Football team dominates Concordia-St. Paul in opener

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Winona State University Warriors football defeated Concordia University-St. Paul Golden Bears, 47-6, in a comeback to college football, on Thursday, Sept. 02 at Altra Credit Federal Union Stadium.

Syerah Mulhern-Allred, sports reporter

After 635 days without a game, Winona State University Warriors football defeated Concordia University-St. Paul Golden Bears, 47-6, in an epic comeback to college football. This results in the fifth win for Winona State sports during opening week.
Although COVID-19 stunted playing season, the football team trained hard for over a year in preparation for last Thursday night’s game. Cam Gavin, a fifth-year defensive back from New Lenox, Illinois, stated the team overall felt very optimistic about the start of the season.
“I think it’ll improve our chances for Thursday,” Gavin said about COVID training. “We’ve been playing each other for the past year and a half, so we’ve got a lot of different looks in terms of schemes that people run.”
Gavin continued talking about his training, “We always train as hard as we can to be the best that we can on Thursdays and Saturdays.”

The defense had a stellar game as Gavin, who was named NSIC South Division Preseason Player of the Year, lived up to the title with five tackles.
When asked if he felt pressured to perform well by the title, Gavin humbly said, “No, I don’t look at personal accolades much. I’m much more of a team player.”
On the offensive end, third-year wide receiver Sawyer Maly started the game off strong by playing off second-year defensive back and kicker Tristan Root’s punt. Maly managed to get the ball out of bounds at the one-yard line before delivering a safety. Root continued to handle most punts of the season-opener.
Running back Javian Roebuck shined as he ended the first quarter with a touchdown in only his third season playing but fifth-year at Winona State. Kicker for the touchdown was transfer from Cisco Junior College, Jacob Scott.

Jake Balliu started off his seventh and final season as a Warrior strong in the first half as he had over 160 yards in the game and a 65-yard touchdown catch received from quarterback Owen Burke (Mohammed Islam)

First-year kicker and third-year student, Scott transferred to Winona State after competing in six scrimmages at Junior College this past spring. Scott made his Winona State debut last night by kicking the field goals for all six touchdowns of the night plus a standalone field goal.
Scott missed the first field goal off Roebuck’s touchdown in the first quarter but recovered quickly.
“I just kind of shook it off and went perfect after that,” Scott said of his missed attempt. “And I don’t plan on missing again.”
Scott’s confidence might have been what made him so successful as he kicked the rest of the field goals for the game, but the first-year kicker credits all of the Warriors’ special teams for making the game run smoothly.
“The whole team played good. As a unit on special teams, we all just did perfect,” Jacob said.
Roebuck then started off the second quarter with a 64-yard run as he grabbed the ball and outran everyone down the field until he made it to the end zone, bringing the score up to 14 to none.

Macauley Bartells, Freshman at Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears, drops the ball as warrior fans cheers for their home game. Winona State University Warriors beat the Golden Bears by 47-6 (Mohammed Islam)

At the end of the second quarter Javian ended his hot streak for the first game with a 37-yard run, scoring the third touchdown of the game. Overall, Roebuck averaged 9.4 yards per play for a total of 131 yards, 14 carries and three touchdowns for the Warriors.
Jake Balliu started off his seventh and final season as a Warrior strong in the first half as he had over 160 yards in the game and a 65-yard touchdown catch received from quarterback Owen Burke.
Burke, fifth-year athlete from Lakewood, Colorado, earned a pre-season title alongside Gavin, as both were named Winona State’s players to watch this season. Burke has also made NSIC all-academic for three years straight in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
In the last second of the first half and the first few minutes of the second half, Sam Henson from Concordia scored two field goals for a total of six points for the Golden Bear.
To start the second half, wide receiver Ethan Wittenburg received a 48-yard pass from Burke and made 54 yards to a touchdown to put the score at 37 to 6.
Running back Ty Gavin then took over for Roebuck with six carries, 86 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter to end the game at 47 points.
The team was ranked No. 5 in pre-season poll overall for the NSIC conference and ranked No. 3 in pre-season poll for the south division.
Winona State Warrior’s football team plays again on Saturday, Sept. 11 at noon against the Minnesota State University – Moorhead Dragons.