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The Buckhorn

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Winters Express
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Warriors route Trinity, host
Section Finals

By ERIC LUCERO
Express sports

For the first time since 1978 the Winters High School varsity football team will be hosting the Northern Section Championship game. On Wednesday, Nov. 26, the Warriors will host East Nicolaus in the Division IV section final. East Nicolaus defeated the undefeated Williams High School with a 20-14 victory to move on to the finals.
In 1978 the Warriors hosted North Tahoe in the NSCIF AA championships and won 25-6 to finish the season with a 12-0 record and a number one state ranking in small schools. Now school board trustee Rob Warren was named the games MVP. The Warriors won their first NSCIF AA title in 1976 at home when they defeated Trinity 34-12 at Dr. Sellers Field. Dave Lucero received the MVP award in that game.
On Friday, Nov. 21, Winters hosted Trinity High School in the semi final playoff game and pulled off a 54-6 victory to advance into the finals for the second straight season. Only one other time in school history have the Warriors repeated as section champs in back to back seasons. In 1980 the Warriors beat Biggs High School 31-14 and then shutout Sutter High School 27-0 in 1981. Both games were played at Colusa High School on a mutual field.
On Friday, the Wolf Pack could not stop the Warriors ground attack led by Chaz Mathews. Winters scored 34 points in the first half and 20 more in the second for a 54-6 victory. Mathews totaled 176 yards on 14 carries and had four touchdowns. The Trinity defense had a hard time stopping the Warriors offense whether it was Mathews running over and around them or Jacob Lowrie and Luke Vice running by them.
Lowrie completed four of six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 111 yards on eight carries with two touchdowns. Morgan Nicholas had a big night with some big receptions. Nicholas caught three passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. Nicholas used his height advantage to go up and over his opponent to pull down a 30 yard touchdown pass. Jaime Bermudez caught one pass for 15 yards. Vice rushed for 89 yards on just four carries. Ulises Hinojosa had two carries for 28 yards and a touchdown, Nathan Guerrero had one carry for a 12 yard gain and Omar Rodriguez made six of eight PAT kicks.
Defensively the Warriors were led by leading tackler Mitchel Stewart. Stewart totaled nine tackles to lead the team and had an interception. Ivan Martinez had a big defensive night with eight tackles. Mathews had six tackles and a sack. Bermudez and Chris Kays each had five tackles. Bermudez had one sack and Kays had two. Lowrie, Warren Roberson III, Hunter Miller and Jose Bermudez each had four tackles. Hinojosa had three tackles and an interception. Logan Hoskins and Adrian Combs each had three tackles. Miguel Zaragoza, Ricky Riise and Luis Mora each had two tackles, while Damon Burke, Guerrero, Zach Cox, Ryan Soto and Mike Arizaga each had one.
“Our defense is just fun to watch,” said coach Daniel Ward. “They are not big but they fly around and get to the ball. They are very speedy and physical. Sometimes I get caught up watching them instead of thinking about the next offensive series.”
East Nicolaus is coming into the championship game with an overall record of 9-3.
“They are the hottest team in the playoffs right now,” Ward said. “They started the season slow but in the last four games they have been putting up big numbers. They are big up front and have a big running back so it should make for a good game.”