The Winters Blizzards welcomed the Ranger Bulldogs to town and gave them a sound thrashing in a game that was never in question. The rain that had fallen most of the day took a timeout for the Blizzards’ homecoming gam and gave way to a storm of Blizzards touchdowns that sank Ranger’s game plan.
Ranger came into the game with 1 win on the season, against a winless Roby team by a score of 28-6. When their busses pulled out of Winters after the Winters game, they still had only one win on the season.
If it’s one thing that coach McCarty and his team have proven this season, it’s that you better bring your “A” game when you face them. You mistakes will be magnified and Winters will take advantage of them. Stepping onto the turf in Blizzards stadium is akin to stepping into the OK corral and you must have a sound plan if you want to have a chance at winning. Winters pounds the football time and again with senior quarterback Javon Young, junior running back Sema’Jee Jackson, senior running back Slater Lindley, senior running back Nick Brown and an offensive line that manhandles defenses.
The offensive linemen are three yards downfield in a flash on the running plays. Individually, the linemen are a blend of strength and stamina due to great conditioning and a strong grasp of the fundamentals, but together they’re a tidal surge that the runners can cruise in with and use to help make big gains.
The first touchdown came on a 20 yard run by Brown. Young converted the 2-point conversion and Winters took the lead 8-0. After the kickoff Ranger failed to make any progress so had to punt. Winters made some steady gains on runs and then Lindley powered through like a wrecking ball into the defense and broke out for a 32 yard touchdown run. Young once again converted the 2-point conversion and Winters led 16-0.
Once again Ranger failed to gain any first downs after they received the kickoff. They went for it on fourth down and didn’t make it so they turned the ball over on downs. Young broke out a beautiful 46 yard touchdown run that was called back for holding. It didn’t even slow down the Blizzards onslaught. Two plays after the penalty Young broke out a 50 yard sweep as he okie-doked a defensive lineman and two linebackers who tackled nothing but air and brought the score to 24-0.
Young’s ability to seemingly change direction in the air fooled the defenders time and again. His speed and agility make him almost impossible for defenders to put a hand on, much less tackle.
Ranger once again failed to move the ball and the Blizzards took over. They made it to the Ranger 1 yard line when they fumbled and the Bulldogs took over with no room for error. The Bulldogs moved the ball one yard on the next play but on the following play a bad snap resulted in the quarterback having to fall on the ball in their own end zone and giving the Blizzards a safety. The score was now 26-0 and you knew that the Blizzards were on cruise control.
On Winters’ next possession, Jackson broke through the defense and sprinted out a 20 yard touchdown run, bringing the score to 32-0. The 2-point conversion failed. Winters kicked off and the Bulldogs kick returner muffed the catch and put Ranger starting out on their own 7 yard line. They got one first down but stalled on the 17 yard line. Their punter shanked the punt and it only travelled a disappointing two yards. As Winters started moving the ball, Young dropped back to pass and tried to hit Jackson in the back corner of the end zone but was intercepted by the Ranger cornerback. Following a foul after the play, Ranger started in the best field position of the night on their 45 yard line.
Just as you felt that the Bulldogs were going to make progress, their quarterback got sacked and coughed up the ball. Blizzards junior outside linebacker Ethan Sanchez scooped up the ball and took it to the house for another touchdown. The 2 point score failed and the score was 38-0.
Winters kicked off and once again the Bulldogs’ returner muffed the catch but was bailed out by a penalty, giving Ranger the ball on the 30 yard line. The same story repeated again as Ranger failed to make any progress and punted on fourth down. And, once again, the punter shanked the punt but instead of going two yards as it previously had, the ball travelled 4 yards as the Blizzards started out on the Ranger 34 yard line. After steadily moving the ball, Jackson took the rock and pounded out a 21 yard touchdown run. The 2 point conversion was good and the score stood at 46-0 at halftime.
Winters put up two more scores in the second half as they mainly played ball control to run the time out without running up the score. The stats for the game were video game-like numbers. Young rushed 10 times for 144 yards and 1 touchdown, Brown rushed 13 times for 96 yards and 1 touchdown, Jackson rushed 4 times for 53 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lindley pounded out 34 yards and 1 touchdown on 3 carries while Malakye Kelly rushed twice for 18 yards. In all, the team rushed 32 times for 345 yards, creating an incredible 10.7 yards per carry. When you average a first down on every carry the other team doesn’t have a chance. The Blizzards also put 5 rushing touchdowns and 2 defensive scores on the board.
