Late touchdown and red zone stand sends Winona to title game

For the first time since 1987 the Winona Winhawks football program gets to play for a state title.

Winona won a MSHSL Class AAAA state semifinal game for the ages, 34-30 against Rocori Friday evening at U.S. Bank Stadium.

A Logan Smith interception in the endzone with 29-seconds to play preserved the win for the Winhawks.

“I caught the ball and I think I had about 3-4 inches to spare. It was close. It was closer than I predicted to where I was to the sideline, but I knew I had a little room.”

Two minutes earlier on the game clock and trailing 30-27 the Winhawks got a rushing touchdown from Dan Jonsgaard.

“Our line.. at some points they were getting tired but they were still creating the holes for me,” said running back Robert Warren who finished the day with 224 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

John Cassellius in his 12th season as head coach now has Winona one game away from the ultimate prize. But first it’s time to enjoy the hard fought game against Rocori.

“It was like the best roller-coaster in the world. Coming down and round and round. When we got off, we were still smiling. It is just kind of surreal. It is great to see kids put in hard work like these guys do and see some results.”

Winona will take on Benilde-St. Margaret’s next Friday as they will go for the program’s first state championship.