The Winters High School football teams travelled to Rio Vista for a non-conference game against the Rio Vista High School Rams on Friday, Sept. 10.
The Warriors varsity team out-rammed Rio Vista with a score of 48-27. The Warriors didn’t started strong, considering the loss they took the week prior — the Rams put 13 points on the board within the first two minutes of the game. However, Winters was able to redeem themselves quickly.
“I was proud of the maturity and composure of our kids … we never panicked or strayed from our game plan and played really good football from there on out,” said head varsity coach Daniel Ward.
The Warriors knew they would have to have better control over the line of scrimmage and run the ball effectively if they wanted to win. The Warriors also took advantage of all the talent they have and were able to run more than 275 yards, with five different players. This strategy gave the Warriors a huge advantage since the Rams never knew who would be carrying the ball.
“We also took advantage of our red zone chances and were great inside the 20 yard line. We were five and five with scoring touchdowns in the red zone,” said Ward.
Players Justice Madsen, Connor Ray, Matt Moore, Memo Valadez and David Reyes all contributed to the win this week by running the ball for the Warriors. Valadez, Ray and Reyes — along with Grayson Roberts — were also instrumental players in receiving the ball. While all of these players performed extremely well, it was Madsen that carried the team Friday night with 10 carries for a total of 136 yards and three touchdowns.
“[Madsen] was the best player on the field Friday night and he was explosive with the ball in his hands,” said Ward.
Madsen worked for each and every yard he ran. He ran for more than 40 yards for two of his touchdowns, while breaking through several of Rio Vista’s defensive players.
Alongside Madsen, Ray once again proved himself to be an extremely well-rounded player. He carried the ball 89 yards, earning two touchdowns for the Warriors. Not only did he excel in his ability to rush the ball and earn those tough yards, but he also showed great consistency in blocking for other runners so they were able to gain first downs.
Quarterback Matt Moore also made a lot of effort in the game against Rio Vista, successfully completing 11 out of 15 throws for 208 yards and two touchdowns.
“We did not throw it as much as we have because we were in control of the game most of the night, and running the ball so effectively, but Matt was very accurate and took advantage of the big plays when they were there,” said Ward.
Valadez, Reyes and Roberts also played a memorable offensive game. They all completed game-changing catches at critical moments for more than 200 yards and 10 catches combined. Reyes and Valadez each received passes that resulted in a touchdown, putting more points on the board for the Warriors.
While the Winters varsity football team played an exciting offensive game, the defensive team also did an excellent job. Linebacker Javier Bermudez performed very well, leading the Warriors defensively with nine tackles. He read the opposing team and was able to make a lot of plays at the line of scrimmage or behind it, making Rio Vista work even harder for their first downs.
“Besides the first play of the game, we were much better against the pass this week,” said Ward.
Defensive backs Reyes, Valadez, Roberts and Evan Davis all put a stop to any tackles the linemen may have missed. Ethan Demment and Logan Spears also did an exceptional job at defensive end, putting pressure on the Rio Vista quarterback and forcing him to make unplanned throws.
The Winters junior varsity football team won their game against Rio Vista by a score of 28-0.
After a disappointing loss against St. Helena in the week prior, the Warriors had to evaluate their areas of focus leading up to the game against Rio Vista to ensure that they were well conditioned and ready to push back.
“We worked pretty hard on getting some of the guys who aren’t normally in the game focused on learning the plays so we could utilize them when the starters get tired,” said junior varsity assistant coach Rudy Baylor.
The focus that was put into strengthening the team as a whole worked out in the Warriors favor. By strengthening the second string, the Warriors shut down any attempt that Rio Vista made to advance into the end zone.
Offensively, the Warriors played a great game. Isaiah Pazmino, Sebastian Valadez, Edwardo Reyes and Gio Jimenez all put points on the board for the Warriors, scoring touchdowns. Colton Brown, was also an instrumental player in earning first downs for the Warriors with at least 100 rushing yards and 75 yards passing.
While these five players worked extremely hard and had an amazing game, Julian Herrera and Armando Balderama stepped up and proved their skillset when they were thrown in as starters after a few of their teammates showed up without being properly equipped.
“The whole game was impressive … our second string went out and competed and was a great opportunity for them to learn in a real game setting and they did an amazing job,” said junior varsity head coach Chris Kays.
While the Warriors played a great offensive game, their defensive game was even more impressive. Diego Castillas and Jimenez played a great defensive game, using aggression and making strong tackles to prevent Rio Vista from gaining the yardage they needed. Nathan Figueroa and Derrick Olson both stepped up as a defensive end and nose guard with impressive tackles and blocks.
Michael Jimenez technically had a forced fumble and locked down his side of the field the whole night. Finally, Rio Vista was able to get within 20 yards of their end zone, threatening to score, only to be shut down completely by Ashton Baylor who intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards which kept them from scoring.
The Warriors will play in their second away game this coming Friday, Sept. 17 with their next home game scheduled for Friday, Sept. 24 at Dr. Sellers Field.