Teamwork gives No. 2 Warriors successThe Winner High School football team can define team effort this season. The No. 2-ranked team in Class 11B sitting at 7-0 doesn’t need a superstar to have success. It has had 12 players find the end zone.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
The Winner High School football team can define team effort this season.
The No. 2-ranked team in Class 11B sitting at 7-0 doesn’t need a superstar to have success. It has had 12 players find the end zone.
“We have some pretty good players to build around and our offensive and defensive lines have made good strides,” Winner head coach Dan Aaker said.
The Warriors have scored 308 points this season, compared to just 52 points from their opponents. Winner’s offense comes primarily from its rushing attack, racking up 2,260 yards on the ground this season. The team has totaled 315 passing yards.
Although defenses are aware of the Warriors’ rushing attack, they are unsure of who will get the ball in the backfield. Seven players on Winner’s roster have recorded more than 100 yards rushing this season.
“For defenses playing us, it’s pretty tough to key on anybody,” Aaker said. “It’s a good problem to have when you have a lot of running backs that can run.”
Along with several talented backs, Aaker credits his offensive line for the successful run game. Returning seniors Michael Hofeldt and Tate Novotny are the staple of the offensive line that also includes Grant Toman, Scott Assman and Brendon Harter.
Of the team’s running backs, Ben Connot, Kyle Bertram and Trace Meyer have provided the most production. All three backs have carried the ball at least 60 times.
Connot leads the team with 616 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground this season, while Bertram has 576 yards rushing and seven touchdowns and Meyer has run for 392 yards and six touchdowns.
“They all have big-play ability,” Aaker said. “They get pretty much equal carries because they’re all good backs.”
Not only has Winner racked up an incredible amount of yards, but the Warriors have limited turnovers, which has been a key to its success.
Winner has turned the ball over just four times on three fumbles and an interception. On the defensive side of the ball, the Warriors have recovered four fumbles and intercepted 15 passes.
“We’re plus 15 in the turnover battle and anytime you have stats like that, it’s pretty big,” Aaker said.
“Our philosophy is really to stop the run and if we can do that, we’re going to be able to do some things and get pressure on people and that’s where the interceptions have come.”
Aaker’s defensive mindset has helped his team shut out four opponents this season, including its last three.
The Warriors hope their success can continue as they play their final regular-season game against Wagner — ranked No. 5 in Class 11B — Friday in Winner.
With a win, the Warriors can lock up the top spot in the region and earn a home playoff game.