Packers miss out on upset of Winhawks

Published 9:53 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

With the playoffs just  a week away, the Austin football team is hitting its stride. The Packers nearly knocked off Winona, which is ranked No. 2 in Class AAAA, as they lost 20-16 in Art Hass Stadium Wednesday night.

The Packers (2-6 overall) had a chance to take a late lead they faced a fourth and six at Winona’s 28-yard line with 4:46 left in the game, but Nate Murphy’s pass sailed past Andrew Schumacher, who drew contact on the play, and Austin never had the ball again.

Austin’s Gavin Owens runs through a tackle after a reception against Winona Wednesday night at Art Haas Stadium. Eric Johnson/

“We were in it until the end and that’s happened multiple times,” Austin senior lineman Thomas Kroymann said. “It just sucks, but we’ve got to get back at it tomorrow and work hard. We’re feeling a lot better [about our team]. Our defense is stepping into what it is always was and our offense is stepping up.”

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Austin took a 16-13 lead when Andrew Schumacher hit a 24-yard field goal with 7:18 left in the third quarter, but the Winhawks (8-0 overall) took the lead for good when Terrell Hall broke free for a 46-yard TD pass from Jackson Nibbelink with 9:15 left in the game.

“They’ve got some special dudes and we played right with them. We had a chance. It just didn’t go our way this time,” Vesel said. “We’re getting better. We made better tackles and we didn’t give up those long runs that some of those other teams scorched us for. According to our coaching staff, if we make tackles these scores are different. That’s what happened tonight.”

Austin’s Andy Chesak (34) and Oliver Anderson (67) combine for the tackle in the first quarter against Winona Wednesday night at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/

Austin made some big plays on defense in the first half to take a 13-7 lead in the second quarter. Hunter Guyette picked off a pass that led to his own 24-yard TD run to put Austin up 7-0 and Joe Seeman came up with an interception that he ran back 54 yards to set up a nine-yard TD run by Nate Murphy. That score gave Austin a six-point lead with 5:59 left in the half, but the Winhawks tied the game at 13 with 3:14 left in the half when Sam Kanne plunged in from two yards out after a long Winona kick return.

Austin will likely play at Rochester Mayo or Rochester Century in the Section 1AAAAA quarterfinals on Oct. 23.

The Packers have been playing their best football lately as they lost to Mankato West 33-28 on Oct. 5 and beat Mankato East 36-35 on Oct. 12.

“We lost to Mayo in the first game of the year and we knew that we could play better,” Vesel said. “We had a little flop there on stupid homecoming. We made strides after that and we’re playing a lot better.”

Austin’s Nate Murphy on a carry in the second quarter against Winona Wednesday night at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/


Austin 7 6  3  0    16

East 7 6  0  7    20

First quarter

(A) Hunter Guyette 24 run (Schumacher kick) (5 plays, 68 yards) 6:25

(W) Terrell Hall 30 pass from Jackson Nibbelink (Casselius kick) (4 plays, 65 yards) 4:30

Second quarter

(A) Nate Murphy 9 run (kick failed) (2 plays, 12 yards) 5:59

(W) Sam Kanne 2 run (kick failed) (6 plays, 28 yards) 3:14

Third quarter

(A) Andrew Schumacher 24 field goal (8 plays, 60 yards) 7:18

Fourth quarter

(W) Hall 46 from Nibbelink (Casselius kick) (8 plays, 85 yards) 9:15


Rushing: Nate Murphy, 24-for-88, TD; Hunter Guyette, 7-for-46, TD; Sam Hagen, 6-for-24; Andrew Chesak, 3-for-15; Schumacher, 3-for-14

Passing: Murphy, 6-for-14, 91, INT

Receiving: Gavin Owens, 3-for-53; Conor Byron, 2-for-23; Connor Dahlback, 1-for-21

Defense: Hunter Guyette, 1 interception; Joe Seeman, 1 interception

Penalties: 3-for-20

Austin’s Connor Byram reaches out to try and bring down Winona quarterback Jackson Nibblelink during the first quarter Wednesday night at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/


Rushing: 189

Passing: 170

Penalties: 5-for-30