Football: Warriors battle Rams in opener

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On Friday, Aug. 26, the Winters High School varsity football team lost their first game of the season against their biggest rival, the Dixon High School Rams, by a score of 22-42.

Offensively, Justice Madsen and Gio Jimenez fought hard against Dixon’s defensive line and did everything they could to break through. In the first half, quarterback Colton Brown made some clean throws to Madsen for some gained yardage. However, it was ultimately up to Madsen and Jimenez to find the gaps or push their way through Dixon’s strong line.

“I think we have two of the better running backs that we have had in senior Justice Madsen and sophomore Gio Jimenez,” said head coach Daniel Ward.

Two minutes before the end of the first quarter, Madsen was determined to even up the score and used all his power and speed to earn a long 43 yard touchdown for Winters. Jimenez ran in the extra two points, leaving the score tied 8-8 at the end of the first quarter.

With another Dixon touchdown early on in the second quarter, Winters had to fight hard to even up the score again. Ethan Judd, Madsen, Brown and Jimenez made excellent plays during the second quarter. Judd did a great job at finding the gaps and making himself available to receive passes. He received a long pass from Brown and a long pass from Madsen on a fake out, putting his team in optimal position for scoring.

Madsen and Jimenez took care of the rest. Jimenez earned first downs and Madsen ran the ball in with just 15 seconds to spare at the end of the first half.

With the extra point conversion by Sebastian Pedraza, the Warriors were tied 15-15 going into the second half.

“We played pretty well in the first half and it was 15-15 at the half, but in the second half we made too many mistakes,” said Ward.

While the Warriors held their own in the first half the heat of the game got the best of them in the second half, with three Dixon interceptions and the loss of Ethan Demment early on in the first half the Warriors lost their footing and just weren’t able to respond to the plays Dixon was making.

Judd and Ashton Baylor led the team in receiving yards and Madsen and Jimenez came in with a combined 170 rushing yards but it just wasn’t enough to make up for their struggling defense.

“Our defense had a good game plan and did a great job protecting our quarterback, but Dixon has one of the best quarterbacks in the area and he was given the time needed to eventually pick us apart,” Ward said.

Winters’ defense didn’t have the game they had hoped for, but Diego Casillas, Baylor and Jimenez lead the team in tackles and stepped up their defensive game to try to make up for the loss of their defensive leader Demment.

“You could tell that this was our first game, but I am excited to get back to work this week and make the necessary improvements. We have a great group of kids who love the game of football and we have one of the youngest teams that we have ever had,” said Ward.

Dixon is a tough team to beat but next week’s opponent St. Helena High School will bring even more challenges. The Warriors will take on the Saints on Friday, Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in St. Helena.

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