Winhawks Soar To District Title With Win Over Packers
Fans at Paul Giel Field might have felt a little nervous as the clock wound down in the first quarter of the Winhawk-Packer matchup on Wednesday. This season, Winona has seemed to gain control of games early, but this game started out a little different.
Defense ruled the opening minutes, and a rare special teams miss – a 31 yard field goal try by Josh Bade ricocheted off the left upright – seemed to keep the door open for Austin to hang with the Winhawks.
However, the high-powered Winona offense was just conserving energy. Riley Bosteter connected with Dakota Matthees on a 40 yard pass play near the end of the first quarter, setting up a Dan Jonsgaard 1-yard touchdown run in the opening seconds of the second quarter. Johnsgaard was carrying a heavier workload, in for Robert Warren who sat out the regular season finale with an injury.
Austin, though, wasn’t quite ready to concede to Winona. On the ensuing kickoff, Gavin Owens returned the ball 84 yards to the Winona 4 yard line, setting up a 4-yard touchdown run by Joe Seeman. The extra point tied the game at 7, keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Winona would strike again, and again, and again before the end of the half. 3 game minutes after Seeman’s tying score, Bosteter notched his 11th rushing touchdown of the season to give Winona a 13-7 edge.
The next kickoff was mishandled by Austin, and Winona took the opportunity to pull away. Bosteter once again showed off his rushing ability with a 14 yard score to extend the lead to 19-7.
That’s when the Terrell Hall Show began. Hall intercepted an Austin pass on the next drive which set up a touchdown from – you guessed it – Terrell Hall. Bosteter found Hall for a 53 yard score to give Winona a 26-7 lead at the half.
Hall would get his second interception of the night with 2:54 to go in the third quarter. Hall had 113 yards receiving to go along with his 2 interceptions and 1 touchdown.
Austin would keep things interesting late in the quarter, as Seeman intercepted a Bosteter pass at the Winona 35-yard line, that bounced off a lineman’s helmet with 18.9 seconds remaining. Seeman returned the interception to the 1-yard line, and took the first carry of the drive into the endzone pulling Austin within 26-14 with 15.5 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Bosteter, bruised and battered during the game, stayed in and kept producing. With 9:06 to go in the fourth quarter, Bosteter hooked up with Matthees for a 43-yard score, extending the lead to 33-14. Matthees had 152 yards receiving, while Bosteter threw for 302 yards.
Trevor Pomeroy would close out the Winhawk offense with a 2-yard score with 3:44 to go in the game.
Austin would add a late touchdown courtesy of a Gavin Owens 17-yard catch to make the final 40-21.
Winona wrapped up their first Big Southeast Blue District Championship with the win, and their first District/Conference title since winning the Big 9 Championship in 1988. Winona (8-0) have a first round playoff bye. They will host the winner of the #5 Red Wing (0-8) vs #4 Albert Lea (0-8) game on Saturday, October 28 at Paul Giel Field.