Football: Winona wrecks Red Wing homecoming
The bleachers were packed, the band was playing, the sirens were blaring and Red Wing was raring to go for its homecoming game Friday night at Russ “Cougar” Marshall field. Hosting Big Southeast Blue District rival Winona, the Wingers came into the game having lost their first three games of the season, while the Winhawks were undefeated.
It was the first chance Red Wing had to take a shot at the team that ended its season last year. And early, it looked like the Wingers had a chance of pulling the upset. Winona gained just 18 yards in the first quarter, and held a slim 7-0 lead heading into the second.
But it turned out the Winhawks were just throwing jabs the first 12 minutes, looking for a way to execute their gameplan of body punches and haymakers. And by the time Winona got the ball back with 11 minutes, 18 seconds left in the first half, the fleet feet of its stable of backs were ready for a knockout, eventually putting the Wingers on the mat with a 38-0 victory.
“We have to play better gap-assignment football,” said Red Wing head coach John Ott. “We have to tackle better and we're not getting off blocks and they took advantage of it.”
Dan Jonsgaard, who had 80 yards on nine carries, exploded for a 46-yard touchdown at 8:45 of the second. Coupled with Riley Bosteter's 12-yard touchdown to Logan Smith near the end of the first, Jonsgaard gave the Winhawks a 14-0 lead that would only grow over the remainder of the second quarter.
After a fourth-down stop, Winona took over at the Red Wing 48-yard line. But the Wingers would not break, forcing Joshua Bade into a 31-yard field goal attempt. But Bade was true all night, and Red Wing was back on offense down 17-0 with 3:20 on the clock.
Looking for something positive before halftime, the Wingers moved 13 yards on two Seth Morem runs. But a Marcus Walm interception gave the ball back to Winona on the Winhawks' 40. Five plays and a personal foul later, Jonsgaard finished the drive with a 6-yard score with 35 seconds on the clock.
Winona got the ball to start the second half, but fumbled away the ball in less than a minute. Yet, once again, Red Wing stalled, going three-and-out.
Then came Terrell Hall, the Winhawks' sophomore backup quarterback led an electric, 65-yard drive that he capped off with a 1-yard touchdown that covered closer to 30 with his spinning, broken-tackle scamper that changed direction at least three times.
With seven minutes to play in the third, the Wingers were in do-or-die mode. Red Wing punted, and Jonsgaard scored six minutes later to put the game in running time for the final 12 minutes.
In total, Winona had 287 rushing yards, with Jonah Boelter piling up 100 on 18 attempts, Bosteter racking up 47 on eight runs, and Hall flashing 54 yards on his three-run, one-drive display.
Conversely, the Wingers managed 148 yards on 42 runs, and 133 of that total came on Morem's 20 totes.
Morem didn't see a lot of action early, but outside of Walm's eight yards on 2 of 10 passing, that was the extent of the Red Wing offense.
“I think what happened is that we had to go to it. We weren't getting the blocks we needed to. Our pad level was bad all night on both sides of the ball, and Seth can make his own blocks at times,” Ott said.
Bosteter only had 48 yards through the air, completing 4 of 8, but with both teams staying on the ground, the clock left only so much available offense.
After a better showing last week, the homecoming loss was tough to see for Ott.
“I think we stepped back a little bit. We didn't drive-block well, we didn't carry out our fakes well, and that's stuff we did well against (Rochester) Century,” Ott said. “We didn't tackle well tonight, and we did against Century. We'll make some adjustments, and go from there. We have to get better up front. Winona's really good up front. We have to stay the course and not hit the panic button.”
Next week, the Wingers (0-4, 0-2 Blue) will head to New Prague (0-4, 0-2) in a battle between two teams looking for win No. 1. The Trojans lost to Rochester Mayo, 41-27, on Friday. It's a big game for Red Wing who will need to take some momentum into its Week 6 game at undefeated, and No. 2 (Class 5A), Mankato West.