Two of the state’s top Class 3A football teams will meet this week in Winona with the District 2-3A title on the line.
Winona Christian enters the game with a 6-0 record and is 3-0 in district play while Carroll is 5-1 overall and 2-0 in district play.
The two teams have gotten to this point in the seasons with vastly different styles of offense but each team has scored 221 points on the year. On defense, Carroll has given up 46 points while Winona has given up 91.
The Stars are led by freshman quarterback John White, who is lighting up opposing secondaries. He his 60-of-91 passing for 1,181 yards with 15 touchdowns. The Stars have rushed for 881 yards on the season for 2,062 yards of total offense.
“They have some good weapons,” Carroll coach Bo Milton said. “They are going to come out and throw the football. We have to be fundamentally sound in what we do on defense. We have to control the ball and control the tempo of the game. I think we have to put some pressure on their young quarterback and not give up the big play. They have four or five really good football players and are solid on both sides of the football. We will have to have another solid effort from our team.”
While the Stars are often spread with three to four wide receivers on offense, the Rebels are have relied on a run-heavy offense. The Rebels have amassed 2,304 yards of total offense with 2,177 yards on the ground and only 127 passing. Morgan Mims leads the Rebels with 966 yards rushing on 79 carries and 12 touchdowns while Hunter Bracken has 639 yards on 88 carries with eight TDs.
“They may execute as good as anybody we have played all year long,” Winona coach Junior Graham said. “Their offense is simple but they do a great job with it. They are a throw-back football team. They come downhill right at you. They have two good running backs.”
With Mims and Bracken leading the way, the Rebels’ offense runs primarily the “buck sweep” in which both guards pull.
“The offense they run is something that you don’t see much of,” Graham said. “They are probably the only team we will face in the regular season that runs the buck sweep like they do and we have just three days to prepare for it. It’s going to be an interesting week of preparation. You think it’s something you can stop in practice but when you face it in the game, it’s awfully hard to stop. You just can’t replicate what they do in practice.”
Last year, Winona beat Carroll 34-21 as they won the district championship and finished as the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.