WINTHROP — The Winthrop football team opened its season with a 46-6 thrashing of undermanned Sacopee Valley in a game the starters played about a half.

Chances are they’ll be needed for a full four quarters tonight, when Traip rumbles up from Kittery.

The Ramblers and Rangers will kick off at 7 p.m. at Maxwell Field.

Elsewhere this weekend, Cony (0-1) hosts Edward Little (0-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday while Gardiner (1-0) welcomes Morse (1-0) at 7 tonight. Maranacook (1-0) will play Lisbon (0-1) at Thompson Field at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Oak Hill travels to take on Telstar on Saturday.

Winthrop, which finished 3-5 last season and was shut out of the postseason, can re-establish itself in the Western C Campbell Conference with a win tonight.

Traip (1-0) reached the conference championship game last year.

“If we win this, it will show that we are more of a contender for the playoffs and that we are a threat in the conference,” Winthrop senior captain running back Dan Moody said. “People will stop overlooking us if we can get this game.”

True, but it won’t be easy.

The Rangers, who went 8-3 last season, return nine seniors and 18 starters on both sides of the ball.

Neither team was tested in their respective openers — Traip toppled Telstar 45-0.

Both expect that to change tonight.

“They are quick, fast, well-coached and right now, probably the best team in our half of the division,” Traip coach Ron Ross said. “We have some quickness, but they have more of it. It’s going to be a tough challenge.”

Added Winthrop coach Joel Stoneton: “They will be one of toughest teams we’ll face this year. Their numbers are low, but that doesn’t matter. Honestly, going into a game like this, the pressure is on them.”

Traip is big up front. It returns everybody on the offensive and defensive lines, including Ben Castellano, Danny Eddy and Joe Harty.

“They are huge up front,” Stoneton said. “Offensively, they pound it at you. There’s not much you can do to stop them. It makes game-planning more interesting. It pushes us in a direction to use more options. Usually we’ll try to establish the run to set up the outside pass. I don’t now if that will be possible. It’s pushing us out of our comfort zone.”

The considerable size advantage up front may force the Ramblers to alter their approach.

Quarterback Jared Hanson has plenty of options to throw the ball to, including Drew Stratton.

“We have a good offensive game plan,” Moody said. “They are bigger than us, but I think we are faster. Our outside game will be important.”

The Rangers will look for running backs Cory Aldecoa and Devon Draker to shoulder much of the load offensively.

Aldecoa rushed for 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns last season and scored three touchdowns last week. Draker, meanwhile, rushed for 89 yards and a pair of scores.

“Both teams are coming off wins and both are looking to keep it going,” Draker said. “We’re going to keep grinding until the wheels fall off.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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