Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Winona State falls short against top ranked Mavericks, 30-20

Contributed Photo by Michael Ruka

Erin Cochran/Winonan

The Winona State University football team fell to the No. 9 Minnesota State Mavericks 30-20 Saturday at WSU’s homecoming game at Verizon Wireless Stadium.

Both the Warriors and Mavericks fought hard in their pass and rush games but ultimately, lost opportunities and turnovers led to Winona State’s loss.

“The picks were plays we couldn’t do much about,” said Chris Norgaard. “Our plan was running and passing but they definitely proved to challenge us in all our attempts. We didn’t see anything different than what we did on film this week so we were ready to fight and what we were up against but it came down to small mishaps and missed plays.”

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“We just didn’t capitalize on the plays we could have made,” said Warriors’ head coach Tom Sawyer. “We couldn’t afford that but that’s the difference from coming up the field and capitalizing or falling short and that’s what happened today unfortunately.”

“This is such a great group of kids. I’m angry we didn’t do a better job today at this pivotal moment in the season because there are only a limited number of games you’re guaranteed. Everything else was right today. We were just up against one of the toughest teams in the division but it challenged us which is great for building and our character.”

In the third quarter, the Mavericks led 20-6, but a 14-yard touchdown run by Rayon Simmons brought the score to 20-13.

The Mavericks scored again in the fourth for a 27-13 lead.

Winona State answered with John Teigland’s 27-yard connection to Jim Montgomery, pulling the Warriors within seven points of the Mavericks.

Two chances were presented late in the fourth for the Warriors to tie up the score, but after a turnover, they were forced to punt in Warrior territory.

“Our defense gets excited about the plays where the opponent gets close to the goal line because then we know it’s time for the big guys to come out and make those game changing plays,” said Maverick, Nathan Hancock. “That’s what we prepare for all year and we really made it happen today.”

“Their ‘D’ line got in the gaps and made us throw the ball,” said Teigland. “It obviously effected us on some key plays. We aren’t going to take this loss lightly. It stung a little bit more because of it being the homecoming game but we just have to move on and continue to play some strong football. This is such a mature team so we’ll pull together, refocus and move on.”

Winona State recorded 375 yards against Minnesota State, whose defense is ranked number two in the country.

“We threw the ball pretty well today and John made significant connections but we struggled with protection in the end,” said Sawyer. “You have to keep in mind who we’re playing against today. A ranked defense did a lot to challenge our guys.”

Ryan Williams led for the defense with nine tackles and Norgaard made seven as well as secured an interception.

Teigland completed 17-of-23 passes for a total of 292 yards. Sean Hertz made five catches totaling 63 yards.

Simmons ran for 60 yards, being targeted by the Mavericks defense. This was the first time since taking on Minnesota Duluth on Sept. 8 that Simmons didn’t rush for at least 100 yards.

However, he reached yet another Winona State record catching up to Chris Samp and David Ludy for most career touchdowns scored by a Warrior.

“Both of these teams are very smart in their running game strategies and with Ray on their side, we knew we had to be smart in who we watched and protected,” said Mavericks head coach Aaron Keen. “This program in particular is known for their top tier players who are known in the league and for the overall class and intelligence they play with. It was a great football game and we both fought until the very end.”

Winona State is now 6-2 overall and in NSIC play.

“We’re going to do everything we can to get to 9-2 and play football until someone tells us we can’t play anymore,” said Sawyer. “Our strength, dedication and schedule are all on our side. We’re tied with Sioux Falls right now and we’re still in it because our players will play their strongest until the very end.”

They continue their home stay this Saturday when they take on the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m.

To get more inside scoop with head coach Tom Sawyer himself, join him every Thursday during the season at the Riverport Hotel at noon.

To get more information about Winona State football visit

Contact Erin at [email protected].

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