WINONA — The Winona Wildcats stayed unbeaten on the season and kept Big Sandy winless with a 28-26 victory at Wildcat Stadium on Friday.
Both teams fought hard all night as neither was able to separate themselves in the contest. Special teams made the difference with Winona converting four PAT kicks and Big Sandy going 1 for 3 on 2-point conversions.
Damon Arceneaux of Winona scored from 43 yards out on the next drive and with 1:44 left in the game for a 28-20 lead.
Big Sandy scored on fourth-and-18 with 25 seconds on a desperation heave from Travis Willoughby to Jordan Womack. It was Tyson Kinsey who made the play of the game, knocking away the 2-point conversation pass attempt by Willoughby to give Winona the 28-26 victory.
Winona opened the game going up 7-0 with their star running back Ke’Aaron Cobb scoring from 22 yards out. Cobb finished the game with 66 yards on 20 carries and two TDs. He uncharacteristically had two fumbles. Big Sandy keyed in on him and weren’t going to allow him to beat them by himself.
To give Big Sandy some credit, they answered the bell all night. They blocked a punt on fourth-and-7 and Jaquoroun Williams returned the punt 40 yards for the score. On the ensuing kickoff they recovered the kick at their 47. Seven plays and 53 yards later, Jaloni Williams scored on a 6-yard run and Deshun Alexander converted the 2-point conversion run to give Big Sandy a 14-7 advantage midway through the first quarter.
Winona clawed their way back into the game after Matt Easley’s fumble gave them the ball at Wildcats 15. Six plays later Cobb got into the end zone for his second TD of the half to tie it up at 14.
The beginning of the third quarter, Winona duplicated their opening drive of the first quarter, driving the ball at will on Big Sandy. Kinsey capped off the drive scoring from 23 yards out to give Winona a 21-14 lead with just under five minutes left in the period.
Winona got a little careless with the ball and turned it over three times in the half, and Big Sandy failed to convert when it mattered. After getting inside the five Alexander came up short on fourth-and-goal. But Big Sandy found a way to get back in the game when Willoughby took the down field on the four-play, 45-yard drive and scored on a QB keeper to draw them within one, 21-20.