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Football: Opportunistic Silverstreaks defeat WCA-Ashby 28-19 in the Section 6AA semifinals

The Osakis Silverstreaks are headed back to the Section 6AA Championship after a 28-19 win over WCA-Ashby on Saturday in the semifinals. On offense, Kyle Mages was a part of three Osakis touchdowns and on defense, he picked off three passes in the win. Osakis faces Sauk Centre in the section championship on Nov. 4 in Fargo.

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Osakis's Kyle Mages (11) celebrates a touchdown with teammate Logan Karnes (60) in the second quarter of Osakis' 28-19 win over WCA-Ashby in the Section 6AA semifnials on Oct. 29, 2022. Mages was a part of three Osakis touchdowns and picked off three passes on defense.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press
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OSAKIS - Much like it did in its regular season win over the West Central Area-Ashby Knights on Oct. 14 , the Osakis football team created multiple turnovers in its 28-19 Section 6AA semifinal win at home on Saturday.

“This win feels really good, especially since they ended our season last year,” junior Kyle Mages said.

Senior Tyson Hagedon’s words mirrored Mages’.

“It feels good getting our final win at home here, too,” he said.

Mages came away with three interceptions on defense and was responsible for three of the four Silverstreaks touchdowns on offense.

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“I think that’s the most interceptions by one player we’ve had in a while here at Osakis,” head coach Bill Infanger said. “For him to put up three in his first playoff game is big. Kyle had an injury last week. He didn't play, and that was really where we felt we needed him the most. He's a great quarterback, but we needed him on the defensive side knowing that West Central Area was going to throw the ball deep.”

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Osakis' Gaven Cimbura (20), Drew Imdieke (6) and Grant Mages (42) celebrate with Kyle Mages (11) after picking off the first of three passes in Osakis' Section 6AA Semifinal win over WCA-Ashby on Oct. 29, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Mages has picked off nine passes this year.

The Knights and Silverstreaks met in the 2021 Section 6AA Championship, which went the Knights' way 19-14.

Osakis (8-1, 4-0 Section 6AA), the No. 1 seed in the section, will play the No. 2 seed Sauk Centre (6-3, 1-0 Section 6AA) in the section final on Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. in Fargo, North Dakota.

In Saturday’s win, Mages came away with two interceptions on WCA-Ashby’s first two drives of the second quarter, which helped Osakis build a two-touchdown lead.

“Anytime you create a turnover, there’s a huge opportunity there,” Infanger said. “Our offense was able to take advantage of that and get some scores early in this game.”

Mages credits the coaching staff for his performance on Saturday.

“I was seeing the ball well out there, and the coaches were putting me in the right position to make a play,” Mages said.

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Mages spent most of the game matched up on WCA-A’s Cole Anderson, who has a bevy of WCA-A’s receiving records .

“Cole Anderson is a heck of a receiver,” Infanger said. “It was good for Kyle to make those plays and it was huge for us. Both those guys are great ball players.”

Mages’ first touchdown of the quarter was a three-yard pass to fullback Drew Imdieke which put Osakis up 14-7. Imdieke scored Osakis’ first touchdown on a 2-yard run late in the first quarter, which tied the game at seven.

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Osakis' Drew Imdieke cuts a run upfield during Osakis' Section 6AA semifinal game against WCA-Ashby on Oct. 29, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Imdieke and Mages were both back in the starting lineup for the Silverstreaks after missing the Silverstreaks’ regular season finale against Pillager on Oct. 19 due to injury.

“To have both those guys back in this game lifted the morale,” Infanger said. “Drew started the game well. He was physical; he had some hard downhill bowling-ball type runs like he normally does. Drew and Gaven [Cimbura] are kind of our third or fourth backs back there, and they do a lot more as blockers. They're almost like linemen who get to touch the ball now and then. They run hard when they get their opportunities. It's nice having guys like that on the outside who can be physical but also are good ball carriers.”

Osakis went up 21-7 near the end of the first half after Mages scored on a six-yard run with 1:12 left in the second quarter.

But WCA-Ashby (6-3), the No. 4 seed in the section, went into the locker room with some momentum after Anthony Sykora threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Anderson, which cut WCA-Ashby’s deficit to eight.

“It would have been easy to just pack it in and look to the next season, but we didn’t do that; we fought,” WCA-Ashby head coach Nate Wood said.

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WCA-Ashby had a chance to tie the game after Brady Lindquist punched the ball into the end zone on a quarterback sneak on fourth and one less than a minute into the fourth quarter. On the ensuing two-point conversion, Imdieke made an ankle tackle on Lindquist short of the end zone, and Osakis held on to a 21-19 lead.

