It wasn’t long after Osakis’ Section 6AA title win over Pillager when the coaching staff began to shift its focus toward the next game.
The Barnesville Trojans have a perfect 11-0 record. In the Section 8AA championship game last Friday at the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota, they beat Pelican Rapids 65-14. Some of the Osakis football coaches were in the stands scoping out the competition.
“We turned the page almost immediately,” head coach Bill Infanger said. “I’d like to say that we were able to relax and enjoy it, but there will be time for that after the season. We hope the players enjoyed it over the weekend.”
Barnesville led Pelican Rapids 51-0 at halftime. Quarterback Adam Tonsfeldt leads their explosive offense.
“They spread the ball around to three different running backs along with their quarterback, who does a great job running their Power-T offense,” Infanger said. “They carry out their fakes very well, and Tonsfeldt does a good job of disguising the play.”
The Trojans also have a force on the line of scrimmage. Senior tight end Hunter Zenzen is committed to play Division I football at Iowa State University. Not only does he create gaps on running plays, but his ability to get open opens up the passing game to give Barnesville a balanced offense.
“We have to be aware of him at all times,” Infanger said. “We have to be disciplined to corral their skill players. The combination of their team speed with their ball fakes means that we have to be on top of our game. We need to make quick reads and take great angles to the football.”
The Trojans are making their fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament. Last year, they fell in the state title game to Caledonia 21-0. Caledonia has won four straight state championships.
Barnesville's winning culture is established in each offseason, Infanger said, and it starts with the coaches.
“They have strong numbers in their program. I also think they put a lot of emphasis on their offseason strength training. Those factors combine for success year in and year out.”
The Silverstreaks are 8-2 and are riding a seven-game winning streak. They will play on turf for the second time in as many weeks. However, this time, they will brace the cold. The temperature at Moorhead High School for the state quarterfinal at noon is projected to be in the mid-40s.
“Indoors or outdoors, we don’t put too much emphasis on that,” Infanger said. “It’s not going to change what we do either way. If it happens to affect them negatively, then we’ll take it. I like that we are playing on a good surface. It’s nice to know that we will have solid footing and let the players decide the outcome rather than it being dictated by weather conditions.”
If Osakis beats Barnesville, it will punch a ticket to the semifinal round at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“It would mean a lot to our players and coaches to get this win and move on,” Infanger said. “Sure, it would be more validation for all the hours and hard work that has been put in by this group, but more than anything, it would buy this team another week and another game. Right now, we are just really enjoying playing football and being on this team together.”