Dave St. Hilaire didn’t call it a moral victory. The Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale football coach didn’t go that far.

But St. Hilaire knew there were good signs in the Ramblers’ 36-18 loss to Wells Friday night.

“There are no moral victories,” he said, “but we were happy with the effort and, for the most part, the execution. It definitely set the tone for the rest of this season for us.”

Start with the score. The defending champion Warriors have been a juggernaut since moving down to Class D last season, they thumped Class C contender Cape Elizabeth 40-14 the week before, and all signs indicated a rough game Friday for the visiting Ramblers. But Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale didn’t buckle, taking leads of 6-0 and 12-7 and hanging with the Wells powerhouse.

If the Ramblers were supposed to be just another speed bump for the Warriors, they didn’t get the message.

“We were confident. We stressed all week, we were going down to win a football game,” St. Hilaire said. “We weren’t intimidated whatsoever. … We prepped the kids for it, but we stressed we will not be intimidated and we cannot play that way at all.”

There was a sharp focus throughout the game, and it started before the opening kickoff. The Ramblers normally gather in the end zone to be introduced, but on Friday, they were on the sideline in the moments leading up to the start of the game.

To St. Hilaire, it was a message.

“It was like ‘We’re ready to go, let’s go,’ ” he said. “It was good to see that they were ready.”

The upset bid lasted deep into the second half. Trailing 30-18, the Ramblers worked their way deep into Wells territory, and quarterback Keegan Choate just missed connecting on a touchdown pass that would have made it a one-score game with five minutes left.

Instead, the Ramblers were kept off the board, and Wells scored again to ice it.

“We were right there, there were just some things we could have done differently,” St. Hilaire said.

The Ramblers needed to do more to beat Wells, but they did enough to prove they can be a Class D competitor going forward. Choate ran for 94 yards and threw for 190 more, and Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale churned out 335 yards against the best defense in Class D.

It wasn’t a win. But St. Hilaire saw more than a team lose a game.

“I saw a lot of good things Friday night,” he said. “We can move the ball against, obviously, some good defenses.”

• • •

Sean Michaud’s signature play this year as the Gardiner quarterback may have also been his last.

Michaud missed Friday’s loss to York with a right wrist injury that in all likelihood will keep him from playing quarterback again this season. Coach Joe White said that while the extent of the injury is unclear, Michaud will miss Friday’s game against Lake Region and is getting a second opinion this week after seeing a specialist last week, with the hopes that he’ll be able to return to safety later this season.

“It hurts, us not having Sean on both sides of the ball,” White said. “Sean is a leader and a playmaker. Other people just have to step up, that’s how it goes. We have to plan to go without Sean for a little bit.”

Even murkier than the injury’s timeline or severity is how it came about. Michaud played through the final snap in last Friday’s win over Winslow, completing a 32-yard pass on his second-to-last offensive play and then rushing for an 8-yard touchdown, then participated in Saturday morning practice before telling coaches Monday that he wasn’t able to throw a ball.

“He didn’t bring this up until Monday,” White said. “We got repping through some stuff, and all of a sudden he’s like ‘My wrist hurts, I’m having trouble throwing the ball.’ And I’m like ‘Did you do this in the game, dude?’ He’s like ‘I don’t know. I don’t remember.’ ”

According to White, the first specialist suggested surgery, and Michaud is looking for another option.

“I’ve heard broken wrist, I’ve heard there’s some bone in there that could be surgically removed,” White said. “And then I’ve got other people saying he could wrap it up and play defense.”

• • •

With Michaud out, the Gardiner quarterback job falls to Noah Reed. One game in, White is encouraged by that prospect.

Reed impressed in the Tigers’ otherwise lackluster 34-13 loss to York Friday night. The sophomore threw for over 150 yards and two touchdowns in the win, with his first score being a 92-yard hookup with Matt Boynton.

Given Reed’s strong arm and fundamentals, White likes the offense’s chance of clicking with its new signal caller.

“He really stepped up and stepped in,” he said. “Noah looked really good in the preseason. … He came in Friday night and looked like he’d been playing there all season.”

• • •

Cony unleashed a secret weapon of sorts in its 14-13 loss to Skowhegan. Receiver Dustin Dyer, a standout on the track team, caught three passes for 123 yards, the first a 60-yard deep pass down the left sideline in the second quarter, the second an in-cut for 9 yards and the third a 54-yard go route late in the third that would have gone for a touchdown if not for a saving tackle by Colby Miller at the 13-yard line.

“He did outstanding,” coach B.L. Lippert said. “He’s going to have to play some big minutes for us, and he’s very capable. He’s a great athlete, and we’re going to have to rely on him.”

Dyer stepped up after receiver Chris Sponsler was hurt on the Rams’ opening possession, but the Rams also dodged an injury bullet when standout linebacker Matt Wozniak was helped off the field on Cony’s first offensive series of the fourth quarter, but returned to the field by the start of the next series.

“He was limping around a bit, but he’s a tough kid,” Lippert said. “He’s integral to what we do on both sides of the ball, he’s a great player. One of our very best players.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM


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