Winthrop’s Kane Gould gets taken down by a combination high tackle by Michael Wrigley and a low tackle by Tyler Bridge in Friday night’s football game in Winthrop.
WINTHROP — Wells officially came to Class D South on Friday night, and it was as good as advertised.
Using the same physical, ground-and-pound style it rode to a Class C state championship last year, Wells dominated Winthrop/Monmouth in its D South debut, 46-0, at Maxwell Field.
The Warriors outgained the Ramblers, 420-121. The picked up 363 of those yards on the ground. The defense held the Winthrop-Monmouth starters to just 83 total yards and only two first downs.
“We just had to come out and play our brand of football, which is just physical, go after them, run the ball, pass it a little bit, and just play Warrior football,” senior fullback Nolan Potter said.
Wells graduated 19 seniors from the team that won Class C with a 10-1 record. But they didn’t miss a beat in the season-opener with the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Potter running through defenders for 115 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries.
“I feel like we have something to prove,” Potter said. “We’ve lost a lot of guys. It’s a pretty new team, so we’ve got to show that we’ve still got what it takes.”
“I get why some people would say you’ve got a target on your back (moving down a class after winning a state title),” Wells coach Tim Roche said. “But we’ve spent 12 years of playing up (a class). The way things went this year, it just happened that we fall into ‘D’. We’re a school now, we’re close to under 400 kids. We’re not growing in size. Our numbers are down on the sidelines, even, like a lot of people.”
The Ramblers were down a few defensive linemen due to injuries, which didn’t help their prospects of containing Wells’ Wing-T. They also lost perhaps their best defensive lineman, senior Zac Wallace, to an apparent right knee injury early in the second half.
“They run the Wing-T very well and they throw a lot at you,” Winthrop/Monmouth coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “Their fullback is a horse … They’ve got some quick guys that can run.”
Wells tailback Chad Fitzpatrick added 104 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Christian Saulnier was Wells’ defensive star with two interceptions.
Saulniers’ first pick set up the game’s first score, a four-yard run by Potter with 4:11 left in the first quarter.
Tyler Bridge’s 23-yard punt return and a 29-yard pass from QB Michael Wrigley to Potter preceded Potter’s second score, a four-yard run that made it 14-0 with 1:32 left in the second quarter.
Bridge returned the Ramblers’ next punt 46 yards to the Winthrop/Monmouth 26. After Wrigley kept the drive alive with an eight-yard completion to Fitzpatrick on 4th-and-4, Potter rumbled in from four yards out again. Wells missed the PAT but took the 20-0 lead into halftime.
A Wells fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half gave the Ramblers a brief opening before Fitzpatrick pounced on it.
Helped by a late hit out of bounds penalty by the Ramblers on the same play in which Wallace was injured, the Warriors went on a 11-play, 75-yard drive capped by Potter’s best run of the night. He barrelled through a half-dozen defenders, the last at the goal line while diving into the end zone on a 16-yard run. Wrigley successfully ran in the two-point conversion on a swinging gate play for a 28-0 lead.
Winthrop/Monmouth’s starting offense crossed midfield just twice, both in the first half. The first time came on the game’s opening series when sophomore QB Keegan Choate (2-for-12, 40 yards, two interceptions) found Dylan Boynton on the Ramblers’ biggest play of the night, a 30-yard screen pass on the game’s first play. The Ramblers got to the Warrior 39 before a fumble that Wells’ Morgan Welch-Thompson recovered.
Fitzpatrick (four yards), Devin Chace (six yards) and Matt Tufts (16 yards) added late touchdown runs for Wells.
Winthrop’s Kane Gould evades a tackle from Wells’ Tyler Bridge during Friday night’s football game in Winthrop.Beau Schmelzer from Winthrop gets tackled by Wells’ Josh Burgess as Dylan Boynton tries to head off Wells’ John Harris in Friday night’s football game in Winthrop.