Defense shines in spring football game


Nicole Girgen

Sophomore running back Sam Santiago-Lloyd attempts to move the play down field during the spring game on Friday, April 26 in the Altra Credit Federal Union Stadium. Santiago-Lloyd played for the offensive team, loosing to the defensive team 81-44.

Mitchell Breuer, Sports Editor

Winona State University got their first taste of football this year, as the team held their annual spring football game on Friday, April 26.

While, the game itself was a scrimmage between the Warriors’ offensive and defensive units, there was still points to be earned.

The points were earned through the usual methods, as well as additional points being possible for the defense, as they could get rewarded for turnovers, holding the offense on third down and blocking field goals.

The Winona State defense would take advantage of these added possibility of points, ultimately winning the matchup, 81-44.

One of the men responsible for the win was first-year linebacker, Charlie Dennis, who not only assisted in a number of big stops for the defense, but also had one of the highlights of the night when he was able to take an interception back for a touchdown.

After the game, Dennis said that he was impressed with his overall performance.

“It was great I was out here with the team,” Dennis said. “Felt good coming out here to just play all together and get ready for the fall.”

When asked what he could do to carry his momentum from the night into next season, Dennis said it will be continuing effort to perfecting his play that will affect his success.

“I have to keep studying the playbook, make sure I know my technique, and keep the goals running,” Dennis said.

Another person who was pleased with Winona State’s performance was head coach Tom Sawyer, who will enter his 24th season with the Warriors next year.

“I thought it went really great,” Sawyer said. “First of all, nobody got hurt. That’s the number one goal. But I think what I was looking for is some of our freshmen and red shirt freshmen to step up and make plays, and that happened on both sides of the football, so our young talent really showed up tonight.”

Sawyer added that the end of the spring game marked the end of a successful spring in general for the team, who dealt with weather related hurdles throughout their first practices of 2019.

“We had a really good spring,” Sawyer said. “We survived some bad weather, and got it all in. But our team came really close. We have a lot of really young kids, and some really old guys, so we don’t have a lot in the middle. So, gelling that all together really came together this Spring, and you could see that tonight at the end, how tight these guys are.”

One thing Sawyer did say the team will be continuing to work on during the summer is their effort in the weight room, adding it could be critical to the team’s success during the season.

“We’ve come so far, especially in the weight room. That weight room this summer is going to be critical,” Sawyer said. “So the work that we put in is going to make a difference, make or break us, in the Fall, so we got about 90% of our players that are on their Varsity, basically on the roster, that’ll be here this Summer, and they’ll all be working together. That’s the most critical step.”

Sawyer’s Warriors will return to competition on Saturday, September 7, as they will open up their season at home against Wayne State College.

The next time the team sees action, they will also be joined by their incoming freshman, who were introduced to the crowd at Altra Federal Credit Union Stadium for the first time Friday night.