Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Dominic Trott runs the ball against Freeport during a football game Friday in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

WINTHROP — It was billed as a highly competitive matchup between two of Class D’s elites. It lived up to that billing — on the rare occasion there wasn’t yellow laundry on the field.

Freeport defeated Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale 28-21 in a penalty-filled showdown Friday night at Maxwell Field. The two teams combined for 20 penalties, 10 on each team, as the Falcons ran out the clock on the Ramblers to earn a crucial win.

“It was interesting; you look up every play, and you see a flag on the field,” said Freeport senior wide receiver Maximillian Peters. “We just had to roll with it. You can’t control what flags are called, so you just have to keep your heads down, move on and keep playing football.”

After penalties stalled Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s opening drive, Freeport (4-2) took a 7-0 lead on a 39-yard pass from Aidan Heath to Peters midway through the opening quarter. The Ramblers would respond, though, going 80 yards in nine plays and scoring on a 17-yard pass from Owen Harding to Dom Trott to make it 7-6.

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale (3-2) then took the ball into the red zone twice but turned the ball over on downs both times. Freeport made the Ramblers pay with two touchdowns, first on a 71-yard run by Adam Michaud immediately following the second red-zone failure, and again on a 43-yard pass from Heath to Peters with 26 seconds left in the half.

“Those (touchdown passes from Heath to Peters) were two huge plays by two senior captains,” said Freeport head coach Paul St. Pierre. “Aidan and Max have been playing together for a long time, and they needed to step up; I told all our seniors they needed to step up, and they went out there and executed.”


Freeport safety David Ulrickson, bottom, tackles Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Robby Feeney during a football game Friday in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Freeport scored on the opening possession of the second half as Noah Michaud ran 20 yards for a score to put the Falcons up 28-6. But Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale would answer back  with a 40-yard touchdown run from Trott with 8:35 left in the fourth quarter.

Then, the flags truly started raining down on Maxwell Field.

Despite starting with the ball on the Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale 39 after a big runback by Peters, Freeport’s offense was barely able to gain ground as it was flagged four times on six plays. Getting the ball back at their own 25, the Ramblers were called for two key holds that halted the drive after a long Trott run took the ball into Freeport territory.

“We had some holdings in the first half and again there in the second, and that really hurt us,” said Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale head coach Dave St. Hilaire. “We’ve got to get out of our stances quick; we can’t be reaching and grabbing. It’s stuff we’ve got to clean up because we can’t have first-and-35 like we had a couple times.”

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale would add a third touchdown late after a big run from Harding and a personal foul on Freeport set up an 11-yard pass from Harding to Nick Keezer with 47 seconds left. However, the Falcons escaped with the victory after they recovered the onside kick. 

Adam Michaud ran the ball six times for 107 yards in the win, and Jordan Knighton rushed for 105 yards on 20 carries. Heath completed 4 of 7 passes for 93 yards, two touchdowns and an interception with all four completions going to Peters. The Falcons had four sacks on defense.


Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale defensive back Brayden Stubbert chases Freeport receiver Maximillian Peters as he catches a long pass for a touchdown during a football game Friday in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Peters, as the stats would show, emerged as Heath’s top option in the receiving game with fellow star wideout Nick White sidelined with an injury. Freeport had a number of starters out with linebackers Drew O’Hara and Cooper DeLois also sidelined, but it was hungry to rebound after a tough 28-7 loss to Fryeburg Academy last weekend.

“I’m not going to lie: I was a little nervous with how banged-up we were and with how we showed out pretty badly against Fryeburg, but people just stepped it up,” Peters said. “We have to clean up the penalties, but we still played awesome, and I’m super happy with the result.”

Freeport, which just completed a difficult stretch in the schedule after games against Wells, Medomak Valley and Fryeburg, will now get a much-needed chance to nurse some of those injuries. The Falcons will then continue their daunting schedule with a home game against reigning state champion Foxcroft.

For Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale, Trott finished with 101 rushing yards on nine carries, and Carter Rivers added 59 yards on eight carries. Harding finished 7 of 18 passing for 94 yards with two interceptions with Keezer catching three of those passes for 40 yards.

“We have some learnings to take from this, but one of those is that you keep fighting, and that’s what we did,” St. Hilaire said. “It didn’t happen for us tonight, but we stayed in it and gave ourselves a shot at the end, and I’m proud of the kids for that.”

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