WINTHROP — This was the rare sequel that lived up to the hype.

Foxcroft quarterback Wyatt Rayfield threw a touchdown pass to Caden Crocker in the first half of overtime, and the Ponies’ defense stuffed Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall Dale’s 2-point attempt at the goal line after the Ramblers responded with a TD to escape with a 28-27 season-opening win Friday night. The game, played in front of a few hundred Rambler rooters, was a rematch of last year’s Class D final, also won by Foxcroft.

It wasn’t the crispest of games — the teams combined for 12 penalties, seven by Foxcroft, and four turnovers, three by the Ramblers — but was thrilling nonetheless.

“It came down to who made less mistakes and who made the play at the end, when it was all said and done,” Ramblers coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “We had a game plan, we executed well offensively and defensively, but we’ve just got to clean up the mistakes, and we’ll do that. Week 1 or Week 2, you’re not as crisp as you are later on, but we had guys making plays.”

Foxcroft coach Danny White gave a similar review for his own team.

“We were sloppy in all phases, and that falls on us as coaches to clean up,” he said. “It was a little bit sloppy, but exciting nonetheless.”


With Foxcroft down 21-14 in the fourth, Rayfield (5-for-10, 70 yards, two TDs) found Jaydon Richard over the middle for a 49-yard TD strike with 7:30 left to make it 21-all following Kemsley Marsters’ extra point.

There the score stood until overtime, and Foxcroft took the ball at the Ramblers’ 10-yard line. Rayfield’s first-and-goal pass to Crocker was incomplete, but the officials flagged the Ramblers for pushing the receiver, and the Ponies gained 5 yards. Rayfield hit Crocker on the far left corner, and Marsters’ extra point made it 28-21.

“No safety over the top, we’re going to take that shot every time,”  White said.

The Ramblers, who had some pretty fair success in the air thanks to quarterback Owen Harding (8-for-15, 182 yards, two TDs, two interceptions), kept the ball on the ground in their half of OT. On first down, Harding handed the ball to Dominic Trott (nine carries, 78 yards, two TDs, one fumble), who barreled through the Foxcroft defense for the TD. St. Hilaire opted to go for two points and the win over the kick and the tie (kicker Isaac Oliveira was 1-for-2 on extra point tries). Again Trott went up the middle, but this time he was met by a wall of Ponies led by lineman DJ Scheel, and he went down just inches from the goal line.

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Brayden Stubbert caught a pass and heads upfield during a football game against Foxcroft on Friday in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“We were planing to go for two the whole time,” St. Hilaire said. “We like our two-point plays. The guys felt confident up front, so we ran it. I thought we had it in there, I don’t know how close it was, but I thought we were in.” He shrugged his shoulders. “It didn’t happen.”

Harding, making his first career start, threw a pair of amazing TD passes. After a bad snap caused a Foxcroft punt attempt to go awry with less than a minute left in the second quarter, the Ramblers took advantage and Harding hit Brayden Stubbert in double coverage down the left sideline for a 40-yard TD pass that gave them a 13-7 halftime lead following the missed extra point.


In the third quarter and the Ramblers trailing 14-13 after Marsters’ 52-yard TD run and extra point, Harding struck again. On third-and-16 from his own 13-yard line, he fired a long ball toward wideout Nick Keezer, who beat out Foxcroft defensive back Richard and galloped 87 yards toward the end zone and made it a 21-14 game following a Harding-to-Stubbert 2-point conversion.

Foxcroft defensive back Jadon Richard intercepts a pass intended for Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Brayden Stubbert in the end zone during a football game Friday in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

As the clock wound down, the defenses ensured the game would go to overtime. Foxcroft’s Silas Topolski picked off Harding at midfield, but any hope of a Ponies’ game-winning drive was thwarted when the Ramblers’ Avry Jones stripped the ball away from Marsters (89 yards on nine carries) with less than 2 minutes in regulation.

The Ramblers struck first on a 22-yard TD run up the middle by Trott — who also made several tackles at middle linebacker — with 3:24 left in the opening quarter and led 7-0 following Oliveira’s extra point. The Ponies knotted the score on Rayfield’s 2-yard keeper and Marsters’ extra point with 8:34 left in the first half.

The game didn’t turn out the way the Ramblers wanted, but hey — after every hit sequel, there’s usually another sequel right around the corner.

“I’m sure that we’ll see each other at some point,” St. Hilaire said.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.