Osakis put the game away with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Mages to Grant Mages with 5:06 left in the game and a defensive stop on the following WCA-Ashby offensive drive.

“All you can ask for ultimately is to have a chance, and we did,” Wood said. “Osakis is a great team, and they made some great plays. That one-handed interception by Kyle Mages was incredible. They did what they had to do to win and we fell a little bit short. But we asked our team after the game here, ‘Are you guys tired? Did you do everything you can to win this game? And if you did, there's nothing to hang your head over.’”

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Osakis and WCA-Ashby have won the last three out of four Section 6AA titles, with Osakis’ most recent coming in 2019.

“I think the respect between these two programs is tremendous,” Wood said. “I think that as far as coaching staffs go, we know each other well and are friends. We respect what Bill and his staff are doing here at Osakis. They’re doing some great things here. As far as our teams go, it feels like it's a good rivalry that's building here. They won a close game last year, but we got them in the Fargodome. Then they kind of thump us earlier in the year, and now we come out, make it a close game now. Anything can happen in these games, and that’s fun to see.”

Osakis is set for a battle with a Sauk Centre program that hasn’t made the state tournament since 1983.

Sauk Centre and Osakis’ last meeting was in 2018, when Osakis won 33-32. Sauk Centre has moved from Class AA to Class AAA and back a few times over the last 11 seasons and were back in Section 6AA at the start of the 2021 season.

“We haven’t played them in a couple of years, so we’re going to enjoy this win for the day but then really hit the film room hard,” Infanger said.

Sauk Centre beat the No. 3 seed Wadena-Deer Creek (7-3, 2-1 Section 6AA) 47-13 in the semifinals on Saturday.

Knights hold their heads high at season’s end

Throughout the season, the Knights have played with heavy hearts after teammate Tyler Stone was killed in a car accident on Sept. 11, 2022.

From the game on Sept. 16 against Pillager and on, the Knights have played in honor of their teammate and have fought through adversity.

“I am incredibly proud of this entire program,” Wood said. “Going through a tragedy like we did, everything has felt like a huge weight. The way they've responded with poise and grace, always trying to get better and playing for each other, has been really impressive and inspiring to me as a coach.”

Infanger also shared some words on the season that the Knights had.

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WCA-A's Brady Lindquist (14), Jake Norby (34) and Cole Anderson (10) combine for a tackle during a Section 6AA semifinal game against Osakis on Oct. 29, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

“I have a lot of respect for this team and what they went through,” Infanger said. “I really feel like they fought so hard this year going through the loss of a teammate and I can't imagine what they went through. With the resilience they had to show up and play football with the heart that they did throughout this season, my hat goes off to them on the season that they’ve had.”

Stone was a key piece in the Knights' run to the 2021 Class AA state title game.

Anderson, Sykora, Beau Robinson, Blake Flint, Brett Amundson, Damon Sanstead, Isaac Kreft, Justin Blascyk, Parker Stach and Quinten Winter are all seniors in the WCA-Ashby program that are set to graduate in the spring.

“It is really impressive what these guys have done,” Wood said. “They had some really good leaders when they were freshmen in 2019 that set the example for them that year. And they then bought in 100%, and they’ve kept building what we're trying to build as a program. We went through COVID together; we went through a state championship game run together. And now, an absolutely indescribable season this year together. It's really been a heck of a ride.”

Wood is excited about what the future holds for the WCA-Ashby program.

“I’m excited to see what these juniors, who have really grown a ton over the course of the season, are going to do as seniors,” Wood said. “We have some sophomores that really provided meaningful minutes for us this year. Every year of growth is always so fun to see."

WCA-Ashby - 7 6 0 6 - 19  

Osakis - 7 14 0 7 - 28 

SCORING -

1ST - Anthony Sykora, 4-yard run, 8:04, Sykora PAT (7-0 WCA-Ashby); Drew Imdieke, 2-yard run, 1:20, Duncan Tronicke PAT (Tied 7-7)

2ND - Kyle Mages 3-yard pass to Drew Imdieke, 6:16, Tronicke PAT (14-7 Osakis); Kyle Mages 6-yard run, 1:12, Tronicke PAT (21-7 Osakis); Anthony Sykora 35-yard pass to Cole Anderson, 1:12, PAT NO GOOD (21-13 Osakis)

4TH - Brady Lindquist 1-yard run, 11:09, 2-pt conversion NO GOOD (21-19 Osakis); Kyle Mages 15-yard pass to Grant Mages, Tronicke PAT good, 5:06 (28-19 Osakis)

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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