WINTHROP — To say Dominic Wilson had a hand in MCI’s explosive second half and 38-19 win over Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale would only be half correct.

Wilson, a senior wide receiver, made a pair of one-handed touchdown catches, one with his left hand and one with his right, as MCI used big plays in the passing and running game to rally from a 13-6 halftime deficit at Maxwell Field.

“I was just trusting my quarterback to make a good throw, and make big plays when we need to,” said Wilson, who also had the game-clinching interception late in the fourth quarter.

After completing only three of 14 pass attempts in the first half, junior quarterback Ryan Friend completed five of seven passes for 165 yards and the two touchdowns to Wilson. He also ran for a 63-yard touchdown in the second half.

“It was the offensive line stepping up and giving me time to throw the ball, letting me make my reads and get through everything,” Friend said. “On our run plays, they really got a push off the ball. They lead us.”

The Huskies’ defense stepped up its game in the second half as well. After allowing a pair of touchdown passes and 158 yards passing by the Ramblers’ Keegan Choate in the first half, they limited the junior quarterback to 3-for-11 for 10 yards and an interception in the second half while allowing only 70 total yards in the second half.

“We made some adjustments defensively,” MCI coach Tom Bertrand said. “They were attacking some vulnerabilities we had out there, so we made sure that we had their skill guys covered that were making plays for them.”

Led by Xavier Moss, R.J. Chadwick, Isaac Bussell and Harrison Sites up front, MCI’s defense usually gave Choate little time to throw and little room to move (13 carries, 50 yards). And they frequently punished Choate when they had the chance.

“We changed up the blocking in the second half, which helped out. He had already taken some hits in that first half,” Ramblers coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “He was pretty sore, but he’s a tough kid who keeps coming back. But not having that time to step up, his throws weren’t as accurate.”

Choate finished 12-for-28 for 168 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Choate connected with Gavin Perkins for 25 yards for the game’s first score a little less than eight minutes into the game.

MCI answered with a 12-yard TD run by Cole Steeves (18 carries, 62 yards) on the first play of the second quarter but missed the extra point to trail 7-6.

“Offensively, we knew we could run some certain stuff. We just weren’t executing,” Bertrand said. “They were beating us up front. They had a good scheme. We were able to neutralize that a little bit and Ryan found his groove a little bit.”

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale made it 13-6 on Choate’s 5-yard touchdown pass in the left flat to Ryan Baird with 5:49 left in the half. MCI blocked the extra point.

A fumble recovery by Bryce Bussell at the Rambler 33 set up the Huskies’ first touchdown of the second half, a 1-yard run by Elijah Bagley that pulled them within 13-12 five minutes into the half.

Friend’s touchdown run down the right sideline gave MCI its first lead, 18-13, with 4:29 left in the third.

After the Huskies stopped Logan Baird short of the first down on fourth-and-2, Friend found Wilson over the middle on a post pattern. Wilson initially bobbled the ball, then reached out and grabbed it with his left hand and never broke stride en route to a 31-yard touchdown that made it 25-13 with 1:21 left in the third.

Baird’s 2-yard touchdown run pulled the Ramblers back within a score with 8:56 left, but Friend and Wilson connected again, this time with Wilson reaching out to make a clean grab with his right hand along the right sideline for a 31-yard touchdown to extend MCI’s lead to 32-19 with 5:18 remaining.

“It was a little bit lucky,” Wilson said. “He had good placement (on the throw).”

“I just know I can trust him,” Friend said. “If I throw it up there, he can go up and get it for me.”

 

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