NEWPORT — The first half of Saturday’s game was one the Nokomis Regional High School football team can build upon, and one the Winslow football team would just as soon forget.
“We were just really slow. We didn’t come out ready to play. That’s one of the things we need to work on. It’s crazy. It’s not good,” Winslow’s Dylan Hapworth said.
After a scoreless first half, Winslow got the spark it needed when Hapworth returned the second half kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown. From there, it was all Black Raiders, and Winslow took a 21-0 win.
Winslow improved to 4-0, while Nokomis is now 1-3.
“We were ready to play, and I think they were super-ready to play. (Nokomis) has improved a tremendous amount,” Winslow head coach Mike Siviski said.
Hapworth’s kick return came on a low, line drive kickoff. Hapworth caught it on the run at the 25-yard line, and made a straight sprint, untouched, to the end zone.
“I just got it on the run. We’ve been practicing the kickoff returns a lot, and we’ve never broke one, not in a few years,” Hapworth said.
Added Siviski: “(Hapworth) hit it just right, and it opened up. The seas seemed to part, and he took right off.”
Hapworth (28 carries for 152 yards) added a touchdown run of 13 yards late in the third quarter, and his 20-yard touchdown run with 4:44 left in the game put the game out of reach.
“I think they wore us down a bit. That’s what good teams do,” Nokomis head coach Matt O’Connell said.
Nokomis had more scoring chances than the Black Raiders in the first half, but couldn’t capitalize. The Warriors had the ball in Winslow territory four times in the first half. Nokomis opening drive started at the Winslow 45 after a Noah Kershner 51-yard kick return, but the Warriors lost the ball on downs at the Winslow 29.
In the second quarter, Nokomis began a drive at Winslow’s 29 after Zach McFarlin recovered a fumble, but stalled at the 13. In the second half, the Warriors crossed midfield just once.
“We needed to score in the first half when we had opportunities, and I didn’t get us in the end zone. That’s all on me, completely,” O’Connell said.
Michael Clark and Kenny Rickard each had a sack for Winslow, and Jacob Trask had an interception for the Black Raiders.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242