Warriors Slay Dragons To Improve To 3-0
Not many people took the Winona State Warrior Football team seriously this season. A team that had a lot of question marks, and holes to fill in skill positions on the offense, was picked to finish 6th overall in the NSIC, and 4th in the NSIC South Division. Those coaches may want to reconsider, as the Warriors improve to 3-0 on the season with a 42-14 win over Minnesota State Moorhead (1-2).
The game didn’t start out all that well for the Warriors, as Quarterback Darren Beenken was intercepted on the second offensive play of the game. Winona State would rebound quickly, as Nick Pridgeon picked off a Demetrius Carr pass with 13:32 left in the First Quarter. That, plus a horse-collar tackle on the return, set the Warriors up inside the red zone. Eric Birth would put the Warriors on the board with a 7 yard TD run.
After a WSU turnover, Pridgeon swung the pendulum again, with a fumble recovery with 4:38 to go in the opening frame. Just 10 game seconds later, Beenken found Isaiah Frandsen for a 67-yard touchdown pass, to put the Warriors ahead 14-0.
Pridgeon would close out the Quarter with his second interception of the game, and his third forced turnover.
Both teams would stall on offense in the Second Quarter. Andrew Spencer collected his second interception of the season with 9:50 to go in the half. That pick would lead to a Beenken 4-yard TD plunge, putting the Warriors up 21-0.
The Warriors completed a dominating first half, with some fireworks from Sam Santiago-Lloyd. Santiago-Lloyd caught his only pass of the game, a 45-yarder, and rushed 5 times for 8 yards, and his first College touchdown with 18 seconds to go, to give the Warriors a 28-0 advantage at the half.
The Dragons would show some signs of life in the Third Quarter. Quarterback Demitrius Carr scored on a 15 yard TD run, to avoid the shutout with 10:51 left.
Winona State would flex it’s defensive muscle again, when Adonis Brown caused another fumble, on the next Dragon drive. The Beenken to Frandsen connection worked again, as Frandsen hauled in a 24 yard scoring pass to put the Warriors ahead 35-7.
In the Fourth Quarter, Carr would score on the ground, with an 11 yard run to close the gap at 35-14.
However that would be as close as the Dragons would get. Landon Jacobsen would score his first Collegiate touchdown late in the quarter, to close out a 42-14 win.
The Warriors gave up 443 yards of offense, and 29 first downs to the Dragons, but clamped down when they needed to, sacking Carr 4 times, and causing 5 turnovers.
Darren Beenken was 12 of 20 for 274 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Frandsen was the leading receiver with 3 catches for 129 yards and 2 scores. Javian Roebuck was the leading rusher, with 9 carries for 56 yards. Adonis Brown led the defense with 12 tackles.
The victory kept the Warrior home winning streak alive against the Dragons. The last time the Dragons won in Winona was in 1995.
Winona State will take it’s 3-0 record on the road next week, to take on Minot State at 2pm, September 23.