Owatonna Runs Back into Prep Bowl
Owatonna advanced back to the Prep Bowl state football championship game with a balanced running attack, and without completing a pass, in their 39-8 win over Elk River Friday afternoon at US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The Huskies will face the winner of Saturday's game between St. Thomas Academy and Bemidji in the final November 24 at 4 pm.
Jason Williamson ran for 199 yards and five touchdowns. Quarterback Sol Havelka, who was only asked to throw one pass, rushed eight times for 71 yards and a touchdown. He ran 33 yards for a key third down conversion in the third quarter on a drive that answered the Elks only touchdown of the game.
The Havelka score pushed the Huskies' lead out to 26-8 only a couple of minutes after Elk River had pulled within 19-8 after completing a long drive on their first possession of the second half.
Reacting to his nine-yard average per carry on the option play he said, "It's pretty easy when you have the best o-line in the state of Minnesota...Any scheme draw up they run perfectly."
Williamson's five touchdowns gives him 108 as an unofficial career total. The Minnesota State High School League website indicates the state record for overall touchdowns is 109 held by Niko Anderson of Lanesboro.
While the 199 yards is less than half his average of the previous three playoff games, his impact was still great. He said, "I just trust the game plan the coaches put together. It's always really good every week. They know that they're going to scheme for me. So they scheme for them scheming for me."
The Huskies limited the Elks to less than three yards per run with a long of just 13 yards. Nose guard Chris Lewis said, "We've been pretty stingy against the run this year...They come off the ball low and hard. So we just had to get lower and get up under their pads and get after them." Elk River's touchdown came on a pass.
Carson DeKam started as an outside linebacker for his first defensive start of the season. Coach Jeff Williams called his spot the "Starkson Position" in reference to Logan Starkson getting the surprise start in last year's title game against Elk River. In regard to DeKam, Williams said, "He played an outstanding football game. He's a great defensive player."
Owatonna punted just once. Early in the second quarter with OHS up 14-0, the Huskies went into an unusual punting formation with several players lined up, looking like receivers. Isaac Gefre ran around with the ball for a few seconds, then got off the punt with Elks surrounding him. With a good roll the punt traveled 53 yards.
Nick Staska led the team with 10 tackles. Ethan Rohman forced a fumble that was recovered by Zander Johnson and set up a short touchdown drive in the third quarter.