BRUNSWICK — As good as things went for the Lisbon High School football team in the opening half, things took a turn to the dark side in the second.

Against rival Winthrop/Monmouth in the Saturday heat and humidity, the Ramblers picked themselves off the dirt and battled back to close to within four points with 6:22 remaining in the fourth quarter after a gutsy 96-yard, seven-play drive. The Ramblers had all the momentum.

But the Greyhounds, in their heat-encasing black home uniforms, showed their toughness, converting three key first downs before giving the Ramblers a sliver of a chance and holding on for a season-opening 28-24 Western D victory.

“Both teams show up to play football when they play each other, and it was a game of halves,” said Lisbon coach Dick Mynahan, whose Greyhounds face Sacopee Valley on Saturday at Lewiston High School while work is completed on the school’s new track surface. “We are low on numbers, and our gameplan was to win the first half and hold on in the second half. On a hot day like today, we knew that we had to hold on.”

The first half was all Lisbon, which outgained Winthrop/Monmouth 275-76 and led 28-6 behind the running of Shawn Grover (50 yards, TD) and Noah Francis (48 yards, TD), along with the pinpoint passing of quarterback Kyle Bourget, who was 5-for-8 for 125 yards and a touchdown in the opening half.

“That was a great half. We came out fired up, running the ball well, throwing the ball well,” Bourget said. “There were just great blocks and I had a lot of time to throw the ball.”


At the half, first-year Winthrop/Monmouth coach Dave St. Hilaire worked hard to settle his team. The talk worked as the Ramblers took over on the first drive of the second half, going 58 yards on eight plays with sophomore quarterback Matt Ingram hooking up with Bennett Brooks for a 6-yard TD strike to close Lisbon’s lead to 28-16.

“It took the halftime before we could settle them down, and Lisbon is tough, plays hard-nosed football, and just came in ready to play in the first half,” St. Hilaire said. “The second half is something to build on, but we came in believing we could win this game. We attacked them defensively, and our quarterback did well to make the throws in the second half. We had them on the run for a bit.”

The Lisbon offense, which had run free in the first half, was bogged down by the pressure of the Winthrop/Monmouth defense, led by Josh Ward (nine tackles, forced fumble), Ryan Hafford (seven tackles) and Dakota Carter (seven tackles).

“We did a lot more blitzing and bringing pressure from the outside linebackers,” said Carter, who chipped in four receptions for 51 yards in the second half. “We had more energy in the second half, and we were able to push back. We improved a ton in the second half. There is nothing like big-game experience against a talented team like Lisbon.”

“We came in at halftime and we were just flat,” said Bourget, who finished 7-of-11 in the air for 142 yards, one TD and two interceptions. “They were pumped up. Once they scored, we picked it up and stopped them. As the game went on, we just wanted it more.”

Another fumble


The Greyhounds seemed to get things back together in the fourth quarter. Beginning a drive late in the third, Lisbon pushed the Ramblers back, moving the ball to the W-11. But, another turnover, Lisbon’s fourth of the game, gave Winthrop/Monmouth new life. Behind the passing of Ingram, the Ramblers quickly drove down the field, with Zack Phinney (nine rushes, 78 yards, two TDs) sweeping right into the end zone. Andrew Pazdziorko followed suit, running the 2-point conversion around the right side of the Lisbon defense to get his team to 28-24.

Mynahan gathered his team, ordering his seniors to step up and lead. But, it was sophomore Tyler Halls (two receptions, 71 yards, TD) who made the big play, faking a punt, a.k.a. Quincy Thompson-like, and moving the pile four yards for a big first down. The drive stalled, but not before the Greyhounds had run over five minutes off of the clock.

Winthrop/Monmouth took over at its own 20-yard line with 1:21 remaining, but two big tackles by Joe Philbrick (eight tackles) put the game away.

“That last drive was key for us. It was a character drive, man on man,” Mynahan said. “We will continue to do what we are doing, and just keep on working hard. Some of those kids maybe shouldn’t have been in the game and on the sideline getting a break in the heat, but they stayed out there and battled. I am proud of them.”

Francis and Grover led Lisbon on the ground with 75 and 67 yards, respectively. Bourget chipped in 49 yards on eight carries, including a touchdown, while Philbrick bulled his way to 31 yards on six rushes. Francis also had three receptions for 28 yards. Defensively, Andrew Golino, Darren Ward and Sean Ball had five tackles each, with Halls coming up with seven tackles and a key interception.

Mario Meucci hauled in two Ingram passes for 52 yards, while Dustin Tripp rushed for 50 yards.

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