The Osakis football team was eager to leave its 28-14 week-five loss against Morris Area-Chokio-Alberta in the past. But after suffering a 32-point loss to Paynesville on Thursday night. The Silverstreaks are left searching for answers heading into the postseason.

The Bulldogs routed the Silvstreaks 74-42 at Alexandria Area High School behind their up-tempo offense, and timely defensive stands.

“Obviously, we need to see what we can fix on the defensive side of the ball, but I think we can look at this game and recognize that we went stride-for-stride in point for a while,” Osakis head coach Bill Infanger said. “We had a couple of turnovers, but we didn’t punt on a single drive today. We liked what our offense did tonight against a good Paynesville team, but we need to play with more confidence on defense.”

Isaac Hetland continued his remarkable senior season from the fullback position. He scored four touchdowns on the night, including the first of the game to give Osakis a 6-0 lead.

After Paynesville scored on its opening drive, Duncan Vandergon broke off a 65-yard touchdown run on the first play of Osakis’s second drive. Vadergon was challenged with replacing historic Osakis running back Luke Imdieke this season and has developed into a reliable option out of the backfield.

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Duncan Vandergon carries the ball towards the sideline on Thursday night during Osakis' 74-42 loss to Paynesville at Alexandria Area High School. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)
Duncan Vandergon carries the ball towards the sideline on Thursday night during Osakis' 74-42 loss to Paynesville at Alexandria Area High School. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

“Duncan is a hard worker,” Infanger said. “He’s been a great complement to Isaac out of the backfield this season. He’s a physician kid on the defensive side of the ball that can play the same way on offense. We are happy to see him having a good year with there being only four games. There is some pressure having to be the one who replaces a guy like Luke Imdieke, but I think Duncan has done a good job.”

After giving up the big play, the Bulldogs hit another gear. Quarterback Chase Bayer, who returned from an injury, exposed young Osakis secondary for significant gains on every possession. He finished the day with two touchdowns on the ground and one in the air.

“We knew he was going to be a great athlete, and he’s probably the best quarterback that we’re going to face all season,” Infanger said. “When you have a kid that can throw the ball like that and receivers that can get that kind of separation, it’s really tough to stop. I think we have to remember that this is a very young secondary, and they’re going to have games like this where they need to learn and grow. There was frustration in the locker room because we’re not a team that usually gets beat like this. I think they’ll come out at practice and work even harder.”

Isaac Hetland carries the ball up the middle for a touchdown on Thursday night during Osakis' 74-42 loss to Paynesville at Alexandria Area High School. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)
Isaac Hetland carries the ball up the middle for a touchdown on Thursday night during Osakis' 74-42 loss to Paynesville at Alexandria Area High School. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

Paynesville scored 10 touchdowns on Thursday night. Not only did Bayer account for three of them, but Blake Hiltner had three more. He scored one on the ground, caught a touchdown pass, and ran back a 55-yard fumble recovery. Osakis finished the season 2-2 and is setting its sights on a competitive Section 6AA playoff.

“We think two toughest games of the season were Morris and Paynesville,” Infanger said. “We aren’t going to play a team that can throw the ball like those two teams, but we still have to be ready. We want to get back to playing the defense we know how to play. We have confidence in every player we put out on the field.”

One of the components of Osakis’ offensive success has been the offensive line. After some retooling from last season, the Silverstreaks have been able to get pushes in the trenches for big gains on almost every drive this season.

“We moved Brady Mages over to the tackle position right next to Brock Faber, who was starting for us last year,” Infanger said. “We are impressed with the time they’ve put in this season to allow our ball-carriers to be successful. You can’t win as a running football team without a good offensive line, and we like our chances with those guys leading the way for Isaac, Bauer (Klimek) and Duncan.”

Isaac Hetland (right) gets loose for one of his four touchdowns on Thursday night during Osakis' 74-42 loss to Paynesville at Alexandria Area High School. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)
Isaac Hetland (right) gets loose for one of his four touchdowns on Thursday night during Osakis' 74-42 loss to Paynesville at Alexandria Area High School. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

Osakis went 1-0 in section play this year with a 49-0 win over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (1-5). In a rare season where Osakis most likely won’t have any games against its playoff opponents, Infanger relies on history to get a feel for what to expect.

“We played teams like (West Central Area-Ashby) and Pillager the last couple of years,” he said. “We are hoping to get the second or the third seed in the playoffs so we can get a home game. I think that there’s always some caution going up against a team we’re not familiar with, but we have some film, and we know what kinds of things these teams like to do on both sides of the ball. It all comes down to us being ready to play.”

PAYNESVILLE 24 16 22 12 - 74

OSAKIS 22 6 6 8 - 42

FIRST QUARTER- Osakis- Isaac Hetland TD run (two-point runno good) 5:55; Paynesville- Drew Tangen TD run (Chase Bayer two point conversion good); Osakis- Duncan Vandergon 65-yard TD run (Vandergon two point conversion good); Paynesville- Bayer 1-yard TD run (Bayer two point conversion good) 2:37; SECOND QUARTER- Osakis- Hetland 22-yard TD run (Hetland two-point conversion good); Payensville- Bayer 30-yard TD pass to Blake Hiltner (Max Athemann two-point conversion catch); Paynesville- Tangen 10-yard TD run (Two-point conversion pass from Bayer to Athemann good) 7:35; Osakis- Hetland 9-yard TD run (Two-point conversion no good); Paynesville- Bayer 40-yard TD pass to Dalton Lahr (Bayer two-point conversion good) 3:23; THIRD QUARTER- Paynesville- Drew Tangen 20-yard TD run (two-point conversion no good) 10:42; Osakis- Bauer Klimek two-yard touchdown run (two-point conversion no good) Paynesville- Hiltner 2-yard TD run (Bayer two-point conversion pass to Stanley good); 7:10; Paynesville- Hiltner 55-yard fumble recovery for a TD (Two-point conversion good) 2:51; FOURTH QUARTER- Osakis- Hetland three-yard TD run (Klimek two-point conversion pass to Chase Meyer good); Paynesville- Bayer 30-yard TD run (two-point conversion no good) Paynesville- Craig Schmitz 16-yard TD run (Schmitz two-point conversion good) 4:09