Football drops final road game

Allison Mueller

Sam Thiel/ Winonan

The Winona State University football team’s final road test resulted in a Warrior loss 33-8 to Augustana at Kireby-Over Stadium on Saturday.

Winona State was able to yield eight points and 220 yards of offense on the afternoon against the Vikings’ defense.

On the defensive end, the Warriors allowed 243 of Augustana’s 473 yards of offense on the ground.

Sophomore quarterback Jack Nelson tossed an interception on the first play of the game, setting Augustana up at the Warrior 44-yard line, but the Vikings were unable to convert on the turnover as a 27-yard field goal went wide.

The Warriors allowed two scoring drives which resulted in a 14-yard touchdown pass and a field goal from 28 yards out, giving the Vikings a 10-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

On Winona State’s first possession of the second quarter, Brett Cochran-Bray’s 41-yard field goal attempt was blocked, keeping Winona State off the scoreboard.

The Vikings found the back of the end zone to increase the Augustana lead 17-0 into the second half.

On the first possession of the third quarter, the Vikings drove the ball deep into Warrior territory, but linebackers Ian Murray and Gage Ridenour stopped Augustana’s C.J. Ham from further increasing the Vikings’ lead.

After the Vikings got the ball back, Augustana increased its lead 24-0 from a three-yard rush by Dajon Newell.

The Warriors got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter after Alan May returned a punt 33 yards to the Augustana 28-yard line, leading to a pass from Nelson to sophomore wide receiver Cameron Johnson for the score.

Nelson found Johnson again on the two-point conversion to cut the deficit 24-8 with 11:36 remaining in the fourth quarter.

In the following possession Augustana strung together a 14-play, 65-yard drive culminating in a 19-yard field goal to boost the Vikings 27-8.

In a comeback attempt Nelson tossed his third interception of the afternoon on the second play of the drive.

The Vikings would add another insurance score late in the fourth quarter after Warrior backup quarterback Darren Beenken tossed an interception of his own, giving the ball back to Augustana on Winona State’s nine-yard line.

Three plays later the Vikings found the back of the end zone to make the final score 33-8.

Nelson finished the game completing 13 of his 25 attempts for 136 yards with one touchdown.

The Warriors ran for 75 yards, 31 of which came from sophomore running back Paul Preston on 10 attempts. Junior wide receiver Josh Mikes led the Warrior receiving core with five catches for 78 yards, while Johnson added three receptions for 33 yards to accompany his touchdown catch.

On the defensive end, senior linebacker Ryan Gerts anchored the Warriors with eight tackles. Sophomore defensive back Anthony Catanese intercepted his third pass of the season to add to the Warrior cause.

Gerts said, “We had chances to get off the field on some big third downs, and we simply did not. We also need to continue on finding ways to get the ball to our offense and forcing turnovers. These are both aspects of the game that we have done well at all season so we look forward to getting back to those ways these last few weeks of the season.”

With this loss, Winona State falls to 4-5 on the year. The Warriors will see Warrior Stadium for their final two games of the season, when they play host to Southwest Minnesota State at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8.