One day's notice. That's how much time Red Wing knew in advance that they'd be traveling to Winona on Saturday for a game. Not one day of practice to prepare for the Winhawks either, as the game was added to the schedule late Friday.
This week had been an open date for Red Wing since the schedule was first released prior to the season. With no luck finding an opponent, the Wingers were prepared to play just a five-game schedule this fall. However, Albert Lea was forced to cancel its planned game with Winona leaving the Winhawks without an opponent as well. At the 11th hour, the two teams found a way to get a game scheduled for a Saturday matinee kickoff.
With no time for either team to adequately prepare for their new opponent, it was a bit of a mixed bag for both teams even though Winona prevailed in the end with a 24-0 victory.
Winona opened the game with a 13-play 74-yard touchdown drive, gaining an early 7-0 lead. From there however, the Winhawks wouldn't have another drive eclipse six plays and that first drive accounted for more than one-quarter of their total yardage.
Red Wing wasn't effective on offense either as their first four possession resulted in three punts and one turnover on downs. In the first half, Red Wing gained 73 yards — of which 23 came on a completion to Maurice Rosebear before the half ended.
After Winona's first-drive touchdown, they were held to just three first downs in the first half. Working against Red Wing though was that Winona had two plays of 20-plus yards and their average starting field position was their own 44-yard line. With a short field to work with, Winona added another touchdown and a field goal before the end of the half to open up a 17-0 lead heading into the break.
The second half was much of the same as both teams combined for two first downs in the third quarter. The big play bit the Wingers once again however, as Winona connected on a 38-yard touchdown pass to increase their lead to 24-0.
Red Wing started to consistently move the ball in the fourth quarter as all three of their possessions reached at least the Winona 23-yard line. The Wingers couldn't convert any of those possessions into points though as two drives ended with an interception and the other was a failed fourth-down conversion.
Extending drives was once again the primary issue plaguing Red Wing in the loss. The Wingers went 2-for-15 on third down and 0-for-5 on fourth. They also lost the turnover battle by throwing three interceptions — although one was a last-ditch heave to end the first half. The other two turnovers however, were both inside Winona's 20-yard line.
In Cooper Chandler's second game back, he went 7-for-18 passing for 72 yards and three interceptions. Wyatt Gonsior was the recipient of three passes, gaining 28 yards. Rosebear caught one pass for 23 yards and Reese Tripp added two receptions for 13 yards.
On the ground, Antonio Finley had a team-high 18 carries for 62 yards. Nick Knie added 26 yards on six carries and Kaleb Hove carried the ball seven times for 20 yards.
Red Wing, 0-3, is the host for the first time this season as Lake City visits next Friday.