It never gets old

Huskies clinch their fourth section championship


Oliver Hansen

Owatonna Huskies will be headed back to the state tournament

For the fourth consecutive year, the OHS Football team has fought their way to the state tournament. After a shutout against Rochester John Marshall in the section semifinals, the Huskies battled the Rochester Century Panthers for the Section 1AAAAA title.

The first quarter showcased many Huskies. In the opening drive, junior Tanner Hall rushes for 27 yards for the first of many touchdowns that field saw. A few plays later, senior Hunter Menden picked the ball off to set up Hall’s second touchdown one play later. After junior Peyton Beyer caught a 26-yard receiving touchdown from junior quarterback Brayden Truelson, senior Solomon Havelka runs in for a two-point conversion. This all happened before the end of the first quarter. 

In the second quarter, neither team seemed to gain much traction. Junior Zach Stransky found the end zone in the second quarter. The Panthers got a touchdown in 26 seconds before the end of the half; both teams went into the locker rooms at halftime leaving the score 29-6. 

The second half accomplishments were achieved by as many seniors as coaches could put in. Senior Matt Williams had a 17-yard touchdown reception with 8:08 left in the third quarter. Four minutes later, senior captain, Isaac Gefre ran the ball into the end zone to ensure running time in the fourth quarter. Senior Isaac Oppegard opened the fourth quarter with a pick and the game was over. The Huskies prevailed with a final score of 43-6.

Hall scored two touchdowns and added to his career yardage. He crossed over his 1000 yard line during the first half of the game. The junior has had a great season on the Owatonna field and now has the opportunity to prove himself in the state tournament. This is his, along with other players, first time competing in a state tournament. Head coach Jeff Williams said, “Every time you do it with a new group of kids, it’s a different type of feel and its every bit as exciting.” Hall and other juniors with their first section championship under their belt will be competing at a much tougher level starting next week.

After suffering an ACL injury in the last wrestling season, senior captain Isaiah Noeldner has made a recovery and is back at his position as starting center. He hit the field again in the section semifinal game and was seemingly back at home. He only had a couple of games back on his home field, however; for this game was the last home game for all seniors. Noeldner said, “It feels surreal, for me. It feels like we should still be playing on this field.”

The seniors felt the need to prove themselves after losing a talented class before them. This was a chance to show their depth and talent. Senior captain Carson DeKam said, “This section championship was earned by every single person on this team. It wasn’t just one individual person. Every single person did their part.”

This section championship was earned by every single person on this team. It wasn’t just one individual person. Every single person did their part.

— Carson DeKam

But for tonight, the focus was on this last game on the home field. DeKam said, “I just don’t want to leave. We are never going to get a snap on this field again. Yea, I just want to sit on the middle of the field and never leave.” The Huskies will face St. Thomas Academy in the State Quarterfinals in Woodbury at noon. The Huskies and the Cadets played each other for the 2018 State Championship title, ending in an Owatonna victory 14-3.