Section 6AA football: Osakis can't overcome injuries, Patriots
The Osakis football team went into its opening round game against a 7-1 Upsala-Swanville Area team bruised and beat up as the Silverstreaks saw their season come to an end in a 20-0 loss on the road on Tuesday night.
Osakis was missing key players to injuries in Ky Zimmel, Drew Fearing and Tyler Spanswick. Center Derrick Swanson played early before having to leave the game after reinjuring a sprained ankle and senior running back Brian Thorstad also came into the game with a lower left leg injury.
"Although it's not the way we planned for the season to end, with this loss and the injuries to so many players, the seniors on this team never hung their heads or felt sorry for themselves," head coach Bill Infanger said. "They came out and battled against a good USA team and showed a lot of character."
Thorstad came into the game needing 26 yards to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season. He persevered through that leg injury and finished with 52 yards to reach that milestone. Fellow senior Hunter Johnson also finished with 48 yards against a USA defense that has given up only 10.3 points per game this year.
"The USA defense is one of the best we have seen in Osakis in recent years," Infanger said. "They have a great group of athletic seniors and coach [Jay] Loven has them playing aggressively. They are a very physical, strong tackling defense."
That defense made an early lead for the Patriots stand up all night. Junior running back Mitch Lange got his team on the board at the end of the first quarter with a nine-yard touchdown run. Senior Brock Cichon added a field goal in the second quarter as the Patriots took a 10-0 lead into the break.
That same scenario played out in the second half. Lange added his second touchdown of the night, this time from 18 yards out, before Cichon put the finishing touches on things with a 36-yard field goal.
"Our defense probably played its best game of the season against a USA team that put up 50 points last week against KMS," Infanger said. "Our young guys who are filling in for injured teammates really showed improvement and confidence in this game, making some big plays to slow down the USA offense. This gives us a lot of confidence in our returning team for next season."
Osakis' best chance to score came in the fourth quarter when the Silverstreaks were set up with a second-and-goal from the three-yard line. Jordan Frederick was stopped on two straight quarterback sneaks before Thorstad was kept out of the end zone on fourth down after a run off the right side.
The Silverstreaks also put together a nice drive at the end of the first half behind the arm of Frederick. He completed a 54-yard pass to Hunter Scherr and a 14-yard pass to Joey Kotek. On fourth and two from the 13-yard line, Frederick just missed hooking up with Lane Berberich in the end zone.
Frederick and a lot of other contributors to this team will be back next fall, but the loss to USA was the end of the road for eight seniors. They left after leading Osakis to a 4-1 start to the season before injuries and a tough schedule saw them finish the year 4-5 overall.
"I couldn't be more proud of these kids as their coach, and we will miss the seniors," Infanger said. "They were a special group of young men that put a lot of time and effort into this program."