Football: Rollins Bros. lead Gorham stampede past Westbrook

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GORHAM—Tyler Rollins piled up 153 rushing yards and tallied three TDs to lead Gorham past Westbrook 28-0 on Friday night, Sept. 7. Rollins’s twin brother, Isaac, QBs for the squad, and posted a solid outing himself, hashing 73 yards rushing, 123 yards throwing and a pretty pass TD to Jacob Benson.

The Rollins boys, clearly, sit at the heart of the Rams’ offense. 

“He’s a special kid; he’s really good,” Gorham head coach Andy Hager said of Tyler Rollins. “Keep his ego on the ground, but he’s a spectacular athlete. I think Isaac’s better – you can print that, so Tyler can read it. But they’ve got stuff you can’t teach. I wish I could take credit for that, but that’s just Isaac and Tyler. They’re phenomenal athletes.”

“They’re twins, and they have very much a similar skillset,” Hager said. “It’s pick your poison with those two. We try to spread the ball out, and they both do a great job.”

Of course, two players, no matter how talented and dedicated, do not a football team make, and the Rollins brothers got plenty of help in the victory. Hager praised his o-line especially, though he didn’t stop there: 

“Our offensive line played great,” he said. “Ethan Stump, Nate Burchill, two seniors, did a great job, and Aaron Mains is doing a great job…Our guys really learned how to gel. Tyler runs hard behind his guys, but I think every other guy, the 10 guys, stepped up and blocked their tails off. Our wide receivers blocked their tails off.”

“Jack Van Zandt played his tail off,” Hager continued. “Kyle Ouellette played like a man possessed on kickoffs, and tackling kids; Jacob Benson, who’s a senior, did a great job.”

Gorham looked a bit sloppy to start, fumbling on their first possession; Westbrooker Gabe Menario snatched up the loose ball, but the Blazes failed to capitalize on the opportunity. The Rams, however, didn’t fail to learn from their mistake, and proceeded to churn out TD after TD for the rest of the half.

Gorham notched their first eight points – on a Tyler Rollins thrust up the middle from first and goal at the Westbrook two – with 4:05 left to play in the opening quarter. Rollins, a junior, and Kyle Skolfield, just a freshman, both contributed double-digit yardage to the drive.

The Blazes began their next series from their own 31; junior Brayden Demers sparked some optimism on first down with a 31-yard dash up the right sideline to push his boys into Gorham territory. From there, though, the Rams’ defense clamped down, sacking Westbrook QB Devon Ezzy on the very next play. Soon, the Blazes found themselves forced to punt.

Gorham picked up their six more points in the opening minutes of the second. The drive featured an Isaac Rollins pass to senior Guiseppe Brown for 32 yards and penetration into Westbrook territory, as well as a 33-yard, circuitous Tyler Rollins run for the touchdown itself.

The Rams put up 14 more before the break arrived. Westbrook’s Matt Eugley turned a sack on Isaac Rollins early in Gorham’s next possession, but Rollins got up again and Gorham kept on keeping on. Rollins connected with Van Zandt for nine and the Blazes incurred two penalties – one for pass interference and one for a facemask grab – en route to Rollins’s hooking up with Benson for a 16-yard pass TD to the back-right corner of the Westbrook endzone.

Finally, Tyler Rollins added another rushing score (an eight-yarder) to his resume with a measly :02 remaining in the quarter. Neither team uploaded points onto the scoreboard in the latter half – a credit to Westbrook, who doubled-down defensively and even assembled a goal-line stand in the fourth,

The Blazes may not have logged their most sparkling performance Friday night; still, they didn’t make it easy on the Rams. Hager voiced his respect for the opposition:

“We knew they were going to compete; we knew they were going to battle,” he said. “(Head coach) Jeff Guerette always has his team ready to go…I’ve got the most respect I could have for Jeff and the program he runs. They beat Hampden last week, so we were ready for a battle.”

Hager’s been working hard – just like his boys – to develop the Gorham program, which until recently hadn’t seen much success for years. Last autumn, the Rams picked up several key wins, and this autumn, they look poised to go even further.

“I think it’s another huge step forward,” Hager said of this year’s squad. “These kids know how to compete, they want to compete, they have something to prove. They’ve been getting their tails kicked in for two years by upperclassmen at practice…They’re ready to assume the role of trying to be leaders in the town of Gorham. They want to embrace that.”

“I honestly think it’s the most collective team I’ve ever been a part of, in terms of playing and coaching,” Hager said. “A lot of individual guys do a lot of great things, making two or three plays at a time. But collectively as a team, they played great. They bond together; they love each other.”

Gorham dropped their season-opener, 40-12 vs. Marshwood; Friday’s win thus bumps them to 1-1 on the fall. They host Falmouth on Friday, Sept. 14.

Westbrook, as noted, kicked off the autumn with a W over Hampden, 16-6. The Blazes travel to Kennebunk on the 14th.

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Gorhamite Nico Pappalardo breaks away from a would-be Westbrook tackler.

Keegan Watts unwinds into a Westbrook punt.

Joey Hansen lines up at center for the Rams.

Gorhamite Peter Richards carries in his team’s win over the Blazes.

Ram Jacob Benson secures a pass TD in the Westbrook endzone.

Henri Kuntz lines up for the Rams.

Rams QB Isaac Rollins reels in a low snap in his team’s decisive win over Westbrook.

Tyler Rollins amassed 153 rushing yards and scored three TDs for the Rams in their road win at Westbrook on Friday night.

Westbrook QB Devon Ezzy surveys his pass options.

The Blazes confer on the field, prior to a setting up for a snap.

Seamus Dillon gets set for the Blazes.

Additional photos can be found here:

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

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