LIVERMORE FALLS — Winthrop threw Spruce Mountain for a loop on the ground, in the air and on defense.

With quarterback Keegan Choate at the helm and his sidekick Ryan Baird at his side, the fifth-ranked Ramblers rolled to a 38-0 victory over No. 4 Spruce Mountain in a Class D South quarterfinal at cold Griffin Field on Friday night.

Winthrop goes on to face No. 1 Wells (9-0) next week.

“What worked for me is the team’s O-line,” Baird, who scored a pair of touchdowns on two receptions, said. “They had an amazing game. They blocked better than I have ever seen them block this season.

“I wasn’t surprised at all. We were ready. We wanted to beat them bad so we came out and beat them pretty bad.”

Right from the get-go, the Ramblers showed the Phoenix who was boss. And this game was nothing like the regular-season tilt when Spruce Mountain glided off with a 36-6 victory.

Winthrop scored on its first possession, passing and rushing from its own 29 all the way to the Spruce 1, where junior Jevin Smith spilled in with a touchdown. The conversion failed but the Ramblers were well on their way.

“We played two pretty good games against Lisbon and Madison, and we just made too many mistakes,” Winthrop coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “The kids are obviously getting it now.

“They know what kind of team we can be. Everything worked for us tonight. I can’t say enough about the defense. Everything clicked for us. The kids were hungry. They worked hard and the total focus was there for 48 minutes.”

After stifling the Phoenix, Winthrop got the ball back and scored again. From the 35-yard line, Choate sent the ball into the arms of senior Dylan Lajoie, who ended up at the 19-yard line to complete a 49-yard pass.

The Ramblers moved to 8, from where Ian Steele fought his way into the end zone to score a TD with 1:11 left in the first quarter. Choate sent over a conversion pass to Baird and the Ramblers had themselves a 14-0 lead.

The second quarter was like a rerun for Winthrop, which punched in three more touchdowns.

Choate connected with Baird on 8- and 10-yard TD throws. Choate also did the honors when he scored on a 1-yard keeper. Two conversions and a kick failed, but the Ramblers were leading 32-0 going into the second half.

Winthrop put another six points on the board in the third quarter when Smith scored his second touchdown on a 9-yard rush.

But the difference in offensive play was obvious. The Ramblers rushed the ball 35 times for 231 yards. Spruce rushed the ball 25 times for minus-9 yards. Choate completed six passes in seven attempts for 123 yards.

“They played very well,” Spruce Mountain coach David Frey said. “They came to play. We came out and weren’t ready to play and that’s what happened.

“I knew it would be a better game than the first time we met them. The fact is you have to come and play every Friday night and we didn’t. Some injuries hurt us.”

Brandon Frey suffered a neck injury in the second half and was removed by ambulance. He is expected to be fine, David Frey said.


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