Deja Vu for Packers

Published 2:22 am Saturday, September 20, 2008

WINONA — It was another good showing and another close loss for the Austin football team as it lost at Winona 29-26 Friday.

For the third straight week, the Packers (1-3 overall, 0-3 Big Nine) had a late drive with a chance to leave and once again they were stopped.

After Winona’s Mitch Jacobsen capped a 7 play, 64 yard drive to put the Winhawks up 29-26 with 5:25 left in the game, the Packers managed just one first down on their ensuing possession before turning it over on downs at their own 38-yard line.

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This is the third straight loss where the Packers have not been able to convert a late drive.

“(Having those chances) tells us we’re always in the game,” Austin head coach Tim Hermann said. “The problem is we’re not doing enough in the first three quarters to be ahead so the last drive doesn’t mean so much.”

On Austin’s final drive, after Jerrad Ryks gained 11 yards on two carries, Nate Justice threw an incomplete pass and was stopped for a one yard loss due to a low snap. On third down from the Austin 40-yard line, Justice threw a screen to Dan Collier that lost two yards, and on fourth down, Justice threw a deep pass to Marcus Gunderson that fell incomplete.

“We couldn’t really get anything on third down. They were reading that screen pass all day,” Austin tight end John Maxfield said.

In a game that went back and forth all night, Austin had a 26-22 lead with 8:41 left in the fourth when Ryks busted off an 11-yard scoring run shortly after he had gained a yard on fourth and one to keep the possession alive. Ryks finished with 156 yards rushing and three scores — one of which came on a fourth and three in the third quarter when the junior back bounced off tackle for five yards.

“I have nothing but good things to say about our offense tonight,” Hermann said. “Nate is starting to get what it is to be the guy that’s leading the ship and Jerrad did a great job. I have all the confidence in the world that these guys are gonna play. All of the sudden, it’s gonna happen. All of the sudden is getting close to the end, but I can’t feel bad about this. It wasn’t 50-2, it was close and we’ve had three close ones in a row. We’ve got to get it going the right way.”

Maxfield, who had 91 yards receiving Friday, echoed his coach’s sentiments on losing three games in a row by one score or less.

“It just gets real frustrating. We’re so close and we’re just one play away from being perfect. It’s tough to keep on losing like this when we know we should be winning,” he said.

Special teams hurt the Packers as they had a punt blocked for a safety on their opening possession and they missed a P.A.T. after their first score.

“The kicking game did not do the job for us once again,” Hermann said. “It just seems to come down to one phase of the game seems to hurt us. They’re well coached and their offense did a good job, but we put them in position to have the edge on us by not doing a good job with the kicking game right off the bat.”

The Packers defense couldn’t protect a 12-9 lead at the end of the first half, when the Winhawks (3-1 overall, 2-1 Big Nine) drove 72 yards in just over two minutes to score on a 3-yard run by Mitch Jacobsen with 19 seconds left in the half.

Winona started the possession with a 49-yard pass to Chris Merritt and Chad Peterson scampered for a 17-yard run to set up the score.

“They have some very good athletes, and for the most part we did some really good things, but they had some big plays against us,” Hermann said.

Maxfield had a huge first half as he hauled in a 16-yard gain on the sideline on a fourth and five pass from Justice to the Winona 15-yard line in the first quarter to set up a Ryks TD run. He also turned a screen pass into a 23-yard gain to the Winona 10 to set up a Justice TD run in the second quarter.

Maxfield almost scored on the play.

“I just saw the end zone and I got some big eyes and I thought I’d kick it another gear,” he said. “The next thing I know I’m getting pulled out of bounds.”

Austin forced the Winhawks to go three-and-out on their first two possessions, but Winona scored touch downs on four out of it’s next five possessions.


Austin rushing: Jerrad Ryks, 32-for-156, 3 TDs; Nate Justice, 9-for-22, TD; Jesse Barker, 1-for-2; Jaamal Gibson, 1-for-(-4)

Austin passing: Justice, 11-for-17, 109

Austin receiving: John Maxfield, 7-for-91; Gibson, 3-for-20; Dan Collier, 1-for-(-2)

Sacks: John Crape

INT: Adam Hemann

Penalties: 5-for-33

Winona rushing: Chad Peterson, 16-for-129, 2 TD; Mitch Jacobsen, 8-for-28, 2 TD; Thomas Lueck, 1-for-2; Joe Zimbric, 8-for-0

Winona passing: Zimbric, 7-for-11, 134, INT

Winona receiving: Chris Merritt, 2-for-66; Peterson, 4-for-42; Deven Grossell, 1-for-26

Sacks: Chase Bratland

Penalties: 5-for-35

Austin 6 6 6 8 — 26

Winona 2 13 7 7 — 29


First quarter

(W) blocked punt for safety 9:33

(A) Jerrad Ryks 5 run (kick failed) 1:07 (10 plays, 78 yards)

Second quarter

(W) Chad Peterson 35 run (Arik Jacquart kick) 11:51 (5 plays, 65 yards)

(A) Nate Justice 8 run (pass failed) 7:51 (9 plays, 65 yards)

(W) Mitch Jacobsen 3 run (kick failed) :19 (5 plays, 72 yards)

Third quarter

(A) Ryks 5 run (pass failed) 6:33 (10 plays, 54 yards)

(W) Peterson 1 run (Jacquart kick) 2:12 (11 plays, 77 yards)

Fourth quarter

(A) Ryks 11 run (Justice to John Maxfield) 8:41 (12 plays, 66 yards)

(W) Jacobsen 2 run (Jacquart kick) 5:25 (Jacquart kick)