In the first round playoff game of the Northern Section CIF Division IV playoffs, the Winters High School varsity football team traveled to Arbuckle to take on the Pierce High School Bears. The Warriors headed north on I-505 on Friday, Nov. 10, with hopes of repaying the Bears for their 21-7 loss to them the week before in the league championship game.
Unfortunately, early turnovers plagued the Warriors and led to a Pierce 33-7 first quarter lead. In the second quarter, Winters regrouped and put 21 more points on the board to make it a 39-28 halftime Bears lead. Led by junior quarterback Daniel Carrion, the game turned into an old-fashioned football shutout and ended in a 53-46 loss for the Warriors, but not before some exceptional play.
Carrion totaled 422 of the Warriors’ 445 yards and scored six of the seven touchdowns. In the air, Carrion completed 10 of 12 passes for 171 yards with two touchdowns and carried the ball 21 times for 251 yards and four touchdowns.
“He had an incredible game,” said coach Daniel Ward. “I don’t remember anyone putting up numbers like that.”
Thomas Kakutani was the favorite target for Carrion, catching three passes for 51 yards and two touchdowns. Sammy Gonzales made his presence known with four receptions for 49 yards. Atlas Martinez caught one pass for 42 yards, Dalton Lowrie had one catch for 21 yards and Anthony Jimenez caught one for eight yards. On the ground, Lowrie had 32 yards on three carries. Gonzales carried the ball three times for 10 yards and Jimenez had four carries for one. Gonzales made 5 of 6 PAT kicks.
The Warriors ended the 2017 season with a 5-5 overall record and were 2-2 in league. Considering they started the season with 14 players on the field, it’s amazing that they finished the season, let alone made the playoffs and were fighting for a league championship at the end of the regular season.
“It was a crazy season,” Ward said. “This was a great group of kids that battled to the end. Just like Friday night, we were down 33-7 and they just kept fighting back and chipping away at the lead. There were some plays that we would like to have back, but that’s football.”