The Dixon Rams came to battle head-to-head with the Winters Warriors for their first football game of the season at Dr. Sellers Field on Friday, Aug. 27.
JV Football The Winters High School junior varsity football team beat their biggest rival, the Dixon Rams by a score of 18-7. Winters came out ready to play and had an outstanding first quarter, scoring two drives back-to-back, setting the tone of the game.
“Our offensive line did a great job at getting to the second level and sticking to their assigned block, which opened it up for our running back,” said Chris Kays, junior varsity head football coach.
Gabriel Jimenez, the primary running back for the Warriors, worked extremely hard. He was involved in almost every play by either picking up blocks or using his speed to run the ball hard — even while carrying three Rams defenders at times. Jimenez had a rushing touchdown run that was close to 100 yards, if not more.
Starting quarterback Colton Brown stood out offensively with two rushing touchdowns. Brown ran hard throughout the entire game and never went backwards with contact.
“When a quarterback runs tough, it fuels the fire to the team,” said Kays.
While the Winter’s offense was charged by Brown’s aggressive runs, Winter’s defense did just as well. The Warrior defense was able to shut down just about every play Dixon tried to make — only allowing one Dixon touchdown up the middle and extremely close to the end zone. Assistant coach Rudy Baylor mentioned how impressed he was with how the defense functioned as one unit, working to make several team tackles.
“The defensive line as a whole shut down every attempt Dixon made at running the ball… I really don’t know the exact stats, but I bet Dixon only ran about 50 yards,” said Baylor.
While the Warrior defense worked well together, Cameron Higgings, Sebastian Valadez, Diego Casillas and Jimenez all played especially well. Higgings went above and beyond, blocking Dixon’s offensive players on the outside line throughout the entire game, ultimately forcing Dixon through the center where Winters’ linebackers were able to stop their advance.
Linebackers Valadez and Jimenez were consistently on top of Dixon’s offense, stopping them from putting points on the board. Casillas also played a great defensive game at safety, where he was able to deflect several Dixon Ram passes, preventing them from gaining yardage.
Varsity Football The WHS varsity football team also won their first home non-conference game against Dixon, by a score of 37-26 last Friday. The Dixon Rams are Winters biggest rival and the stands were packed with fans who had been eagerly awaiting what was destined to be a great game.
“It was great to see fans back in the stands and the kids needed to be out there on the field having fun. Beating our cross-town rival was just icing on the cake,” said Daniel Ward, varsity football head coach.
The Winters varsity football team started off extremely strong, putting 30 points on the board within the first 18 minutes of the game. Matt Moore, Memo Valadez, Ethan Judd, Connor Ray and Justice Madsen were all instrumental players in the Warriors offensive game.
Moore, their starting quarterback, contributed significantly to Winters’ victory, scoring two touchdowns and successfully completing 16 out of the 24 passes, giving the Warriors 279 yards in the game. Valadez and Judd were both on the receiving end of Moore’s passes.
Valadez consistently made himself available to receive seven catches in big situations and critical moments, giving the Warriors 120 yards in the game. Valadez also made an impressive diving one-handed catch that Ward noted as one of the best catches he has ever seen. Judd executed a great offensive game by finding gaps and opening himself up to receive four passes and running a 70-yard touchdown.
Ray and Madsen also stood out offensively, based on their exceptional effort to gain yardage, putting Winters in the optimal positions to score. Madsen had five carries and an impressive 60-yard touchdown, while Ray had 13 carries and two touchdowns, playing a great game all around, including blocking and pass protection.
“We have a chance to be one of the best offenses that we have had in a long time, and our ability to throw the ball makes us extremely dangerous,” Ward said.
While the Warriors took the lead early on in the game with a score of 30-6, they made some crucial errors, allowing the Rams to score several times in the second quarter, putting the score at 30-20 at halftime.
While mistakes were made, the Warriors defense did play a solid game overall. Winters was able to hold Dixon at 26 yards rushing, had three sacks and forced three turnovers. Ethan Demment played a great defensive game with seven tackles and two game-changing sacks when the Warriors needed them most.
Madsen, Logan Spears and Javier Bermudez also played a very impressive defensive game. Madsen made several big plays behind the line of scrimmage with five tackles, two of which resulted in a loss on yardage for Dixon, and one sack.
David Reyes, Evan Davis and Grayson Roberts also did a great job in pass coverage and broke up a lot of Dixon passes. One of the most notable moments of the game was Roberts’ interception at the end of the game where he leaped in front of a Dixon player on a return, preventing Dixon from advancing any further.
“With everything going on with COVID, fires and smoke, the best part was just being able to kick off and actually play the game,” noted Ward.
The next home game is Friday with JV kicking off at 5:30 p.m.