With a different approach Friday night in Winona, Northfield football coach Bubba Sullivan thinks his team might have produced a slightly different result.
The final score read 31-7 in favor of the Class 4A No. 4-ranked Winhawks (6-0), but Sullivan believes the Raiders (0-6) were more than capable to going toe-to-toe with the undefeated foe.
“I don’t think we showed up with the mindset that we could win,” Sullivan said. “I think if we had showed up with a little better mindset we could have really competed. I thought we did compete well against a team that’s 5-0. I think our guys walked off the field thinking, ‘Man, if we had put a full game together we’d be right in there.’”
Northfield trailed 16-0 at halftime, but that easily could have been a 10-0 deficit if not more a bad snap on a punt that provided Winona possession of the football inside the 5-yard line for an easy score.
That solid defensive performance was missing a supplemental showing from the offense, which managed 147 total yards, only 19 of which came via the rushing attack.
“We played pretty solid defense in the first half, but we just couldn’t get anything going on offense,” Sullivan said. “We had a couple first downs but that was about it. The second half we gave them some short fields again, so they were able to punch a couple more in.”
The Raiders pieced together a strong fourth-quarter drive to register their only score of the night with senior Gavin Rataj’s 22-yard pass to junior Porter Adams.
Throughout the game, Rataj completed 12 of his 19 passes for 123 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The bulk of that was to senior Daniel Monaghan, who hauled in seven receptions for 55 yards, while Caleb Voight tallied 33 yards on three receptions.
Defensively, Sullivan highlighted the play of senior Simon Dickerson, who was credited with six tackles and assisted on five more, both of which were team-highs.
Northfield travels to take on Austin (2-4) on the road next week.
“I thought overall as a team we played some improved football,” Sullivan said. “We were more physical today, but we’re still struggling. The defense will have three or four great plays but then we let them off the hook.”