WINTHROP — The difference between a good team and one that’s struggling is often how each deals with adversity.

Thursday night, the Old Orchard Beach football team overcame a sluggish start to roll into the playoffs with a 31-6 defeat of Winthrop in a Class C Campbell Conference football game.

After the Seagulls (6-2) were stymied by an inspired Rambler defensive unit on their first two series of the game, they got themselves rolling late in the first quarter by putting together an 80-yard scoring march.

A great grab near the sideline by halfback Bryan Roberts on third down gave the visitors the ball on their own 35. Southpaw quarterback Matt Parks hit tight end Quincy Grace over the middle on a quick-hitting pop pass to midfield to move the chains again before junior running back Joe Gildard (18 carries for 112 yards) darted over the right side on a 24-yard reverse.

Three plays later, fullback Nick Carlin went over for the first of his 1-yard touchdown runs which gave the Seagulls a 7-0 lead. Carlin later tacked on his other score and Jim Strohm booted a 26-yard field goal to take a 17-0 halftime lead.

They came out emotionally all fired up,” said OOB coach Dean Plante. “We had to stem the tide a bit early. Composure was big for us.”

While the visitors kept their cool, the Ramblers (2-6) struggled, staying discipline as they were flagged for 12 penalties with more than a few being the dead-ball variety. They also turned the ball over five times including three via the way of interceptions.

I thought we played well in the first half,” said Winthrop coach Joel Stoneton. “But you can’t spot a team like that 17 points with the turnovers we had.”

Winthrop had some success in getting one-on-one matchups with the OOB secondary in the first half, but that was short lived. As the second half began, Winthrop quarterback Jared Hanson found himself chased from the pocket and not having sufficient time to look down field. Hanson’s second pass of the third quarter was intercepted by Gildard who returned it 16 yards to put the Seagulls up 24-0.

As Hanson scrambled to his left, he attempted to hit one of his receivers only to have Gildard jump the route and returned the ball untouched to the end zone.

I saw (the receiver) and I saw the quarterback as he threw it,” said Gildard. “I read the throw and then I saw light.”

The Seagulls put the game away midway through the second half with a 6-play, 40-yard drive. Carlin took a toss over the left end for 13-yard gain and a dead-ball foul by the defense tacked on further yardage. Two plays later it was Gildard skirting over the right side on a 10-yard burst to the Rambler 11.

Roberts raced his way up the gut for a 7-yard score to open the fourth quarter as the Seagulls took a commanding 31-0 advantage.

The Ramblers finally found their way on the scoreboard after the ensuing drive covered 82 yards in 13 plays. A pair of 10-yard runs by senior Danny Moody (62 yards rushing) helped move the ball to the Seagulls 1. From there, it was Moody burying his way across the goal line.

For Winthrop, the loss finished a frustrating year in which Stoneton’s team found itself on the wrong end of a few one-sided games.

The kids played hard,” said Stoneton. “With guys out, some of them had to be flexible and play three or four positions, but they played hard in each position.”

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