The Osakis football team was unable to get the stop it needed on defense to give the Silverstreaks a chance to win the season opener on Friday night.
It was 3rd-and-inches with 1:58 left on the clock. Browerville-Eagle Valley needed to move the ball less than a foot to hand Osakis its first loss. Quarterback Corey Meyer took the snap and ran it up the gut of his offensive line. He gained less than a yard on the play, but it was enough for a first down.
“You have to give all the credit in the world to Browerville,” head coach Bill Infanger said. “They’re a physical football team and they took it to us. They took us out of our run game early, especially in the first half.”
BEV won the game 19-16 at home. It was a win that didn’t seem likely after Osakis’ first drive. Less than a minute into the game, Luke Imdieke ran the ball over 50 yards to score Osakis’ first touchdown on the second offensive play of the season. Imdieke converted the two-point conversion to put the Silverstreaks up 8-0.
After the quick touchdown, the Silverstreaks didn’t score again until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
“We can learn from the mistakes we made tonight,” Osakis senior Timothy Hall said. “We made a lot tonight but the best part about this team is understanding what we did wrong and improving in those spots in the next game.”
Osakis held an 8-0 lead until midway through the second quarter. Quarterback Hunter Infanger dropped back to pass on fourth down only to see his ball tipped and intercepted by BEV. They took the ball down to the 10-yard line and punched in a touchdown from the goal line. The Tigers missed the two-point conversion as Luke Staloch intercepted the pass from the back of the endzone.
On Osakis’ next drive, coach Infanger elected to punt instead of trying for a fourth-down conversion again from midfield. BEV ran the ball from its own 16-yard line and fumbled on first down. Running Back Mason Gode recovered the loose ball and ran it down to the Osakis 16-yard line. Osakis would stop a BEV fourth-and-short attempt and take an 8-6 lead into halftime.
“Turnovers were a difference-maker,” Infanger said. “I think both defenses played really well tonight. We had some good plays. We did some things well, but we couldn’t consistently move the ball.”
The Tigers started the second half the same way Osakis started the first. On the second play of the drive, a BEV 63-yard touchdown run gave them its first lead of the game. While leading 12-6, the Tigers put the pressure on defensively.
Osakis had another costly turnover in the third quarter. Infanger was stripped on a quarterback sweep as Meyer took the ball down to the Osakis 20-yard line. BEV took the lead with another goal-line run to go up 19-6.
“Three big turnovers – two of them were long returns,” Infanger said. That’s the story of the game. We have to take care of the football better. A bad bounce, batted ball and a strip was the difference tonight. Those flipped the field and switched momentum. Those are things we have to take care of and have to do better.”
Browerville’s run game chewed seconds off the scoreboard, forcing the Silverstreaks to air the ball out in their final two drives.
Osakis had the ball with less than six minutes to play. Infanger threw a touchdown pass to Kobie Lara with 2:18 left. Another two-point conversion cut the BEV lead to three.
“We were happy with the passing game at the end,” Infanger said. “We couldn’t run the ball consistently tonight so we needed our passing game. We didn’t protect the quarterback very well to give us a chance to throw early. By the end of the game, we found some things we could do and it got better.”
Time ran out on Osakis as the Silverstreaks were forced to head home at 0-1.
“We are good at putting games like this behind us,” Hall said. “We’ve played in games that we’ve had to learn from. Getting over it quickly and moving on is something we will do.”
Browerville’s core unit of defenders was one of the deciding factors on Friday night.
“They have great linebacker play. They played downhill and made good reads tonight,” Infanger said. “If we got on blocks, we weren’t able to stay on those blocks long enough.”
Osakis will play at home for the first time next Friday against Montevideo. Infanger is optimistic about moving the ball more heading into next week.
“We got our offense going at the end of the game,” Infanger said. “We found some things we can do with the passing game. We got hit in the mouth with adversity and now we will see how these guys respond as a team.”
As the Silverstreaks left the field, Infanger left them with the message that will stick with them through the three-day weekend.
“I don’t think this is indicative of who we are as a football team. I told them that,” Infanger said. “We still think we are a very good football team and we expect to win a lot of games this year. This doesn’t change that. This just has to motivate us to come in and work harder next week.”