Jackson, our Player Of The Week, had a monster game. In addition to his 4 rushes for 53 yards and 2 touchdowns, he picked up a fumble and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown and returned an interception 40 yards for another touchdown. He is a quarterback’s worst nightmare.
This Friday Winters will ride their 4 game win streak out to Christoval to take on the 3-1 Cougars. Christoval has been lukewarm at best the season, scoring 100 points while giving up 94 over the four games. Christoval’s passing game is non-existent as they have gone 18 for 36 for 229 yards while tossing 2 touchdowns to 6 interceptions. Their rushing game is averaging 237 yards per game with an average of 6.2 yards per carry. Christoval has won its last 2 games by a total of just 3 points.
The fearsome defensive front of the Blizzards have the ability to intimidate offenses into making mistakes, especially offenses that have a poor game. The Blizzards blitzkrieg defensive line plays more in the offenses backfield than on the line of scrimmage. They are fast, they are strong and they have agility. Schools who don’t have an offensive line that can stand up to that onslaught will give up sacks and tackles for loss and the Blizzards will have good field position. If Christoval decides for an air assault, players like Jackson and others can make the big interceptions and gain big yards on the return.
Many of Winters defensive backs are better at receiving than their opponents own receivers. Any 50/50 pass that an opposing quarterback puts up becomes a 90/10 advantage for the Winters defensive backs and linebackers. Winters is not short of talent on either side of the ball and their return game with Lindley as the returner is sure to get a workout if they can stop Christoval’s running game.
The game against Christoval will start the beginning of crunch time for the Blizzards. The game the following week is against a 4-0 Iraan team that is only giving up an average of 10 points per game. Following that game they start district play against the 3-1 Hawley Bearcats then take on the 4-0 Stamford Bulldogs. The Christoval game will be a good measure of their resolve and can send them into the crucible of Hawley and Stamford with some good momentum. Coach McCarty and his staff are more than capable of preparing the Blizzards for those games and helping them add a few more tally marks in the “Win” column.
Miles falls to Baird Bears
The Baird Bears roared into Miles to face down the Bulldogs and ran off with a win. Miles looked to have things under control when the first quarter ended with Miles leading by a score of 13-7. Neither team was able to put up any points or make a dent in the score in the second quarter and the game went into halftime with the same13-7 score.
In the third quarter Baird was able to strike with a touchdown and even the score at 13-13. Miles failed to put any points on the board in the third and fourth quarters. In the fourth quarter Baird took the lead as they scored 12 points and brought the score to 25-13.
Baird had only given up an average of 15 points in their first three games and were able to stifle a Miles offense that seemed to be off to a good start in the first quarter. The 13 points that Miles put up appeared to be a wakeup call for the Baird defense that didn’t allow another point and not many first downs.
With their defense handling the Bulldogs, the Bears offense opened up and was able to rush for 44 times for 289 yards. They averaged 6.6 yards per carry. Bears senior running back Jax Bellar broke out with a 92 yard sprint and ended the game with 4 touchdowns. The Bulldogs defense had no answer for Bellar who also caught 2 passes for 74 yards. They Bulldogs’ defense held junior quarterback Tray Price to just 54 yards on 19 carries but Bellar was an insurmountable task for a normally stingy Miles defense that gave up just under 20 points per game in the their first 3 contests.
The loss brings Miles’ record to 2-2 on the season. Their offense has scored 162 points over 4 games for a 40 point average while keeping their average points given up per game at 20. Miles has the ability to strike quickly and put a lot of points on the board as illustrated by their 67 points against Ranger and 53 points against Roby. The normally productive offense was shut down by the Bears staunch defense.
The Bulldogs’ next game is against a 0-4 Munday team that has allowed 140 points this season while scoring a paltry 35 points over 4 games. Hamlin put 58 points on the board against Munday and Miles could do the same if they can get their offense back in synch.
After Munday’s game Miles has a bye week. Following their bye week the Bulldogs begin district play against stingy a 2-2 Menard team that is only giving up 17 points per game.