Football ends regular season 10-1

Football ends regular season 10-1

Mitchell Breuer, Sports Reporter

Winona State University football ended the regular season undefeated at home, with a record of 10 wins and one loss. It was a dominant return home for the Winona State football team, as they beat Augustana University 52-21 during an evening game on Thursday, Nov. 9.

The game opened with sophomore Jake Balliu taking the opening kickoff 90-yards for a touchdown.

“It was a great feeling. The biggest thing was we wanted to set the tempo for the game and get [it] going,” Balliu said. “We know special teams are a big part, so to come out and score was huge to get the momentum going for the rest of the game.”

Balliu, who had two punt returns for touchdowns, had yet to return a kickoff for points entering the game. He credited his teammates on the field and the coaching staff for setting up the opportunities to score.

“Without them we can’t make the magic happen out there,” Balliu said. “We’re just trying to flip the field. If anything, we’re just trying to score to set the momentum up or set the offense up to score as well. We know it’s a big part of the game and we’re just trying to do our part.”

As the first quarter continued, it looked as if the team might have their hands full, as Augstana was able to tie the game in quick fashion. However, an interception returned for a touchdown by junior linebacker Nick Pridgeon got momentum rolling.

During the next two drives the defense continued to take control of the game, as senior Andrew Spencer and sophomore Romario Gayle came up with interceptions.

“It feels great to end the regular season like that,” Spencer said. “It’s going to be a short-lived celebration as we [have] to get back to work and get ready for the playoffs next week.”

The turnovers on defense led to back-to-back rushing touchdowns on offense by sophomores Devin Moore and Javian Roebuck.

During the second quarter, the defense continued to put the team up for more points with a fumble recovered by first-year Trey Telez, returning a touchdown. On the following drive, Gayle came up with another interception that set up a touchdown pass from first-year Owen Burke to junior Isaiah Frandsen. Winona ended the half with a 42-7 lead.

The second half provided a unique start, as it looked like a blocked field goal would leave the Warriors without points. However, with the ball still in play, senior Justin Bergeron recovered it and ran for a first down, setting up another rushing touchdown by Roebuck.

Senior Carter McCauley capped off the game with his 17th successful field goal of the year, sending the team into the playoffs.

After forcing five turnovers throughout the game, the team is hoping they can continue to put forward the same effort going forward.

Winona State football will begin playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 18 against Texas A&M-Commerce in Winona.