Huskies Pass Mid-Season Test
While the school year has just barely started, high school football reached the midpoint of the regular season Friday night, September 20. As midterms go, the Huskies had a tough one against the unbeaten, speedy, top-ten ranked Mayo Spartans. But Owatonna had studied well and came away with a 31-14 victory for their 23rd consecutive win.
In a rare scenario, the Huskies found themselves down early, which also happened in 2018 at Mayo's Stadium. This time the Spartans pushed Owatonna backward on their opening drive and got a good punt return. Starting at the Huskies' 20-yard line, Mayo punched the ball into the end zone on a play where OHS nearly sacked the quarterback.
From there on, Owatonna's special teams and defense set up the offense in great position. OHS scored on a fourth-down run by Isaac Gefre for their first score. The extra point got blocked and Mayo led 7-6 late in the first quarter. After a poor punt Spartan punt, OHS started at the Mayo 31-yard line. On another fourth-down play, Brayden Truelson hit Carson DeKam with a 10-yard touchdown pass to move OHS ahead 12-7.
The two-point try missed after the touchdown, but the Huskies got those points when the snap on the next Mayo punt went over the punters head into the end zone. Huskies senior kicker Sam Henson hit a 33-yard field goal for a 17-7 halftime lead. Owatonna had just 100 total offensive yards in the first half. The defense held the Spartans to a net of under 50 yards.
Click here to listen to the Coaches Show from Saturday, September 21.
Mayo took the opening drive of the second half 80 yards in ten plays, overcoming numerous penalties, and scored on a four-yard TD pass from Cade Sheehan to Michael Mankaka. The extra-point kick was good, pulling the Spartans within 17-14 with 6:38 remaining in the third quarter.
Owatonna ate up the remaining time of the quarter with an 18-play drive but lost the ball on downs. With the chance to retake the lead, Mayo drove into Huskies territory on their next drive but was forced to punt from near midfield. The Huskies punted back to the Spartans shortly after that.
Keenan Young intercepted a Sheehan pass to give the Huskies the ball at the Spartans' 35-yard line. Owatonna's drive appeared destined for a touchdown but a red-zone fumble gave the ball back to Mayo with 6:35 remaining in the game.
Payton Beyer, who battled leg cramps along with several other players from both teams, grabbed interceptions on consecutive possessions to set up the OHS offense deep in Rochester territory each time. Owatonna completed those drives with a one-yard touchdown by Truelson and an eight-yard read-option dash by QB Sol Havelka giving the Huskies the 31-14 win.
OHS had just over 200 yards of total offense. Mayo had about 300 with most of that through the air. Spartans' receivers made several great catches but also had a couple of drops on what could have been scoring plays. Rochester lost a top receiver to a knee injury early in the contest.
Owatonna (4-0) travels to Faribault Friday, September 27 for a 7 pm kickoff on AM 1390 KRFO and the KRFO app. Mayo (3-1) plays Mankato West at the Minnesota Vikings TCO Training Facility in Eagan at 6 pm on Saturday, September 28.