Defense Delivers Shutout, Record-Setting Victory
Owatonna High School dominated Mankato East for a 44-0 victory Friday, October 11, holding the Cougars to negative first-half yards. The win was the 180th for head coach Jeff Williams, surpassing Jerry Peterson's total during his 30 years as Indians and Huskies coach. The win also extended Owatonna's winning streak to 26 games, spanning three seasons.
The Huskies defense forced East three-and-out five times and sacked the quarterback for a safety on the Cougars' other first half drive. Mankato ran just 16 plays in the first half, not counting the punts. Owatonna hit them with a loss on six of them. East did not gain a first down in the first half.
While East picked up a few yards in the second half, the Huskies defensive reserves still made seven tackles-for-a-loss. East ended up with about 77 total yards. Williams said "With East not being able to throw the ball that effectively, were limited to running the option game. And our kids really did a solid job against the option. We had their o-line in the backfield and our linebackers were able to chase down options inside-out all night."
Williams was very pleased with how well the offensive and defensive lines played, "We were able to establish the line of scrimmage, get a real solid run game going."
On the cold, windy night, OHS attacked on the ground for 325 yards on 50 rushing attempts. Tanner Hall carried 23 times for 186 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, including a 62-yard gallop for a score. He did not play in the second half.
Brayden Truelson and Sol Havelka combined for 7-of-12 passing for about 70 yards. They rushed for over 40 yards and a pair of combined touchdowns. Truelson hit Matt Williams for a TD and Jerez Autridge found the end zone on a fourth-quarter run. He had about 70 yards on 13 totes.
Owatonna scored on five of their first six drives of the first half and led 37-0 at the half. The Huskies first drive had a bit of a dramatic twist as Truelson completed a fourth-down pass to Payton Beyer to keep the drive going. Click below for Williams interview from Saturday's KRFO High School Coaches Show.
Owatonna's victory puts Williams' overall record at 180-71 in 24 seasons as OHS coach. Peterson had 189 overall wins in his career, ten of them coming at Walnut Grove before becoming Owatonna's coach in 1966. Williams shares the recognition with his staff, "We've had such a fantastic group of guys to work with. Our staff is, I believe, the best in the state bar none. We've been together forever. Everybody's got their role. Everybody's smart. Everybody handles their area of our program very effectively and very efficiently. It's a great staff to be a part of and one I'm proud to be a part of."
Owatonna (7-0) goes to Rochester John Marshall (3-4) Wednesday, October 16 for the final game of the regular season. OHS will get a first-round playoff bye and open up their state title defense on Saturday, October 26 at OHS.