WINSLOW — In theory, the approach is perfect. The high-scoring Winslow High School football team’s offense can’t score if it’s not on the field. If your team can grind out long drives and keep the ball away from the Black Raiders, it has a chance.

In the second quarter of Saturday afternoon’s Big 11 Conference quarterfinal game, Medomak Valley executed that gameplan as well as anybody has against Winslow all season. The Panthers held the ball for a 10 minute, 44 second drive. While it didn’t end with a score, the drive was instrumental in keeping the game close, for a half at least. As well as Medomak Valley played in the first half, Winslow enforced its will in the second, pulling away for a 42-6 win.

“In the first half, they controlled it. In the second half, we controlled it, I guess,” Winslow coach Mike Siviski said.

Winslow, the top seed, is now 8-1, and will host No. 4 Hermon (5-4) next Saturday in the regional semifinals. No. 8 Medomak Valley ends the season at 3-6.

Winslow took a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter on Rob Clark’s 18-yard touchdown run, but barely touched the ball in the second quarter. After forcing a punt, Medomak Valley took the ball at its own 22 with 10:50 left in the second quarter. The Panthers were deliberate in their drive, taking their time and advancing a few yards at a time. Medomak Valley converted two third downs and two fourth downs to extend the drive, which finally ran out of steam at the Winslow 31 with 6.2 seconds left in the half.

“That’s the thing. You come into the game hoping you can get some ball control. They’re just so good, that’s really the only way to stop them. Keep the ball out of their hands. We had the formula there,” Medomak Valley coach Ryan Snell said.

For Winslow, which defeated the Panthers 76-6 in Week 3 of the regular season, the slim 6-0 halftime lead was a wakeup call.

“They got a lot better. They got their back (Drew Severson) back. We were not performing as well as we could’ve,” Clark said. “We came out second half, our line did a lot better job, everyone just doing their job.”

The Black Raiders scored quickly in the third quarter, taking the opening drive 53 yards in seven plays after Arron Erving recovered Medomak Valley’s onside kick to start the half. Marek Widerynski caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Colby Pomeroy, and Pomeroy connected with Nathan Newgard on the 2-point try for a 14-0 lead.

“We had some fire in us. Our coaches were pretty upset (at halftime). We were just putting it to them, the line did a great job,” Clark, who ran for a game-high 179 yards on 19 carries, said. “The first half, we didn’t come out as strong as we’d like to, but second half we picked it up.”

After a Bryce Gunzinger interception gave the Black Raiders the ball at the Panthers 23, Clark ran the ball three consecutive times. The final run went for 11 yards and a touchdown to push Winslow’s lead to 21-0. After forcing a Medomak Valley punt, Winslow scored again, this time an 18-yard Pomeroy to Cody Ivey pass, and the lead was 28-0 with 3:13 left in the third quarter.

“The kids gave it a great bid in the first half. They just make you run out of gas. They’re (Winslow) so big and strong across the board. Our kids compete, we just don’t have that size and strength they have right now. I think you saw that in the second half,” Snell said.

Medomak Valley scored its only touchdown on a 59-yard run by Severson with 1:40 left in the third quarter. Injured much of the season, Severson finished with 122 yards on 17 carries.

“When we’re healthy, we have no question in our mind, we’re a top four team in this conference. We wanted to approach this like it was a semifinal game. We finally got healthy on both sides of the football last week, the first time since the second quarter of Week 2,” Snell said.

Isaiah Goldsmith had touchdown runs of 11 and 26 yards in the fourth quarter to close the scoring for Winslow.

“We know we’ve got to improve our play up front on both sides of the ball. We had all we could with Hermon the first game,” Siviski said referencing his team’s 37-14 win over Hermon two weeks ago.

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