By Brandon Speck/Monoroe Journal
WINONA – Aberdeen’s players enjoyed reading all week on Internet message boards of how much trouble it was going to have winning at Winona.
Winona didn’t enjoy the Bulldogs taking out their frustrations Friday night.
Aberdeen, the Daily Journal’s No. 1-ranked Class 3A school and defending North champion, had no problem silencing doubters in a 38-14 Division 2-3A opening road win that for the most part looked easy.
Aberdeen (6-1, 1-0) scored on all but one possession and handed the Tigers (6-1, 0-1) their first loss.
The Bulldogs have won six straight.
“The big thing, no matter who it is, is getting to 1-0, coming to Winona and playing like we did,” Aberdeen coach Chris Duncan said. “They’ve got a heck of a ball team. We gave up a couple of touchdowns, but overall I was pleased, especially with the offensive side of the ball.”
Winona scored 14 points to pull within two touchdowns in the third, but that was all the excitement the home crowd got to see.
Aberdeen led 21-0 at halftime on the strength of two Victor Hodges touchdown runs, of 3 and 25 yards, carrying three Tigers with him across the goal line on the latter.
QB Desmond Jones scored on a 2-yard run after Jonnie Wilson forced and recovered a fumble from Winona quarterback Nick Glover late in the second quarter.
“We love going into the game being the underdog, so we can prove people wrong.” Jones said.
When Ole Miss commitment Chief Brown put Winona on the board on the opening drive of the second half, a 2-yard run with 7:27 to play, Aberdeen answered with an 11-yard run from Jones on the next drive for a 28-7 lead.
Brown was held to 52 yards on nine carries, 45 on one run.
Aberdeen converted third down after third down, two on the answering drive on a 19-yard pass over the middle to Channing Ward on third-and-11 and a 7-yard run on third-and-5 from Hodges.
Ward, one of the state’s top-recruited defensive ends, caught three passes for 58 yards. Hodges was a workhorse, carrying the ball 31 times for 169 yards and three touchdowns.
Winona scored on a play-fake from Glover to tight end Dave Carter, a 23-yard score that made it 28-14, but Hodges scored on a 5-yard run on the next possession that saw him run 32 yards and Aaron McMillian catch a 24-yard pass to the 7.
Antonio Crayton added the final field goal, from 29 yards out. He was 5 of 5 on extra point attempts.