Winslow’s Benjamin Dorval (41) carries the ball past Nokomis’ Quinton Richards during a game Saturday in Newport. Photo by Jennifer Bechard

NEWPORT — When the football teams at Winslow and Nokomis high schools saw the schedule for the 2018 season, each knew opening day was going to a challenge. Winslow saw the trip to Nokomis as a test against one of the most improved teams in the region. Nokomis saw the game as a visit from a perennial powerhouse.

Saturday’s game at Nokomis was as tight as expected, with Winslow just a little better. The Black Raiders held off the Warriors with a chance to tie the game late, then scored to put it away and take a 28-20 win.

“A tough opening win against a very good team. We’re happy to get the win,” Winslow coach Mike Siviski said.

“It’s good to have it at the beginning of the season. Get battle tested early and see what we’re made of,” Winslow quarterback Colby Pomeroy said.

Nokomis’ Alex Costedio carries the ball past Winslow’s Ronan Drummond during a game Saturday in Newport. Photo by Jennifer Bechard

After a Winslow turnover, Nokomis took control of the ball at the Black Raider 34 with 4:45 to play, down 22-14. With 2:06 left, Alex Costedio scored on a 5 yard run to pull the Warriors with two points. On the 2-point conversion try, quarterback Andrew Haining was forced to scramble to his right, buying time before his pass back across the middle fell incomplete, and the Black Raiders held their two point lead.

“It’s a play we run. It’s supposed to get the flat open,” Nokomis coach Jake Rogers said of the 2-point attempt.

The play was indicative of the entire game for the Nokomis offense, which struggled to find rhythm in the passing attack. Haining was just 5 of 14 for 43 yards with an interception by Marek Widerynski. Nokomis’ longest pass play went for just 12 yards.

“We knew what coverage we were in for every set they were in, and we just executed. I don’t know how many completions they had. Not many,” Pomeroy said.

Added Rogers: “On film they’re so deceiving with their size. You can’t tell how big somebody is on film. Their DB’s (defensive backs), they match our height. That’s one advantage we have, and they trumped us in it.”

Even with the passing game struggling, Nokomis was able to move the ball on the ground. The Warriors opening drive went 47 yards in 12 plays, helped by a Winslow roughing the passer penalty on a fourth down that extend the drive. Costedio scored on a 7 yard run with 4:53 left in the first quarter, giving Nokomis a 7-0 lead.

Winslow answered late in the second, when Pomeroy scored on a 5 yard keeper. Kicker Bryce Gunzinger ran in the 2-point try on a fake extra point, taking a Pomeroy pitch and beating a Nokomis defender to the right pylon for an 8-7 Winslow lead at the half.

Nokomis retook the lead on the opening drive of the second half, marching 74 yards in 10 plays, with Haining scoring on a 1 yard keeper for a 14-8 lead. It took Winslow just six plays to regain the lead, with Alex Demers scoring on a 2 yard before adding the 2-point conversion rush and a 16-14 lead.

Widerynski’s interception set up Winslow’s next scoring drive, which was extended by a Nokomis unsportsmanlike penalty on a fourth down punt. This time, Demers plowed into the endzone on fourth and goal from the 1, and the Black Raiders led by eight points, 22-14.

“We went back to base, really, and moved the ball. Long possessions, kill the clock, and eventually we got some touchdowns,” Pomeroy said.

After recovering an onside kick following Nokomis’ final score, the Black Raiders iced the game with Ben Dorval’s 33 yard touchdown run with 1:35 to play. The Warriors final chance ended when Winslow’s Cody Ivey recovered a fumble with 1:15 left. The Black Raiders ran for 234 yards, with Isaiah Goldsmith (75 yards) and Dorval (65 yards) leading the way.

Rogers said mistakes in key situations were the difference in the game.

“Having too many men on the field twice killed us. We had a couple fumbles. Not bearing down on defense, reading our keys. Do it (well) for three plays, then get a little lax. I got outcoached. I’d say it was a team loss,” Rogers said. “It was two good teams playing each other, and it was who’s going to make more mistakes? It was us.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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