"On Fridays, as a coach, our whole goal and existence is to go win," said assistant defensive coordinator James Spivey.
The team boarded the bus and headed for Mason with high hopes. About 30 minutes down Highway 83, they stopped when they saw something in the road.
"When we first pulled up, we were about 100, 200 yards away. Thought a livestock trailer had collapsed," said Stephen Hermesmeyer, head coach and athletic director.
Hermesmeyer got off the bus to see what was going on.
"As I got closer, I realized it wasn't a horse trailer and I noticed some things that were very alarming," he said.
At that point, the coaches and trainer told the team to stay on the bus and ran back to do whatever they could to help.
"There were some people we were trying to calm down and others we were trying to get a response from," Spivey recalled.
Once emergency crews got there, the team got back on the road for Mason.
"From that point on, it was dead silence in our bus. But none of those kids were asleep," Hermesmeyer said.
Winters lost the game 28-6, but left the field with a new perspective.
"I told them, 'We may not have won a gold football tonight, but we still won. We're still here,'" Hermesmeyer said.