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Football: Osakis makes an early impression with dominant win over Hawley

Both teams came into the game at 1-0 on Friday after controlling their week-one matchups, but the Silverstreaks left no doubt in a 35-6 win over the Nuggets.

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Osakis sophomore Kaleb Helberg lets out a scream after his fumble recovery after a misplayed catch by Hawley on a punt set up the Silverstreaks' first scoring drive from the Hawley 20-yard line on Sept. 9, 2022. The Silverstreaks took control early and went on to improve to 2-0 with the 35-6 win.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press
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OSAKIS — Two Midwest (White) District teams that dominated week-one games last week met in Osakis on Friday and the Silverstreaks made another statement with a convincing win over Hawley.

Osakis left no doubt in this one, grabbing a 22-0 lead by the half. The Silverstreaks went on to win 35-6 against a physical Hawley program that features two big runners in John Vetter (6-feet, 3-inches, 235 pounds) and Derek Tibbetts (6-feet, 3-inches, 211 pounds).

“We definitely prepared for Hawley,” Osakis senior lineman McCarter Kirksey said. “They weren’t a team we were going to overlook. You got the Barnesvilles, you got the WCAs, but we definitely didn’t overlook Hawley. They’re a solid football team and they’ll have a good season.”

Osakis’ offense was forced to punt on its first drive, but Hawley could not handle the catch of the punt cleanly. Sophomore Kaleb Helberg jumped on the fumble for Osakis to set up his team at the Nuggets’ 20-yard line.

It was all Silverstreaks from there. Junior fullback Drew Imdieke capped off that drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to jumpstart a three-score night for him.

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Osakis junior fullback Drew Imdieke leads the blocking for senior running back Tyson Hagedon on Sept. 9, 2022 against Hawley. Imdieke had two first-quarter touchdown runs from inside the 10-yard line to help Osakis take control early in the win. He added a receiving touchdown later in the game to cap off a three-touchdown game.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

Imdieke added a 2-yard touchdown later in the first quarter on a drive that was extended by a perfectly executed screen pass from Kyle Mages to Tyson Hagedon on 3rd-and-16.

Mages then connected with his twin brother, Grant, late in the second quarter on a pass to the right sideline from the Hawley 19-yard line. Grant put a move on a defender and then won a race to the pylon to make it a three-touchdown game.

“We knew Hawley was going to be extremely physical coming in,” Osakis head coach Bill Infanger said. “They have a 230 pound fullback, and a 210 pound halfback that both run the ball really well. We knew it was a challenge for our d-line and our linebackers to get those guys down. I thought for the first half, we tackled really well. They’re a physical team on the offensive and defensive lines. They gave us a lot of trouble tonight, and luckily we were able to do some things on the outside and through the air to kind of loosen them up.”

If there was a question coming into this season about Osakis following an 8-2 record in 2021, it was how would four new starters along the offensive line step up in this run-heavy offense? It’s been so far, so good on that front through two weeks.

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Osakis senior lineman McCarter Kirksey works to get around the Hawley block on a punt during the first quarter on Sept. 9, 2022.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

“We do a lot of work in the offseason, so we developed a lot of chemistry in the weight room,” Kirksey said. “All of our guys put in a lot of work. That’s where it comes from. There’s always nerves, but I felt we could put a good offense together. We have so far.”

Osakis was able to move the ball with Tyson Hagedon, Imdieke, Wyatt Sell and Kyle Mages getting the carries. Kyle Mages scored on a 12-yard scamper to the left corner of the end zone to open the second half for the Silverstreaks. That made it 29-0 after the Duncan Tronicke PAT.

“They’re executing,” Infanger said of his offensive line. “It doesn’t feel like we’re overpowering people sometimes. We sometimes miss a block here or there, or we get beat, but the guys are doing their jobs. They’re communicating on the line. We’re getting a hat on a hat when we need to, and we’re executing. That’s the biggest thing. We don’t have the negative runs. It feels like when we’re failing right now, it’s a two or three yard gain. When everything clicks and we do it right, it’s a seven or eight yard gain.”

Hawley finally got on the board in the third quarter with a 44-yard rushing touchdown from Bradley Olson, but Osakis answered right back on the next drive. Hagedon busted off a 31-yard run that set his team up deep in Hawley territory. That led to a 10-yard touchdown connection from Kyle Mages to Imdieke off of a play-action pass on 3rd-and-7.

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Osakis junior quarterback Kyle Mages looks for an opening between the Hawley defense as he scrambles during the Silverstreaks' win over the Nuggest on Sept. 9, 2022.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

The offense kept churning, and the defense stymied a Nuggets team that scored 42 points against Pillager on Sept. 2.

Osakis got a key fumble recovery inside its own 5-yard line early in the fourth quarter to keep Hawley from inching any closer. It was the second of three fumble recoveries by the Silverstreaks in the game.

“Coach (Chris) Ludwig had a great plan coming in,” Infanger said. “A lot of different looks, and we were able to get a lot of different guys up around the line of scrimmage to tackle those backs but still keep us sound in coverage. That’s a little bit different coverage scheme than we usually run. I felt like we had a solid scheme coming into the game, and then it’s those guys causing the turnovers. Those are huge. Our linebackers played well and tackled well, and we got some good play out of our interior lineman. Our seniors in McCarter Kirksey, Logan Karnes and Ian Adolphsen played really physical in the middle there and did a nice job helping our linebackers slow that run game down.”

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Osakis junior tight end Grant Mages hauls in a catch in traffic against Hawley on Sept. 9, 2022. Mages' second quarter touchdown catch of 19 yards helped give the Silverstreaks a 22-0 lead in the win.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

Through two weeks, the Silverstreaks have outscored opponents 70-19. They are 2-0 overall and in district play with a matchup against district and section rival Staples-Motley up next on Sept. 16. It’s as good of a start as Infanger could have hoped for.

“It’s huge. It’s exactly where we want to be, but we have to keep improving,” he said. “It doesn’t get any easier. We have a lot of tough games on our schedule, so we need to keep improving and not be happy with where we’re at.”

After back-to-back home games to start the season, Osakis will now go on the road for two straight. Staples-Motley is 0-2 and has been outscored 88-13 after a 43-7 loss to West Central Area-Ashby (1-1) on Friday night.

The Silverstreaks are riding high, but vow not to overlook the Cardinals next week with a big district game at 2-0 Barnesville looming on Sept. 23. Barnesville has allowed just six points in two games after beating Crookston 28-0 on Friday.

“Really, it’s one play at a time,” Infanger said. “We talk to the guys all the time about, ‘Just make one play.’ That’s the way we should start every game is get on the field and try to make your first play, whether it’s a block, a tackle, a pick, whatever it is. One play, one game at a time. Never want to look too far ahead. Stay in the now and in the moment.”

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OSAKIS 14 8 13

HAWLEY 0 0 6

SCORING - FIRST QUARTER - OSAKIS - Drew Imdieke 5-yard run; Duncan Tronicke PAT (7-0); OSAKIS - Drew Imdieke 2-yard run; Tronicke PAT (14-0)

SECOND QUARTER - OSAKIS - Kyle Mages 19-yard pass to Grant Mages; Tyson Hagedon 2-point conversion (22-0)

THIRD QUARTER - OSAKIS - Kyle Mages 12-yard run; Tronicke PAT (29-0); HAWLEY - Bradley Olson 44-yard run; Two-point conversion no good (29-6); OSAKIS - Kyle Mages 10-yard pass to Drew Imdieke; Missed PAT (35-6)

FOURTH QUARTER - No scoring

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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