While Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale head football coach Dave St. Hilaire didn’t notice any change in running back Logan Baird at the beginning of the season, the Ramblers senior felt differently. 

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Logan Baird is a key component of this year’s success for the Ramblers, and he is looking for a big game Friday night in the state championship game. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

But there was a change in the Ramblers’ fourth game. 

“At the beginning of the season, I was still in seven-on-seven mode,” Baird said. “I think during the Madison game, I started to step it up and started playing more aggressively and I think everyone else did, also. Madison was one of our most physical games and since then we have been as physical as can be.”

Physicality became a lead trait of Baird’s game at running back and at his new defensive position of cornerback, a move that came this year after St. Hilaire moved him from linebacker. 

St. Hilaire said that the senior grew up as a “finesse player,” but has started to get more and more aggressive this year in different aspects of the game. 

In the block game, Baird has taken up the challenge. 

“He, until this year, hasn’t been much of a blocker,” St. Hilaire said. “As a sophomore, he was a tailback and as a tailback two years ago you didn’t need to block but now he’s a physical blocker, he pancakes guys and he doesn’t miss too many. You watch him on film and you go, ‘Yup, Logan executed his block right there.’ Because of the offense this year, and the fullbacks running more, he has to block more and he’s definitely stepped up to that challenge.”

Even though Baird said his style of play changed during the Madison game, a game in which the senior ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns, sometimes Baird falls back into the lazy style of play. Baird’s running back coach, Mark Feith, keeps Baird’s physicality up, according to the running back. 

“He’s helped me come a long way this year,” Baird said. “Being more physical. If I start going back into that seven-on-seven mode, then he gets right on me and tells me to lower my shoulder and go drop a kid.”

Baird has rushed for 817 and 11 touchdowns, while also adding on 238 receiving yards and three scores. The No. 2 Ramblers will look to use Baird often on Friday in the Class D state final against No. 1 Foxcroft Academy (8-0).

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Logan Baird runs the ball up the field during a Nov. 6 quarterfinal game against Bucksport in Winthrop. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

With running backs Dom Trott and Robbie Feeney sharing carries with Baird, he’s had to learn the blocking game. However, the other offensive options that St. Hilaire and quarterback Andrew Foster can go to have helped Baird be at the top of his game. 

Baird, Trott and Feeney combined for 1,694 yards and 26 touchdowns rushing. 

“Having multiple threats is great because even being on the field it opens up more because we have pass threats, run threats and they have to be aware of everything,” Baird said. “If I have to come out, then I have subs that can come in for me and it’s great to have that.”

When it’s Baird’s turn to run, his vision in the backfield is one of his strengths. It’s something you can’t coach, according to St. Hilaire. 

“Just growing up, he was always the home-run hitter in his class getting touchdowns,” St. Hilaire said. “He always was the one getting long touchdowns, but he sees holes so well inside. Two years ago, all he ran basically was our power play, which is off-tackle. He never ran stretch or ran outside, it became pretty predictable when it comes to power football. This year, he’s become a better receiver, he’s fast, he’s strong, he can break tackles, but he sees holes and creases so well that he seldom makes the wrong cut. That’s stuff you can’t teach. He just has a knack and a feel for the game.”

Baird scored four touchdowns in the Class D quarterfinal against Bucksport, as part of a school playoff-record 253 yards. 

After the game, Baird complimented his line. 

Looking back on the season, Baird said Jacob Umberhind and the offensive line have been crucial to his and the team’s success. 

It all starts with the line,” Baird said. “They give the blocks every play and I have to just find the hole they’re giving me. Sometimes it’s not there but it’s still five yards of running right behind Jake and then finally getting taken down by three guys because Jake can’t take on four.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Baird has used his new physical style of play to help move to a new position. Baird has amassed 18 tackles, including a tackle for loss as well as a fumble recovery. 

It’s what has made him a complete player, according to St. Hilaire. 

“He’s always been a stronger offensive player than defensive, but earlier on in the season he became a better defensive player and that’s when he became more aggressive on defense and became a more complete player,” St. Hilaire said. “He is physical on receivers, he comes up and plays the run really well, and there have been some hits where he’s come up and hit the running back on the outside edge and you think it’s a linebacker but no, that’s Logan. He just enjoys the physical play. You never looked at him for the physicality, he was always a finesse player, but he’s really become a complete player.”

In the first game against Foxcroft Academy, the Ramblers fell to the Ponies 24-14, despite pulling within 17-14 with just-under six minutes remaining thanks to a Baird touchdown. 

As for the rematch with Foxcroft Academy on Friday night in the Class D state final, Baird doesn’t want to make the same mistakes twice.

“We needed to take it one step further than we took it,” Baird said. “We went into that game just expecting another game when in reality it was the real deal.”

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