The Owatonna High School football team celebrated their 2020 section championship season with an awards program Sunday afternoon. The event is usually held in December. But it was delayed to a time when the players and coaches could meet in person to recognize their accomplishments. It was held at the OHS auditorium. Parents and fans could watch on OwatonnaLive.com.

Coach Jeff Williams stressed the great job done by captains Payton Beyer, Matt Seykora, Zach Stansky, and Brayden Truelson, in addition to the coaching staff in handling the unpredictable nature of last fall's season. Notably, the Huskies had one game canceled but found a different opponent. The playoffs were moved up to a one-day section championship format, where the Huskies beat Rochester Mayo to take their fifth straight title.

Williams said, "I don't know if we've every asked as much out of captains as out of this bunch of guys. From summer weight training or whatever it was we could make happen, these guys were always there...When it looked like the season was going to be canceled and then to quickly flip when the season was on. To help our guys battle through the adversity of a couple of really tough losses. To have a kid have to battle through his own injury (Seykora). These guys, I think, are the epitome of what a captain should be like."

Williams recognized longtime coach, and OHS grad, Doug Wanous on being named as an assistant coach of the year by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association. Williams says, as a group, "Our coaches behind the scenes were unbelievable this year. The ability to say we don't have an opponent to 'hey guys' we have Monticello on the schedule and to have our entire coaching staff to immediately drop everything they were doing and go watch video so that you guys would have a game plan Tuesday morning."

The Huskies earned the Gold Academic Award from the coaches association. OHS had nine Big Nine Scholar Athletes. Hudson Aase, Ashton Jensen, Bailey Keck, Mason Saufferer, Matt Seykora, Nate Smith, Brayden Truelson, Lane Versteeg, and Cade Woltman earned the honor.

Gary Walter

Payton Beyer was named the Most Valuable Player in a vote by his teammates and the Offensive Player of the Year. Beyer led the team in received with 49 catches for 694 yards and six touchdowns. He had three interceptions, averaged 38 yards per punt and about 16 yards per punt return. Beyer won the Male Junior Athlete of the Year Award at OHS last May.

Zach Stransky received the Defensive Player of the Year Award after leading the team in defensive points. Stransky totaled 45 tackles, had 2.5 sacks, one (very athletic) interception, one fumble forced, and one fumble recovered.

Gavin Rein was named the Lineman of the Year after a stellar senior season, anchoring the offensive and defensive lines. Rein missed most of his junior season with a knee injury.

Gary Walkter

Blake Sommers received the Champion Award thanks to superb work on special teams. While Matt Seykora was named the Special Teams Player of the Year, thanks mainly to his long snapping.

Beyer, Stransky, and Rein were joined on the All-District Team by Grant Achterkirch, Nate Smith, Brayden Truelson, Connor Budach, and Tanner Hall. Seykora and Eli Spurgeon landed on the honor mention list in the Big Southeast District.

The captains for the 2021 season are Eli Spurgeon, Grant Achterkitch, and Nick Williams.

Gary Walter
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