WINTHROP — It doesn’t always work out so cleanly, but for Winthrop-Monmouth football on Friday night, a new defensive scheme led to victory and maybe a new attitude as well.

The Ramblers allowed 100 total yards — 55 of those on the last drive — and cruised to a 33-0 victory for their first win of the season.

“During the past week, we switched up our defense a lot and also acquired a new defensive scheme,” said senior Dakota Carter, who had two interceptions for the Ramblers and scored a pair of touchdowns on offense. “It’s a really big deal to get our feet back under us, so hopefully we can take this momentum and carry it on to the next game.”

It helped that Telstar also came in winless this season, but a bigger factor was Winthrop’s offensive execution. The Ramblers scored four touchdowns in the first 18 minutes.

“Our execution was so much better tonight,” said Winthrop-Monmouth coach Dave St. Hilaire. “The execution was crisp. We had the guys in the right spot. The guards were pulling at the right angles. Guys were running at the holes. Just like it’s drawn up.”

Nick Schlosser and Nate Scott each had interceptions for the Ramblers. Combined with three first-quarter picks and Zack Phinney’s punt returns (three for an average of 31.3 yards), Winthrop was almost always in good field position in the first half.

Schlosser’s interception set up the game’s first points. Telstar tried a third-down screen pass over the middle that Schlosser tipped to himself before returning it five yards to the Telstar 41-yard line. Six plays later, Alec Brown (nine carries, 55 yards) scored from a yard out.

“He was pretty pumped,” St. Hilaire said of Schlosser. “His first interception ever, (and he’s been playing) since third grade. This is the first game we’ve had this year where we didn’t give up a touchdown on the first offensive series.”

Carter set up Winthrop-Monmouth’s second touchdown with a 21-yard interception return. Phinney then raced around right end behind perfect blocking and scored on a 21-yard run.

The Ramblers’ next scoring drive was also a short one, as Phinney returned a punt 35 yards, then Matt Ingram hit Bennett Brooks with a 23-yard touchdown pass. On the conversion, the snap was dropped, so kicker Mario Meucci picked the ball off the ground and beat everyone to the right corner for two points.

Phinney set up another score with a 21-yard punt return, and this time Carter took it in from the Telstar 29. The Ramblers led 27-0 at the half and had held Telstar to 36 total yards.

The Ramblers scored on their first possession of the fourth quarter, going 49 yards on nine plays before Carter scored on third and goal from the 5. Winthrop freshman Cameron Gaghan helped the subs preserve the shutout in the fourth quarter, when he tripped up Telstar’s Mike Dougherty after a 32-yard reception.

“Tonight, we finally puts things together and got rolling,” St. Hilaire said.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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