Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Logan Baird battles Freeport tackler Danny Casale during football action Monday in Winthrop. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Weeks remain before it’s determined who will meet in the Class D championship game. But there’s a chance the Maine football scene could be getting a preview Friday night.

When 6-0 Foxcroft Academy visits 5-0 Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale, it will be a matchup of the two teams that, thus far, have clearly been the best in the class. The Ponies are fast, quick and explosive, and the Ramblers are big, strong and balanced.

Class D football fans will be excited to follow it. Almost as excited as the teams will be to play it.

“To this point, they have proven that they are the best team in the league,” Foxcroft coach Danny White said. “You want that level of competition. You want to really find out ‘Are we as good as we think we are?’ You want that challenge for your football team. … It’s an opportunity to play a really good football team in a tough environment and to find out what we’re made of.”

Ramblers coach Dave St. Hilaire said his team, which is coming off of an impressive 40-14 win over Freeport, is eager for the matchup as well.

“We couldn’t help but kind of see that coming,” he said. “We love matchups like this. The more competition, the more our kids rise to that. I know they’re excited, they’ll play on any day of the week, any place. They’ll be ready to go.”


It’s a matchup of different identities — Foxcroft loves to throw, whereas the Ramblers lean on the ground game — but neither team is one-dimensional. Jesse Drury carried 11 times for 229 yards and three scores last week for the Ponies, while W/M/H-D used big plays through the air to separate from the Falcons.

It’s a quick turnaround for the Ramblers, who played Freeport on Monday, but St. Hilaire said he’s not concerned about that throwing off his team.

“The kids love that,” he said. “It’s like ‘Here we go, another competitive game, and we don’t have to wait long. We only have to practice a couple of times, and we’re ready to roll.'”

Here’s a closer look at the Foxcroft-Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale matchup:

When: 6 p.m., Friday

Where: Maxwell Field, Winthrop


Foxcroft coach Danny White on W/M/H-D: “The most glaring thing that they represent for a challenge is their size and their strength. They’re big and strong, and we know that they are. … They’re very competitive at the line of scrimmage. Most often, they’re winning the line of scrimmage, so they’re allowing their backs to get going with good momentum across the line of scrimmage.”

W/M/H-D coach Dave St. Hilaire on Foxcroft: “They’re very fast. They have a ton of depth. You look at guys running out for passes or in the back end defending passes and making tackles, and it’s a different number every time. (You think) ‘How many guys do they have that are good athletes that can play?’ They’ve got a slew of them. Their receivers are very good, especially the guys in the slot.”

Freeport’s Tony Casale battles Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale tacklers during football action Monday in Winthrop. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Three keys for Foxcroft:

Watch for play-action. The Ramblers have struggled with play-action passes at points this season, but they executed one perfectly on a 72-yard connection to Evan Jones against Freeport. They run the ball effectively, so it would make sense for Foxcroft to try to commit more defenders to stopping the ground game, but they can’t be caught flat-footed if the Ramblers try to go over the top.

Air it out. Foxcroft quarterback Austin Seavey has thrown for over 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, and while the Ramblers held Freeport to only 1.5 yards per carry on the ground, they gave up 140 yards through the air. With only three days of practice in between, there should still be plenty of opportunities for the Ponies to make plays with the passing game.

Win special teams. The Ramblers’ first score last week was set up by a 33-yard punt return by Nick Keezer, and the third came after a 1o-yard punt gave them the ball at the Freeport 31-yard line. Foxcroft can’t hand the Ramblers points, and being clean on special teams is a good way to prevent that.


Three keys for W/M/H-D:

Win the line of scrimmage. The Ramblers are the bigger team, and their offense is predicated on getting the ground game going with downhill runner Dom Trott and lateral threat Logan Baird. That means winning battles on the line and getting push up front. Foxcroft is the faster team; if it is allowed to be the more physical one, the Ramblers are in trouble.

No big plays. The Ramblers allowed 10 completions in their last game, but only two went for more than 25 yards. Freeport scored after each one; when held to shorter gains and forced to drive, the Falcons lost the battle. The Ramblers probably can’t shut down Seavey and his weapons, but if they can hold them to modest gains, they should be able to make some key stops.

“We need to make them earn it,” St. Hilaire said.

Don’t help them out. Foxcroft is averaging over 41 points per game, so the last thing W/M/H-D needs to do is make things easier for the Ponies. Turnovers and penalties would provide them with the extra chances on offense that could tilt a game that on paper feels very close. A sneaky area to be careful is with pass defense; the Ramblers need to make sure they’re not grabbing in their effort to prevent the Pony receivers from running free.

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