Inches short: Winner loses defensive struggle to SFC
SIOUX FALLS — A matter of inches.
That's what it came down to for the Winner High School football team against defending state champion Sioux Falls Christian Thursday night in Class 11B quarterfinal action.
Trailing 14-6 late in the fourth quarter, Winner quarterback Brady Fitz hit Trevor Peters on a 40-yard pass that put the ball on the Charger one-yard line.
Peters scored on the next play to make to pull within two points, but he came up inches short on a two-point conversion to tie the game.
The Warriors failed to recover the onside kick, but the defense would stop Sioux Falls Christian on downs.
The drive, and the season, came to an end for Winner, however, as Fritz was intercepted by Mitchell Goodbary to preserve a 14-12 win for the Chargers.
There were two points in the contest that stuck out most to Winner head coach Dan Aaker.
The first came in early in the third quarter when the Warriors held SFC to a three-and-out to open the second half and then drove to the Charger 13-yard line, but the drive ended with a turnover on downs as the SFC defense stiffened.
The second point came in later in the quarter as the Warriors lost a fumble to SFC and the Chargers drove 45 yards for the go ahead score.
"It changed the momentum of the game," Aaker said. "Those two stand out the most."
The first half was controlled by each teams ground game, but neither team could find a way to put points on the board.
With 9:53 left in the second quarter, the Warriors went on a 70-yard drive—with only one pass play along the way—and Peters dove in from one yard out with 10 seconds left as Winner went into intermission leading 6-0.
"We talked all week about how possessions were going to be critical for both teams," Aakers said.
"We were just not going to get very many of them and that's how the game played out. We knew we had to take advantage of them."
The Warriors rushed for 189 yards and led by Peters with 15 carries for 80 yards. Fritz was 2 of 4 passing for 56 yards. The Warriors finished with 245 total yards.
Nelson led the Chargers with 31 carries for 101 yards. Mulder was 2-of-4 passing for 45 yards
and SFC finished with 174 total yards.
"I thought defensively we played a really really good football game against a team that can
really grind it out," added Aaker. "I'm super proud of our guys' effort. They played hard and well."
SFC (8-2) advances to the semifinals to take on Canton on Friday.
Winner ends its season 7-3.
W: Trevor Peters 1 run (Run failed)
SFC: Parker Nelson 4 run (Run failed)
SFC: Dawson Mulder 3 run (Mulder run)
W: Peters 1 run (Run failed)