Owatonna Captures Fourth Straight Section Championship
Owatonna football is going back to the state tournament after a dominating 43-6 over Rochester Century Friday night in the Section 1-5A title game played at Owatonna High School. The Huskies turned three of the Panthers five turnovers into short touchdown drives. OHS scored 22 points in the first quarter and led 29-6 at the half.
The two-time defending state champs won their 29th consecutive game by putting big pressure on the Panthers quarterback while covering their stable of receivers tightly and jamming up any efforts Century made at running the ball. The Huskies will face St. Thomas Academy in the state quarterfinals Saturday, November 9 at 12 pm at Woodbury High School. The Huskies beat the Cadets in last year's Prep Bowl final.
On Friday, the Huskies took the opening drive 75 yards in six plays with a couple of big passes from Brayden Truelson to Isaac Oppegard and a 27-yard touchdown burst from Tanner Hall who surpassed 1,000 yards for the season with that scoring run.
Hunter Menden tipped and intercepted Nathan Eberhart's second pass of the game. Hall raced in from 26 yards out on the next play to give the Huskies a 14-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
Century ran a fake punt from their own side of midfield on their next drive. Owatonna's Carson DeKam pushed punter Jack Fisher out of bounds short of the first down stick. The Huskies lost the ball on a fumble trying to convert a fourth down play shortly afterward. Century returned the fumbled ball to the Huskies 17-yard line. Zach Stransky intercepted the next pass and raced up the same sideline and seemed to be in the clear, but lost his footing around the Panthers 40. Truelson connected with Payton Beyer for a long 26-yard scoring pass. The two-point conversion put OHS up 22-0 after the opening quarter.
Stranksy scored his first touchdown since opening week against Century on a four-yard run midway through the second quarter with Isaac Gefre and Zach Wiese as lead blockers for a 29-0 lead. The Panthers got great field position after a Huskies punt and scored with 26 seconds left to halftime but missed the extra point, leaving OHS up 29-6 at the break.
Oppegard recovered a fumble early in the third quarter. Truelson hit Matt Williams for a 17-yard touchdown and 36-6 lead. Gefre plowed his way into the end zone later in the quarter after a long pass the Beyer put the ball at the Panthers one. Sam Henson was five-for-five on PAT attempts.
Watch for updates on advance sale of tickets for the state tournament game.