WINTHROP — It wasn’t always pretty, but Winthrop/Monmouth displayed the kind of football that wins high school playoff games in Maine. Led by a stout defense and a sustained offensive attack, the Ramblers pulled away from Maranacook, 27-3, in a Class D South quarterfinal at Maxwell Field on Friday night.

The No. 4 Ramblers’ night could be summed up by each team’s first series of the game. Winthrop/Monmouth opened the game on offense, started with a long run by Nate Scott, but the drive fizzled quickly thanks to debilitating penalty.

When the fifth-seeded Black Bears took over after a punt they did what they would do all game — practically nothing.

Maranacook gained just two first downs in the game on offensive plays, and was awarded four more thanks to Rambler penalties. The Black Bears ran for 109 yards and didn’t complete a pass. Their longest run ended with a fumble in the red zone.

“Everybody just did their job, all the way around,” Ramblers junior Alec Brown said of the defense. “Coaches prepared us for this week. It was just fun, we played with passion, everybody did their job.”

“We’re on a bear defense against their double-wing,” Ramblers head coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “We worked all week on it. They came out and they executed it just like we drew it up.”

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Winthrop/Monmouth didn’t pass much, but when it did, junior quarterback Matt Ingram was on point, especially when he targeted classmate Bennett Brooks. The two hooked up on a pair of fourth-down touchdown passes – one a 29-yarder to put the Ramblers up 7-0, and another from 21 yards out to make it 14-3 early in the third quarter.

“There’s two or three really good receiver-quarterback combos, and they’re right there with the other two in this league,” St. Hilaire said of Ingram and Brooks. “They can make any throw, run any route, and they’ve got a really good chemistry.”

The Black Bears’ only points came on a Ty Smith 30-yard field goal late in the second quarter. That drive started at the Winthrop/Monmouth 20, but the Rambler defense stopped Maranacook at the 7 with a rush for no gain and two incomplete passes. Maranacook quarterback Kyle Morand was 0-for-10 passing in the game.

“We were doing man, so everybody had to pick up their own man, everybody was doing their own assignment,” Brown said of the pass defense. “Up front we were getting a good pass rush.”

Morand had some success running the ball early, but ended the game with just 48 yards on 11 carries.

The Ramblers running game woke up in the second half, led by Scott and Brown. Brown made it 21-3 with an 8-yard scoring scamper with just under five minutes to go in the third quarter, and Scott capped off his 158-yard day with a 6-yard score early in the fourth quarter.

“We just wanted to stay with it. Try to wear them down,” St. Hilaire said of the running game. “We finished our blocks, we hit the holes, and we did what we needed to do offensively.”

The Ramblers now advance to the semifinals, where they will face the winner of No. 1 Oak Hill and No. 8 Traip Academy. If the Ramblers face the defending state champion Raiders, who won the regular-season meeting 28-19 in Wales, St. Hilaire said of his team: “We like our chances.”

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