers.
Spruce Mountain High School defensive end Brett Hunt gets a hand on the ball being thrown by Winthrop/Monmouth quarterback Keegan Choate during the first half in Livermore Falls on Friday. Hunt caused a fumble, but Winthrop/Monmouth recovered the ball.
Nick Lombardi of Spruce Mountain grabs a pass over Dylan Lajoie of Winthrop/Monmouth for a touchdown on fourth down and 28 yards to go in Jay on Friday. Lombardi’s touchdown put the Phoenix up 6-0.
Winthrop/Monmouth head coach Dave St. Hilaire talks with his quarterback Keegan Choate in Livermore Falls on Friday.
Kayle Stewart of Spruce Mountain moves the ball up the field against Winthrop/Monmouth in Livermore Falls on Friday.
Spruce Mountain coaches react after a near interception against Winthrop/Monmouth on Friday.
Logan Smith of Spruce Mountain hauls in a touchdown pass against a Winthrop/Monmouth defender during the second period in Livermore Falls on Friday.
Jevin Smith of Winthrop/Monmouth puts pressure on Spruce Mountain’s Brett Frey during the first half in Livermore Falls on Friday.