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The Buckhorn

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Winters Express
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Warriors win first league title in 20 years

Lowrie and Vice
total huge yardage,
Stewart and Kays lead the defensive shutout


By ERIC LUCERO
Express sports

For the first time in 20 years the Winters High School Warriors have won their football league championship after shutting out Colusa 56-0 in their final regular season game. Winters finished the Sacramento Valley League with a perfect 5-0 record, a 9-1 overall record and are going into the playoffs with an eight game win streak.
Looking to repeat as section champions, the Warriors will start the playoffs hosting Hamilton City. If they win they will host the winner of Esparto vs. Trinity the following week. Winters is seeded number one in the Northern Section Division IV.
Last year, the Warriors were dropped down to Division III due to enrollment and this year the section has been realigned to match up with the rest of the state, so now they are in Division IV. If the Warriors win the first two rounds of playoffs they will also host the section championship game, which hasn’t been hosted in Winters since 1978.
On Friday night, Nov. 7, Winters proved they are not overlooking anybody as they pounded the Colusa Red Hawks to capture the SVL title. Winters scored early and often, putting 7 points on the board in the first quarter, 21 in the second, 21 more in the third and seven in the fourth.
“This was the best game we have played all season as a whole,” said coach Daniel Ward. “It may have been the best game we have ever played since I have been coaching. Our defense was incredible, flying all over the place and our offense was very effective. Colusa is a good team despite the score. It was a very physical game and we responded very well.”
The offense was led by quarterback Jacob Lowrie who completed 11 of 14 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 137 yards on just six carries with two touchdowns. Luke Vice also had a career night for the Warriors rushing for 110 yards on just six carries and caught six passes for 127 yards and a touchdown.
“Jacob is our play maker,” Ward stated. “No doubt about it. If we need a big play he is going to get the ball. Luke, he is a special kid. Talent wise, there is no question about his abilities he is a great athlete but his character is like no other. When he had the opportunity to go back out and total more yardage and score touchdowns he chose to let someone else do it. He is a perfect example of what you are looking for in a person and a player.”
Chaz Mathews rushed for 75 yards on seven carries, Chris Kays had two carries for 37 yards, Ulises Hinojosa had one carry for a 19 yard gain and Ty Spalding had one carry for a one yard touchdown. In the air Lowrie also connected with Morgan Nicholas for 75 yards on two receptions and a touchdown and Jaime Bermudez caught three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown. Omar Rodriguez went 8 for 8 on PAT kicks.
Defensively, the Warriors continue to get better. Winters has given up just 22 points in league play and just 42 points in the last seven games.
“I used to cringe watching the defense,” said Ward. “Now I love watching them play. They fly to the ball and they love to hit.”
The defensive highlight came when Kays sacked the quarterback and caused a fumble. Hunter Miller picked up the fumble and went 20 yards for a touchdown.
Mitchel Stewart once again led the Warriors with 11 tackles, four of them for a loss and had a sack. Warren Roberson III had nine tackles. Mathews and Kays each had eight tackles. Kays also had two sacks and Mathews had an interception. Bermudez had seven tackles. Hinojosa had four tackles and an interception. Miguel Zaragoza, Lowrie, Miller and Ivan Martinez each had three tackles. Damon Burke and Ryan Soto each had two tackles, while Nicholas, Christian Cushman, Zach Cox and Logan Hoskins each had one tackle.