Huskies Rally in Fourth Quarter for Victory
Owatonna defied the odds to beat Mankato West 24-20 in Friday night's homecoming game at OHS to stay unbeaten. The win extends the Huskies winning streak to 25 games, spanning three season and propels Jeff Williams into a tie with former Indians coach Jerry Peterson for the most victories in Owatonna High School history at 179.
The top-rated Huskies won despite losing the turnover battle and after trailing by two scores in the fourth quarter. Owatonna muffed a punt although West didn't capitalize. An OHS interception, however, set up the Scarlets at the Huskies 40-yard line and they turned that into a touchdown.
The No. 8 Scarlets scored early in the fourth quarter to go up 20-10. Owatonna's Keenan Young returned the ensuing kickoff to the West 25-yard line. Tanner Hall carried for 21 yards on first down and took it the rest of the way on the next play for the touchdown. Sam Henson, back at kicker after missing a couple of games due to a non-contact injury suffered during a soccer match, connected on the point-after to pull OHS within 20-17.
Owatonna's defense forced Mankato to punt on the next possession but the Huskies drive ended on downs at the Scarlet 14. Again Owatonna's defense, which only allowed about 250 total yards to the Division I quarterback-led Scarlets, clamped down to limit West to a three-and-out.
The game-winning drive started at the West 47-yard line. OHS quarterback Brayden Truelson connected with Payton Beyer on a 27-yard pass to get into the red zone. Hall ran in from ten yards out with 1:09 to play. Henson hit the point-after and Owatonna led 24-20.
Future Brown signal caller Grant Foster threw four incomplete passes and the Huskies downed the ball once to get the win. Williams said on the KRFO Coaches Show Saturday morning that Foster's final six passes were incomplete. Foster hit three different receivers for long scoring strikes in the game to turn an early 7-0 Owatonna lead into a West 20-10 lead early in the final stanza.
Truelson hit Matt Williams for a ten-yard touchdown on their first drive. Henson drilled a 34-yard field goal late in the second quarter for a 10-6 halftime lead. Hall carried the ball 33 times for 165 yards according to the KRFO stats. OHS had nearly 375 total yards.
West never tried to get a ground attack developed. Williams commented that Owatonna's run defense is very good and that West was trying to follow Mayo's blueprint of passing the ball against Owatonna. West rushed just 11 times for 24 yards.
Owatonna (6-0) also clinched the outright Big Southeast Red Division title for the fourth time in the last five seasons. It's their 16th overall conference or sub-district title. The two-time defending state champs host Mankato East Friday, October 11 then close the regular season at Rochester John Marshall on Wednesday, October 16.
Williams was a member of the coaching staff of Peterson for seven years before taking over in 1996. Hear his full comments from Saturday's radio show below.