Warrior football takes Huskies 34-10

Mitchell Breuer, Sports Reporter

After winning their season-opener at home, the Winona State University Warriors football team improved to 2-0 after defeating the St. Cloud State Huskies, 34-10, in an away game on Saturday, Sept. 9. The night proved to be a significant night for junior running back Eric Birth, who ran for 51 yards and three touchdowns.

“I thought we struggled a little bit offensive-wise, but the second half we picked it up, got the running game going and that’s usually what we need to get going before we get the passing game going. After that I think it went pretty well,” Birth said.

The Warriors got off to a quick start with senior quarterback Darren Beenken and junior wide receiver Isaiah Frandsen connecting on a 24-yard touchdown pass.

The rest of the first quarter was quiet, after that the team converted two turnovers by the Huskies into points. One turnover was by a 20-yard field goal by senior kicker Carter McCauley and another by a one-yard touchdown run made by Birth.

Coming out of halftime up 17-10, Birth started the second half with a drive where he ran for 39 yards, capped off with a 16-yard touchdown run. Marking the second straight week he had scored multiple times in a game.

“It means a lot to me to start the season like this. Being a backup for the last two years and finally getting to start, it means a lot to me. I didn’t have that great of a high school career, to being doing this in college is kind of cool,” Birth said.

The Warriors’ momentum continued on the next drive as Beenken and junior wide receiver Elliot Cox connected on a 26-yard pass. Two plays later, Birth found the end zone for a third time after scoring on a three-yard run.

One final 26-yard field goal by McCauley put the team up by 24 points and secured the win for the Warriors.

A big contributor of the team’s success came from the defense, who didn’t give up a point during the second half.

“I thought we played pretty well,” Head Coach Tom Sawyer said. “I think we improved in some areas from last week, to start off 2-0, we feel pretty good about it. We felt like we left some points out there that we could’ve had, but our defense played exceptional and our special teams was good as well.”

Winona State will attempt to keep their winning streak when they return home to face Minnesota State Moorhead next Saturday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m.

“I think we need to just keep building. We still have lots of mistakes to clean up and try to play a much cleaner football game overall with assignments. I think that’s the biggest one,” Sawyer said. “They are a good football team coming in here, they won one big game and lost one, but we feel they’re going to be very good, so we have to play at a higher level than we did the first two weeks.”