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Special teams miscues cost Packers in loss at Winona

WINONA — The Austin football team couldn’t establish any solid field position and it cost them early on as they lost to Winona 48-7 on the road Friday.

Austin gave up a long punt return, a long kick return and it fumbled away one of its own kick off returns in the first quarter. The Winhawks (2-0 overall) took full advantage by converting three touchdown drives that all went less than 25 yards to take a 21-7 lead in the first quarter.

“We’re not playing the way we should on special teams and it’s hurting us, especially earlier in the game,” Austin head coach Brett Vesel said.

Austin’s Gavin Owens tries to shed a tackle from Winona’s Joshua Bade in Winona Friday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Austin’s Gavin Owens tries to shed a tackle from Winona’s Joshua Bade in Winona Friday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

The Packers (0-2 overall) had tied the game at 7-7 when Jany Gash hauled in a 26-yard TD pass from Tate Hebrink with 3:26 left in the first quarter, but the Winhawks had a quick answer as they ran the ensuing kick-off back to Austin’s 13-yard line.

Winona racked up 274 rushing yards and the Packers were held to 63 yards on the ground. Tate Hebrink threw for a career-high 197 yards in the loss and Gash had 121 yards receiving, but the Packers want to stay more balanced on offense.

“We’ve got to run the football,” Vesel said. “Our offensive line, running back and quarterback have got to step up and move the ball running. Passing helps with the balance, but we’ve got to be able to run.”

Austin will host Rochester Mayo 7 p.m. Friday.

Austin’s Jany Gash grabs an interception as Winona’s Dakota Mathees looks on in Winona Friday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Austin’s Jany Gash grabs an interception as Winona’s Dakota Mathees looks on in Winona Friday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

SCORING SUMMARY

Austin 7 0 0 0 — 7

Winona 21 13 14 0 — 48

First quarter

(W) Riley Bosteter 1 run (Joshua Bade kick) (4 plays, 16 yards) 6:46

(A) Jany Gash 26 pass from Tate Hebrink (Jakob Crouch kick) (11 plays, 73 yards) 3:26

(W) Robert Warren 13 run (Bade kick) (2 plays, 13 yards) 2:38

(W) Warren 13 run (Bade kick) (3 plays, 23 yards) 1:27

Second quarter

(W) Alex Franzwa 9 run (Bade kick) (3 plays, 52 yards) 5:55

(W) Franzwa 6 run (kick failed) (5 plays, 57 yards) 1:42

Third quarter

(W) Jonah Boelter 19 run (Bade kick) (6 plays, 50 yards) 7:02

(W) Warren 3 run (Bade kick) (2 plays, 7 yards) (Bade kick) 2:31

Fourth quarter

No scoring

Austin’s Trent Brown and Jany Gash bring down Winona’s Alex Franzwa in Winona Friday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Austin’s Trent Brown and Jany Gash bring down Winona’s Alex Franzwa in Winona Friday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

AUSTIN STATS

Rushing: Jany Gash, 1-for-37; Tabarie Gunsallus, 18-for-21; Sam Hagan, 3-for-7; Tate Hebrink, 10-for-(-2)

Passing: Hebrink, 18-for-30, 197, TD, INT; Jakob Crouch, 0-for-1, INT

Receiving: Gash, 6-for-121, TD; Gavin Owens, 5-for-27; Tyler Tupy, 3-for-25; Trent Brown, 2-for-23; Gunsallus, 1-for-1

Defense: Gash, 1 interception; Jesse Synoground, 1 fumble forced, 1 fumble recovered

Penalties: 2-for-15

Turnovers: 3

WINONA STATS

Rushing: 274

Passing: 37

Penalties: 3-for-15