WINSLOW — Winslow High School fullback Zach Guptill is listed on the team’s roster at 6-feet, 225 pounds. Tackling Guptill, particularly if he has a little momentum, is like stopping a boulder rolling down a mountain. You can do it, but it’s going to hurt.
On Saturday afternoon against Belfast, Guptill ran for 110 yards and three touchdowns. His two touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, including a 34-yard rumble, helped the Black Raiders pull away with a 28-12 win in Big Ten Conference season opener for both teams.
“I feel like we were in a lot better shape than (Belfast) was. We’ve been conditioning pretty hard this week, because we knew that was something we had to work on,” Guptill said.
Guptill’s long touchdown run came with 7 minutes, 48 seconds to play, and gave Winslow a two-score lead, 21-12. Guptill cut from the middle to his left, and once in the open field, ran untouched down the left sideline for the score.
“We had a nice pull. I saw my linemen. They were working hard, they had a nice wall for me to cut around, and I just had a wide open run to the end zone,” Guptill said.
After Kenny Ricard sacked Belfast quarterback Zach Collier on fourth down to give the Black Raiders the ball at the Lions’ 30, Guptill capped a five-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Dylan Hapworth’s extra point gave Winslow a 16-point lead with 3:04 to play.
“They’re pretty big. They wore us down early, and we’re not as deep as we will be,” Belfast head coach Chris Bartlett said.
The Lions opened the game with their best drive of the game, marching 73 yards in nine plays to score on Greg Clark’s 5-yard run for a 6-0 lead. Winslow’s defense was sucked to the middle by Collier’s excellent fakes, and that set up Belfast’s option game on the drive. A defensive adjustment by the Black Raiders slowed down the Lions the rest of the game.
“We figured out a better way to control the option. We just stacked the ends and it worked really well,” Guptill said.
Added Winslow head coach Mike Siviski: “We practice some of those things, obviously, but it’s the same old, same old. Our scout teams cannot simulate speed. We can be in the right spots, but it’s very hard to simulate the speed.”
A Belfast turnover on the Winslow 21 set up the Black Raiders’ first touchdown, a 5-yard Guptill run with 4:25 left in the first half.
“They got really, really aggressive, and our kids weren’t picking it up like we needed to. They were basically sending the house every play,” Bartlett said.
A 40-yard punt return by Hapworth set up Winslow second touchdown, a 1-yard keeper by quarterback Bobby Chenard with 5:19 left in the third quarter. The Lions answered on their next drive, scoring when Clark broke a 24-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion run failed, and Winslow led 14-12 late in the third quarter.
Hapworth ran for 78 yards for the Black Raiders. Clark led the Lions with 81 yards on 10 carries.
“It was a fairly conservative game on our end. We didn’t have field position to do a lot of things,” Siviski said.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242