Winhawks Clip Falcon Wings To Earn State Berth
The Winona Winhawks earned their third straight trip to the Class AAAA Football State Tournament with a 42-7 win over Faribault, capturing the Section 1 Championship at Rochester Mayo Field.
The Winhawks took control of the game early, after stopping Faribault on their first drive of the game. On the Winhawks first offensive play, Jackson Nibbelink connected with Terrell Hall for a 62-yard touchdown strike. A Bryan Cassellius extra point gave Winona a 7-0 advantage.
Although Faribault would move the ball well in the first half, eventually, their drives would stall and they would have to give the ball to Winona’s potent offense.
Trevor Pomeroy would punch in his only touchdown of the game with 4:57 remaining in the first quarter. Austin Mlynczak would get the 2-point conversion, and Winona would have a 15-0 lead. Pomeroy would exit the game a short time later with an injury, and not return.
The Winona offense did not miss a beat without their school-record rusher, as Sam Kanne and Fernando Castanon would fill in nicely.
Kanne scored from a yard out with 7:40 left in the second quarter to pad the Winona lead at 22-0. The Winhawks would not have to wait long to get their next offensive possession, as Zaid Elsabbagh stepped in front of a Joe Palmer pass to get the Winhawk offense back on the field.
Just a short time later, Castanon made his presence felt with his second rushing touchdown of the season with 5:43 to go before the half, extending the score to 29-0.
Winona would receive the second-half kick, and Castanon would keep the rushing game going, scoring again on a 41-yard rush with 11:40 still to go in the third quarter.
Terrell Hall ended any hopes of a Falcon comeback with an interception at the 7:43 mark.
For good measure, Nibbelink rushed for a score at the beginning of the 4th quarter for a 42-0 lead.
Faribault fans were given a small reason to smile with just 35 seconds to go, as Taylor Day removed the 0 from the Falcon score on a 1-yard rush.
Winona (10-0) moves on to the State Quarterfinal game on Friday, November 9th, when they take on Waseca (9-2), the Section 2 Champion. Game time is 7pm at Farmington High School.