Football: Osakis tops Pillager 42-13 in regular season finale to head into the playoffs at 7-1

Osakis put together a solid all-around performance to defeat Pillager 42-13 on senior night. Osakis finished the regular season with a 7-1 record and likely secured the top seed in the Section 6AA Playoffs.

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Osakis' Aaron Kallstrom celebrates after a Ben Beger rushing touchdown that put Osakis up 28-6 at halftime against Pillager on Oct. 19, 2022. Osakis won the game 42-13 and finished the 2022 regular season with a 7-1 record.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press
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OSAKIS - The Osakis football team (7-1, 3-0 Section 6AA) earned a convincing victory on Wednesday over the Pillager Huskies (2-6, 1-2 Section 6AA).

“It feels good to get a win against a physical Pillager team,” Osakis head coach Bill Infanger said. “I’m really proud of the guys for controlling the line of scrimmage and getting done what we wanted to get done.”

Osakis is now the likely No. 1 seed in the Section 6AA playoffs. Official playoff seedings and matchups are going to be announced on Thursday. Go to the Echo Press website on Thursday for full playoff listings for area teams.

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Osakis senior Tyler Bailey (55) pulls around to get into position for a block in the second quarter of a game on Oct. 19, 2022. Osakis rushed for five touchdowns in a 42-13 win to end the regular season with a 7-1 record.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

If Osakis is one of the top two seeds, it will have a bye to begin the playoffs and then will host a semifinal game on Saturday, Oct. 29. Osakis came into the night as the highest-rated Section 6AA team in the Class AA QRF rankings on

Osakis was ranked eighth in the Class AA rankings, while Sauk Centre and Wadena-Deer Creek were the next closest teams at 20th and 27th.


Infanger was happy to see his eight seniors end their final regular season home game with a win.

“Our seniors have been great,” he said. “Even in the offseason, from about the last play of last year to this year, they've been leaders for us in the weight room and are getting it done. They’ve just been a constant presence of hard work, and they have gotten us to this point of being 7-1.”

Senior Logan Karnes said winning on senior night is something that he’ll never forget.

“I love this sport, and I’ll never forget this,” Karnes said.

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Osakis' Wyatt Sell (left) runs the ball as Logan Karnes (60) guides him in a game on Oct. 19, 2022, against Pillager.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

The Silverstreaks' offense was opportunistic in the first half as they scored all of their points off of a Huskie fumble or a botched snap on a punt. They caught an interception to end the game.

The Silverstreaks got the running game going in the win with four different players combining to score the team’s five rushing touchdowns behind a physical offensive line.

“That’s just how Osakis football is played,” senior guard/defensive tackle McCarter Kirksey said. “It’s about putting your heads down and driving for five [yards].”

Juniors Ben Berger, Gaven Cimbura, Wyatt Sell and senior Tyson Hagedon each rushed for a touchdown. Hagedon rushed for two touchdowns, both of which came in the second half. Osakis outscroed Pillager 28-6 in the first half and 14-7 in the second.


Osakis was without junior quarterback/defensive back Kyle Mages, who suffered an injury at the end of the game on Oct. 14 at West Central Area-Ashby (5-3, 2-1 Section 6AA). The Silverstreaks were also without Drew Imdieke, a junior fullback/linebacker with an injury.

“They’re getting better,” Infanger said. “It’s still up in the air. We don’t know what we’ve got, but we’re hoping they’ll play on Saturday (Oct. 29).”

Junior Mekai Hoelscher, a starting receiver for the Silverstreaks, filled in as the starting quarterback on Wednesday. Hoelscher threw a touchdown pass in the first quarter to junior tight end Grant Mages to put the Silverstreaks up 14-6.

“He's a talented athlete with a great arm,” Infanger said of Hoelscher. “There’s a lot of teams in the past where Mekai would be the starting quarterback. We had a lot of confidence in him and his ability to go out and get this win. For his first varsity start, you just hope he didn't have any butterflies. He came out and took care of the football, didn't have any turnovers, completed a pass for a touchdown, and did everything we wanted him to do.”

Pillager quarterback Christian Hooge scored two rushing touchdowns, including a 75-yard touchdown rush.

“They were able to move the ball on us, and they were physical,” Infanger said.

The Silverstreaks ended the regular season with a 4-0 record at home, outscoring those opponents 157-26. The Silverstreaks’ seven wins have come in dominant fashion, as they have outscored opponents 276-44.

The only blip on the Silverstreaks' resume this season is a 51-8 loss to Barnesville on Sept. 23. Barnesville is 8-0 and the sixth-ranked team in the Class AA QRF rankings on


“That was a real eye-opener,” Kirksey said. “I’m really happy with how this team has pulled together.”

Osakis is now ready for the postseason. And to win in the postseason, Infanger said it comes down to execution.

“We have to keep doing what we're doing,” he said. “We must execute, control the line of scrimmage and take care of the football. We have to play good defense. Not turning the ball over, getting turnovers and having a ground game of our own is the formula in Minnesota in the playoffs.”

Osakis won the 2019 Section 6AA championship and made it to the championship game in 2018 (won by Pillager) and 2021 (won by WCA-Ashby).

Kirksey and Karnes said that they are confident that the teams’ physicality can continue to translate to wins in the playoffs.

Pillager - 6 0 7 0 - 13

Osakis - 14 14 7 7 - 42

1ST- Wyatt Sell 9-yard run, 9:38, Duncan Tronicke PAT (7-0 Osakis); P- Christian Hooge 75-yard run, 2-pt conversion no-good (7-6 Osakis); Mekai Hoelscher 14-yard pass to Grant Mages, 2:01, Tronicke PAT (14-6 Osakis); 2ND - Gaven Cimbura 48-yard run, 9:48, Tronicke PAT (21-6 Osakis; Ben Berger 3-yard run, 1:15, Tronicke PAT (28-6 Osakis); 3RD - Tyson Hagedon 1-yard run, 5:35, Tronicke PAT (35-6 Osakis); Hooge 18-yard run, 0:46, Gabriel Parrish PAT (Osakis 35-13); 4TH - Hagedon 60-yard rush, 8:35, Tronicke PAT (42-13 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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