‘Hawks Have Happy Homecoming

This past Friday’s game was a typical game for this year’s Winona Winhawk team.  They fell behind early, but regained their composure, to earn the win in the end.

Week 5 was slightly different, in that it was Homecoming for Winona.  The band played at Halftime, this year’s Hall Of Fame class was honored, the parade led the team to the field prior to the game, and the crowd was ready, with cheering and music starting a half hour before kickoff.

The crowd had some time to rest, as a back-and-forth first quarter didn’t yield any points until Colin Smith broke free on a 2-yard run with 1:23 left in the first quarter for the first Century score of the game.

The Winhawk fans would get a chance to cheer just a few game seconds later as Jackson Nibbelink connected with Ethan Ringo for a 68-yard TD pass and catch, to knot the score at 7-7 with 1:06 to go in the opening quarter.

Century would take back the lead early in the 2nd, on a Thomas Mergen 23-yard touchdown scamper, and the Winhawks countered with a 26-yard field goal from 8th grader Bryan Cassellius.

The Panthers would add to their lead a little over a game minute later when Arath Martinez found Jack Fisher for a 40-yard touchdown with 5:13 left to go before halftime.

With the score 21-10 in Century’s favor, Winhawk fans had a right to be a little nervous.  However, the team didn’t seem to be, and took the half’s final drive methodically downfield, ending in a 27 yard TD strike from Nibbelink to Ringo to send the Winhawks into the second half down just 21-17.

From there, it was mostly Winona’s game.  The ground game continued to impress on the Winhawks’ first drive of the third quarter, when Trevor Pomeroy broke through for an 8-yard TD run to give Winona their first lead of the game, 24-21, with 10:41 left in the quarter.

Winona didn’t look back, adding a 61-yard scoring run from Terrell Hall, and a 52-yard TD run from Pomeroy before the Panthers could get their bearings.

Down 38-21, Century would end the 28-unanswered point swing with a 3-yard touchdown catch from Martinez to Mark Leonard with 2:39 left in the game.

It would be too little, too late, as Winona capped the game with a 41-yard scoring scamper from Pomeroy to cement the game at 44-28.

Winona (5-0) looks to keep their record spotless this week against Mankato East (2-3) at home, while the Panthers (3-2) hope to rebound at home against a strong Owatonna (5-0) team that dismantled Mankato East last week, 71-12.

Football Night on HBC will stay in Winona this week as the Cotter Ramblers (0-5) celebrate Homecoming at Maxwell Field at Altra Federal Credit Union Stadium on October 5th against Kingsland (0-5).  Kickoff is at 7pm on HBC TV 25, HD 525.

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