Editor's note: Due to an error on the WIAA's website, claiming that Winlock had not won a state playoff game since 1977, a previous version of this story has been corrected to state that the Cardinals won in 1999 before losing to Kalama in the quarterfinals.
The Cards just keep hitting milestones. Coming into the state tournament for the first time since 2002, the No. 11 seed Winlock came away winners in a tight, 64-60, duel with No. 6 DeSales Saturday night.
It's the Cardinals first state playoff victory since 1999.
“What a nice journey we’ve had this weekend,” Cardinals coach Ernie Samples said. “Back and forth all game. We finally got big stops in the second half and battled through adversity to put it together.”
Winlock, somewhat uncharacteristically, threw for nearly 400 yards in the win, with quarterback Neal Patching finding receivers left and right for big gains and five touchdowns on the night. Nolan Swofford did what Nolan Swofford does, adding 232 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in the win.
“We threw well and caught everything,” Samples said. “It was awesome. A whole ‘nother look at Winlock football. It was interesting.”
Receiver Collin Relagado had a huge game, hauling in seven catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
“To be honest, it was our intensity,” he said of the difference. “We were more conditioned. They were tired at the end. A lot of times their linebackers were flying in the opposite direction I was going.”
Now the Cardinals will look ahead to the state quarterfinals, against No. 3 Quilcene, which is coming off a first-round bye.
“I hear they have one of the better runningbacks in the state in eight-man,” Samples said. “We’re excited to play a team that’s not gonna throw every down. We’ve gotta get to work and stop a big back.”