Keith McGlasson knew what he wanted to do but he had to see where his players stood.
The Winfield football coach, McGlasson watched senior quarterback Collin Sutton score a 1-yard touchdown in the first overtime at Warrenton to bring the Warriors within a point of a second extra period. The offense turned to the sideline, remained in place and thrust their fingers into the air.
The final week of the 2018 high school football regular season has arrived. Here's a look at some of the top matchups in the area as teams pre…
They wanted to go for two.
“It wasn't even a question,” McGlasson said. “They wanted to win.”
The Warriors lined up to try for the 2-point conversion only to have McGlasson burn a timeout just before the snap. The coaching staff thought Warrenton's defense had the play nailed. In the huddle McGlasson asked the players what they saw and changed the play. Sutton carried the ball into the end zone and Winfield had a 43-42 walk-off victory.
“It was awesome,” McGlasson said. “I had only had about nine heart attacks in that game.”
For a team with “win” in its name, the wins have been hard to come by for Winfield. The current seniors have never won more than four games until this season. The Warriors have had their share of 0-10 campaigns in recent.
This year, though, the tables have turned in record-breaking fashion. Winfield is 6-2 and tied the school record for wins in a season last week. It's thrilling win over Warrenton was its second Gateway Athletic Conference North victory of the season. They are the only GAC victories for the Warriors since they joined the league in 2012.
It's first league win was just as memorable as its second. Winfield pulled out a 44-42 victory over Orchard Farm on senior night. It was the first time the Warriors beat the Eagles. It sent a clear message that Winfield was different this year and it had the town buzzing.
“It meant everything to beat them,” senior offensive lineman Anthony Heintzelman said.
Winfield's success this fall is a surprise to those on the outside, but this senior class has been waiting on a breakout like this for some time. Most of the Warriors played together in middle school and have only grown closer over the years.
“We realized this was a good group in seventh grade when we went undefeated,” senior linebacker Kiyah Christensen said.
It took another four years before Winfield put all the pieces together. Now that it has, the Warriors are a threat to score nearly every time they touch the ball.
Sutton is among the area's most prolific offensive players. He's scored an area-best 26 touchdowns and tacked on another seven 2-point conversions. The 6-foot-1 and 190-pound Sutton has rushed for 1,615 yards, completed 76 of 123 passes for 1,015 yards, 16 touchdowns and been intercepted five times.
Sutton took over quarterback duties as a sophomore and gave glimmers of what he could do when he threw for 1,445 yards, 17 touchdowns and rushed for 780 yards and 11 more scores. Last season, he threw for 1,342 yards and 12 touchdowns while rushing for 1,507 yards and another 19 touchdowns.
Even as he's found the end zone more than ever before, Sutton said it hasn't fazed him.
“I haven't thought about it,” he said. “I just like winning and we're winning.”
The chemistry on the field is evident everywhere, but most prevalent up front on the offensive line. The Warriors aren't the biggest bunch of hogs on the field but they're cohesive, they communicate and they trust each other.
“We're not an over-sized offensive line,” senior right guard Chuck Lindsay said.
Though he did say, “We have so many pancakes they call us Denny's.”
Which drew a good laugh and a rebuttal from McGlasson, “Maybe silver dollar pancakes.”
The Warriors have enough depth that most of the roster doesn't have to play both ways. Senior receiver and linebacker Branden Resto is one of the few who starts on offense and defense. So far he has 76 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and two sacks. He's also rushed for 374 yards and six touchdowns.
Christensen leads the Warriors with 120 tackles and 10 tackles for loss.
Resto said one of the biggest challenges playing both ways was adjusting to the speed of the varsity game. He and the rest of the seniors have grown up at the varsity level. As freshmen and sophomores it was noticeable. Time and dedication to the weight room have turned that around.
“Size, strength and speed has accounted for a lot of their success,” McGlasson said.
Winfield concludes its regular season at 7 p.m. Friday when it hosts Lift For Life (7-1). The Warriors have won the last two meetings with the Hawks a combined 87-32, but both teams are much improved. Lift For Life set its school record for wins and is riding a seven-game win streak.
Winfield has its sights set on breaking its own school record for wins. Should the Warriors emerge victorious, they will be the first team in school history with seven wins. It's homecoming, the Winfield faithful are fired up and this senior class is ready to set itself apart.
“Everyone is going to be excited,” Sutton said. “That energy is going to help us win.”