On Friday, Nov. 12, the Winters High School varsity football team lost their away playoff game against University Prep by a score of 42-0.
While this score isn’t what the Warriors had hoped for it doesn’t reflect just how well Winters actually competed.
“University Prep was the number one seed and probably the best team we played all year, and the game was close for most of the first half,” said head varsity coach Daniel Ward.
Due to losing several players throughout the year, six of the WHS junior varsity players were brought up to help make up the difference in players and attempted to help the Warriors fight against the Panthers.
“We ended up starting two freshmen on defense, Sebastian Valadez and Nathan Figueroa, and they are both going to be special football players down the road as long as they keep up the hard work,” said Ward.
In addition to the additions of Sebastian and Figueroa, the team had David Reyes back after having to sit out the last three games with an injury. Reyes proved how much he missed the game with eight catches, leading the Warriors in yardage gained.
“I was excited for him that he got to play one last game and finish his high school career out on the field after starting for us the last three years,” said Ward.
The Warriors struggled up front this season, losing five of their starting linemen and still suffering from the impact of the pandemic, the varsity football team was left facing teams that were ultimately bigger and stronger.
“We really need to restart up our offseason program and get back in the weight room,” said Ward.
Despite these challenges, Ward said the Warriors had the best passing team that WHS has ever seen, throwing for more yards this year than anyone else in the entire section. Matt Moore and Memo Valadez, together, broke the record for most passes completed and most passing yards completed. Moore threw for over 2,500 yards and Memo had 67 catches for over 1,152 yards in the season.
“Matt Moore will go down as the best quarterback to come through Winters High School…he is the smartest player I have ever coached and is a great teammate and role model,” said Ward.
Moore not only broke the passing record for WHS, but also demonstrated his intelligence and leadership abilities throughout the entire season. Between his record breaking year, smart playing and leadership abilities it makes complete sense that he already has a couple offers that will allow him to continue playing football next year.
“I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes at the collegiate level,” said Ward.
While Moore had an extremely impressive season, his great success wouldn’t have been possible without Memo being on the receiving end of the ball. Memo always found a way to get open and used his great hands to ensure the yardage for the Warriors. It was evident throughout the season that Moore and Memo trusted and leaned on each other to execute the plays that were critical to their success.
“I am excited for him (Memo) and all the success that he had this year. He is extremely tough, never came off the field and played every game,” said Ward.
Ethan Demment is another player that stood out this season. Demment did a great job on both sides of the ball for the Warriors and worked extremely hard on and off the field.
“He has the chance to be one of the best lineman that we have had and I am hoping he can be a leader for us this offseason,” said Ward.