NEWPORT — Take teams built on physicality and running the ball and put them in the pouring rain, and you’re bound to get a game like this.

Nokomis claimed a 36-14 win over Winslow in a rare school-day afternoon football game Monday. The Warriors dominated possession to win a wet battle in the trenches and claim the program’s first-ever victory over the Black Raiders.

“We knew it was going to play out like this,” said Nokomis head coach Jake Rogers. “In the two good games we’ve had, this game and the MCI game, we’ve been able to be physical and (dominate possession). That’s our M.O.; it’s who we are, and if we want to win games, we have to do it.”

Nokomis ran 64 plays to Winslow’s 28. All but five of those plays for the Warriors came on the ground as running backs Seth Bowden (28 carries, 134 yards, two touchdowns) and Landon Rowell (21 carries, 111 yards, two touchdowns) moved the ball consistently throughout the game.

With few pass plays, injuries or penalties, a fast first quarter went by scoreless. Winslow turned Nokomis (2-1) over on downs in plus territory late in the quarter, but the Black Raiders had their own drive stalled just outside the red zone early in the second as the Warriors came up with a fourth-down stop.

Nokomis went up 12-0 in a flash. First, the Warriors followed their key stop with a 13-play, 71-yard drive that culminated in an 8-yard touchdown run by Bowden. Then, after recovering a kickoff that Winslow mistakenly failed to field at the visitors’ 22, Nokomis doubled the lead on a 21-yard pass from Logan Washburn to Jacob Cote.


Nokomis quarterback Logan Washburn fires a pass over Winslow defender Matthew Quirion, left, during a football game Monday in Newport. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“(Their guy) kept saying, ‘Poison!’ which means to get away from the ball, and I was kind of thinking, ‘What the heck?’ This is a kickoff,’” said Nokomis’ Rowell, who recovered the kickoff following the Winslow miscue. “I just heard my teammates yelling, ‘That’s live! Dive on it!’ so I dove on it, and then we scored again.”

Winslow (2-1) would answer just before half on a 16-yard run by Broddik Bimpson. Yet Nokomis hit back twice on its first two drives of the third quarter, first on a 2-yard run by Rowell and again on a 6-yard run by Bowden four players after the Black Raiders fumbled to follow Rowell’s score.

Ever-resilient, Winslow cut the deficit to 28-14 late in the third quarter as Izaiah Costigan hit Nolan Kelly for a 10-yard touchdown pass. The Black Raiders got the ball back after a sack-fumble early in the fourth, but Bowden would then intercept Costigan before scoring from 38 yards out for the game’s final points.

Nokomis keeping the ball away from Winslow prevented the Black Raiders from putting it in the hands of star running back Matt Quirion, who ran the ball just five times for 62 yards. Preventing Quirion from running wild was a point of emphasis for the Warriors, whose coach was fully wary of the Winslow junior.

Winslow quarterback Izaiah Costigan pitches the ball to Liem Fortin as Nokomis defends the play during a football game Monday in Newport. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“Quirion is a special kid, and he scares me,” Rogers said. “I would have liked to put some subs in there toward the end, but I was petrified that, if I did, he was going to take it and score for them immediately. He’s just that type of player; he’s a tough kid, and I have big-time respect for him.”

The game had originally been scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday but was pushed to Monday afternoon as the remnants of Hurricane Lee blew through the state. After Nokomis had been shut out 32-0 against Medomak Valley the week prior, getting extra rest and preparation time was a bonus.

“We usually have a game Saturday and then take Sunday off, so we just took it as two extra days to recover and get those extra plays down,” Rowell said. “We were kind of struggling the week before to understand plays, so we used (the extra time) to study and get ready.”

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