Mavericks defeat Warriors 31-21 in late game drive


Derek Dravis

Junior defensive back Romario Gayle hurdles over the line of scrimmage in an attempt to block a field goal on Saturday, September 22 at Altra Credit Federal Union Stadium. Winona State faced off against Minnesota State University – Mankato, loosing 21-31 and tying the team’s overall record at two wins and two losses.

Mitchell Breuer, Editor-In-Chief

The Winona State University football team is now 2-2, after being defeated by No. 2 Minnesota State University-Mankato, 31-21 on Saturday, Sept. 22.

The game started well for the Warriors, as they were able to take the lead early and build on it quick, with their first score coming early in the first quarter as junior kicker Nathaniel Gennrich was able to make a 30-yard attempt in his first attempt of the season.

The team continued their strong start as sophomore running back Sam Santiago-Lloyd grabbed his second touchdown of the year on a five-yard run to give Winona a 10-point lead.

Mankato would not be silenced for long though, as they would get on the board early in the second with a 12-yard touchdown pass.

The Warriors quickly responded though, with another field goal from Gennrich, this time at a length of 27-yards to make the score 13-7.

Not to be outdone by the offense’s ability to score, Winona’s defense would proceed to step up to end the half with two interceptions. The first of which came as sophomore defensive back Isaiah Hall would deflect a Mankato pass allowing junior defensive back Romario Gayle to swoop in for his third defensive takeaway of the year.

The turnover would then lead to a deep 44-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Owen Burke to senior wide receiver Isaiah Frandsen for another Warrior touchdown.

The play would mark the second straight week Frandsen was able to find the end zone, bringing his total for the year up to three.

On the following offensive drive for Mankato, Winona would once again come up with a takeaway, this time with junior linebacker David Smith, who was able to come away with his first interception of the season.

The Warrior’s offense would fail to capitalize on the turnover but they would get another chance, as Winona’s special teams unit was able to recover a muffed punt return by the Mavericks, which allowed the team to keep the ball.

With 18 seconds remaining in the half and the drive essentially restarting on Mankato’s 29-yardline, the Warriors were able to move the ball up to the 17 but were unable to show points for it, as Gennrich would be unable to make the 34-yard attempt.

The miss would not only mark the end of the first half, but provide a starting point for Winona’s eventual demise, as the rest of the game would be all about Mankato.

The score would be 21-7 heading into halftime but wouldn’t stay that way for long, as the Mavericks came out of the break swinging, as eight plays just over three minutes into the third quarter the team was able to cut into the Warriors’ lead with a ten-yard touchdown run.

The Winona defense seemed to respond well, keeping Mankato off the scoreboard for the rest of the third, as their offense set themselves up for a chance to score to start the final quarter of the game, setting Gennrich up for a 25-yard attempt to make it a two possession game.

However, the kick would be blocked by the Mavericks and setting up a drive by the Maverick offense that allowed them to cut another three-points off the lead.

The struggles would continue for the Warriors, as Burke would throw an interception on the third play of the following drive, which in turn led to quick touchdown response by the Mavericks to take the lead for the first time all day.

After a series of three and outs by both teams, Winona’s offense continued to get anything going with another drive ending with a Burke interception.

Mankato’s offense was once again able to capitalize, running the clock down from five minutes to three, and scoring a touchdown off of a seven-yard run to make the score 31-21 in favor of the Mavericks.

On their final drive of the game, Burke would be sacked twice and the Warriors would be unable to get a first down in four plays, resulting in another turnover.

Mankato went on to run out the clock and secure their fourth win of the season, continuing their undefeated streak.

Burke ended the game with 21 completions on 40 attempts, which resulted in 257 passing yards, a season-low one touchdown pass, and season-high two interceptions.

Santiago-Lloyd served as the team’s leading rusher with 69 yards on 18 attempts and Frandsen once again led the team in receiving with 81 yards on four receptions.

Defensively, the team did well, despite the score, with senior defensive end Michael Ferrante coming up with his second solo sack of the year.

In addition to his interception, Gayle was able to come up with three tackles for the team, bringing his total up to 15 on the year.

“Overall, I think our defense performed well,” Gayle said. “Holding the No. 2 team in the nation to just seven points in the first half is one of the many positives that came out of Saturday’s game.”

Gayle also went on to mention how well the entire unit has done early in the season.

“Overall as a team we’ve seen a lot of adversity early on in the season with a lot of young guys stepping in the mix and one positive I can say that came from Saturday is that no matter who is on the field we can get the job done and we’ve seen a lot of young guys step up,” Gayle said.

“On the negative side, I’d say we just have to finish games. We beat ourselves late in games and it’s nothing special the opponent is doing, we just have to play sound football and we’ll start to see the results we’re looking for.”

Saturday’s loss for Winona marks the second straight week the team has fallen short of a victory, losing to Upper Iowa University 34-33 in their previous outing.

Up next for the Warriors is a road-trip to Aberdeen, South Dakota, where they will look to snap their two-game losing streak against Northern State University on Saturday, Sept. 29. Kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m.

Derek Dravis
Isaiah Hall (left) and Kenneth Sanders (right) tackle a Minnesota State University – Mankato runningback at a game Saturday, Sept. 22. The Warriors lost the game in the second half 31-21
Derek Dravis
Players for Winona State take a knee in support for an injured teammate during Saturday’s game against Mankato State, the Warriors lost 21-31.