Late Field Goal Lifts Owatonna to Victory in the Mud
Conditions were far, far from ideal. The field was soaked and muddy. The footballs were wet and hard to hang onto, as evidenced by the multiple second-half fumbles. But Owatonna executed perfectly on a Drew Henson field goal of nearly 30 yards for 17-14 victory over No. 7-4A Kasson-Mantorville Wednesday night at OHS.
As special teams coach Mark Clausen told me before the game, "The special teams is really a team. We have to have a good snap. We have to have a good hold on a field goal. Then we have to have a good kick."
Nick Williams is the holder on place kicks. A couple of plays before the winning boot, Williams caught a 25-yard pass from Jacob Ginskey at the KoMet 11-yard line. The Huskies kicked the game winner on third down with 36 seconds left. (I believe Collin Vick was the long snapper on the play.)
Henson is 6-out-of-7 on field goals this season and 22-for-23 on PAT's after hitting a pair on Wednesday. Speaking of special teams, Eli Knutson punted five times for OHS and was solid with a pair of monster kicks of about 50 yards.
The teams sloshed back-and-forth for a few drives before a series of big plays defined the game. KM (5-3) had a back go for an 86-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. The extra point kick missed. Kasson-Mantorville was up 6-0.
On the ensuing kickoff. Owatonna's Noah Wellnitz picked up the football off a bounce and sprinted 76 yards for a touchdown. The PAT made it 7-6 Huskies.
On Owatonna's next drive, Grant Achterkirch took a handoff and busted his way through the middle of the line and into the clear for a 44-yard dash to the end zone. That put OHS (5-3) up 14-6 going into halftime.
The rain picked up significantly in the second half resulting in numerous fumbles. Some were recovered by the fumbling team, but each team lost a pair as well. One such turnover gave the KoMets the ball at the Owatonna five-yard line. KM scored on a fourth down touchdown pass and converted the two-point run to tie the game at 14-14 with 4:45 to go in the third.
Owatonna had a golden opportunity when KM fumbled on their own six. But the Huskies fumbled it back two plays later.
OHS has a first-round playoff bye on Tuesday, October 26 and will open defense of their Section 1-5A title on Saturday, October 30 at home. They will host the winner of Tuesday's game between Northfield (3rd seed) and Austin (6th seed).
On the other side of the bracket, JM and Century will play Tuesday with the winner going to top seed Rochester Mayo on October 30.