WINTHROP — A second-half show from Dominic Trott that featured three of his four touchdowns helped Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale secure a 41-20 win Friday in a Class D football contest.

Trott said the Ramblers entered the season opener looking to prove a point.

“Everyone was coming in telling us, they’re bigger than us, better than us, stronger than us, faster than us, but all we had to do was prove them wrong, and we knew we could do that,” Trott said. “We hit harder and we knew we could play ball with them.”

Winthrop scored on its first drive of the game, which featured eight runs for 31 yards and was capped off by an Andrew Foster quarterback sneak on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line that gave the Ramblers  6-0 lead with 7:08 left in the first quarter. The drive was aided by a 20-yard pass from Foster to Logan Baird.

The quarterback dive wasn’t the initial plan, but the senior quarterback, in his first varsity start, made the play.

“That actually wasn’t the call,” Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale head coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “He actually looked and saw that it was open, and he just audibled and went.”

The Ramblers’ defense recovered four fumbles in the game.

The first came four plays into Bucksport’s first drive, when Josh Miller lost the ball and it was recovered by Winthrop’s Kolby Reynolds. The Ramblers ended up punting but forced another fumble on Bucksport’s first play of the next drive.

That set up the Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale offense at Bucksport’s 19-yard line. After two runs, Foster found Baird over the middle for a 14-yard touchdown pass, and a successful extra point from Owen Harding made the lead 13-0 with 1:59 left in the first quarter.

St. Hilaire said he liked what he saw from Foster, who was starting his first game at quarterback after earning the job during the preseason.

“I asked him before the game, we had a little huddle up in the gym, and I asked him, ‘Foster, you got butterflies?’” St. Hilaire said. “He said, ‘Yeah, I do, coach.’ I said, ‘Who doesn’t?’ And we ran out. I thought he was poised, he made a couple calls and said, ‘Hey, this will work.’ So we let him make a couple of those calls.”

The Ramblers’ defense ran into some trouble during Bucksport’s next drive, when a potential holding call on the Golden Bucks was declined even though Winthrop coaches were shouting for the penalty to be accepted. On the ensuing third-down play, Bucksport snapped the ball high and lost 22 yards and had to punt.

“They’re big, they’re good, they’re well-coached and we made too many mistakes,” Bucksport coach Joel Sankey said. “We turned the ball over in crucial situations. We had injuries and kids that cramped up, and we just aren’t that deep.”

The Golden Bucks quickly made up most of the 13-point deficit.

Foster fumbled after a bad snap on the first play of Winthrop’s next drive, giving possession to Bucksport on Winthrop’s 19-yard line. After a few plays, Jaxon Gross found Tyler Hallett for a 16-yard touchdown pass to cut Winthrop’s lead to 13-6.

On Bucksport’s next possession, Ayden Maguire found Hallett down the left side for a 79-yard touchdown that brought the Golden Bucks within a point at 13-12.

Winthrop quickly answered with a 34-yard kick return by Nick Keezer, and a few plays later Trott found the end zone on a 38-yard run that gave the Ramblers a 20-12 advantage right before the half.

“We just want to come out in our first game and prove what we can do,” Baird said. “We were told they were bigger and badder than us, so we proved them wrong.”

Bucksport started the second half with possession but almost immediately gave it back to the Ramblers on a high snap that was recovered by Winthrop, the Bucks’ third fumble of the game.

On the first play of Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s first drive of the second half, Baird had a long touchdown run called back due to a holding penalty.

The Ramblers, though, moved the ball up the field and Dominic Trott scored on a 6-yard run about halfway through the third quarter to put Winthrop up 27-12.

Hallett then caught his third touchdown of the night for Bucksport, this one a 30-yarder, to cut the deficit to 27-20 late in the third.

“He’s a good player,” Sankey said. “He’s got great hands and he’s a force. He’s good.”

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale ran, ran and ran some more up the field and ended the drive with another Trott touchdown run, from 10 yards out this time, that gave the Ramblers a 34-20 lead with 11:11 left in the game.

“The minute we hit the field, we knew we had this and had the mentality over them,” Trott said. “We are going to have this every week. If we come into every week like this, I think we can do this.”

Bucksport fumbled for the fourth time, giving the ball back to Winthrop with about nine minutes remaining.

The Ramblers’ offense ran nine times on the next drive, which ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Trott that made the score 41-20 with 3:10 remaining in the game.

Winthrop rushed for 249 yards. Trott ran for 151 and Baird added 64. St. Hilaire said the success of the running attack started with the Ramblers’ offensive line.

“I just can’t say enough about that offensive line,” St. Hilaire said. “Those guys, we were worried about how some of them would play because there were only one or two of them that had extensive varsity experience. They were physical, and a couple of them were calling out, ‘Hey, block it my way,’ and that’s something we haven’t heard from a couple of those guys, so it was great they responded, and we are off to a good start. A week ago we didn’t look good.”

The Ramblers also gained 100 yards through the air.

The Golden Bucks passed for 231 yards but Winthrop’s defense held them to 54 yards rushing.

“We are still trying to find our identity, but the biggest thing we found is we’ve got some tough kids,” St. Hilaire said. “I know they were cramping up, we were cramping up, but some of the guys, you never know, it might be the last game they have. Suck it up, and if you can go, you go.”

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