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Osakis' Wyatt Olson carried the ball during practice last Thursday evening. Olson should provide a big back for the Silverstreaks' downhill rushing attack that they hope can rack up big yards again this season in the Prairie North Conference. (Echo Press photo by Blaze Fugina)

Osakis football: Streaks expect to compete for Prairie North title

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The Osakis football team will have a pretty good idea after week one of where it stands among top teams on either side of the Prairie Conference.

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The Silverstreaks will play Browerville of the Prairie South at home on Thursday, August 29. The Tigers are again expected to be one of the title contenders on their side of the conference, and last season they won the matchup against Osakis 35-7 on their way to a 9-3 overall record.

But head coach Bill Infanger said Browerville graduated a number of their top players, and playing them on the first week could provide an advantage.

"It'll be a great game right off the bat," Infanger said. "That's one of our big matchups all year, is against Browerville."

Osakis has not won against Browerville since 2005, and winning the game would give them an early boost in the standings.

The Silverstreaks are confident they can improve on their 4-5 record from last season to compete for the conference title on the North side, despite being without seniors Drew Fearing and Jordan Frederick, who chose not to play this year to concentrate on baseball. Last year, they finished in third place in the North Division of the Prairie Conference.

"I think we're capable of competing for a conference championship," Infanger said. "I think a lot of athletes in our conference graduated last year, and I think it's wide open really for anybody in this conference to step up and be the power and take it."

The players are confident they will have an improved season this year. Senior captains Lane Arkfeld (offensive and defensive tackle), Joey Kotek (tight end and linebacker) and Peter Hagen (center and linebacker) said the team has worked hard in the offseason and has lofty goals for the season.

"We want to win the conference this year," Arkfeld said. "It's going to be very challenging, but we've got the people to do it and I think we are going to do it. I believe in our team."

KEY PLAYERS

The Silverstreaks will have to find new starters for positions on both sides of the ball. Infanger said they are replacing about half of their starting lineup on both offense and defense.

"We did graduate a big group," Infanger said. "There were eight of them, and seven of them were starters on both sides of the ball."

Infanger pointed out two key players for Osakis to be successful this fall. Tyler Spanswick plays fullback and linebacker and is expected to receive a number of carries this year.

"We need him to really step up and be an impact player for us on both sides of the ball," Infanger said.

Wyatt Olson will split time at fullback with Spanswick and also plays on the defensive line. He is expected to provide a power running game for the Silverstreaks.

"He's a big body, 250 pound kid, and he's not the fastest back in the world, but he's probably the biggest and strongest back in the conference," Infanger said. "We need him to play low, play behind his shoulder pads and give us four yards every time he touches the ball."

Infanger said Brandon Giesler will likely replace Frederick as the starting quarterback this season, judging by his performance in the first few days of camp.

"We expect big things out of him," Infanger said about Giesler. "He looks really good, [he's] throwing the ball really accurately so far. And he's a good leader in the huddle."

The Silverstreaks also brought on former head boys' basketball coach Chris Stroup to coach the defense. Stroup is bringing in a new scheme that Infanger was excited to break out against Browerville in week one.

OFFENSIVE PLANS

The Silverstreaks will not change much on offense and are continuing to center on their ground game. But Infanger said the Silverstreaks may be a little more active in the passing game this season.

"Historically we've ran the ball really well on offense," Infanger said. "And we expect to be a ball control [team], be able to be able to pound the ball with our ground game and also hit some big play-action passing plays."

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Blaze Fugina
Blaze Fugina is a sports reporter at the Echo Press. Before working in Alexandria, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. He previously worked as the community editor of the Mound Laker for more than a year. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.
(320) 763-1230
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