In between the time spent huddled around space heaters on the sideline, the Osakis football team flexed its muscle on both sides of the ball on a cold Friday night against Morris Area-Chokio-Alberta.
The Silverstreaks (5-2) kept their winning streak alive with a 41-6 win over the Tigers (4-3). They battled through a blizzard to win their fourth consecutive game.
"This is a big win for us, and I think it's a big win because we have so much respect for Morris with them being 4-2 and the success they've had," head coach Bill Infanger said. "They just played a tough Minnewaska team last weekend. For our offense to put up 41 points in these conditions against an outstanding Morris defense, I feel really good about it."
After forcing MACA to punt, Osakis started its opening drive from its own eight-yard line. Senior Luke Imdieke broke off a 45-yard run before Isaac Hetland scored the first touchdown and two-point conversion of the game.
"The coaches are pretty confident in me," Hetland said. "It's exciting to get the ball, but I'm here to do my job."
Morris ended the first quarter with a long touchdown drive after a controversial defensive holding call in the red zone on fourth down.
While holding an 8-6 lead, Osakis gave the ball back to MACA midway through the second quarter after a non-pass interference call on fourth down at the goal line was questioned by Silverstreaks’ coaches. Infanger trusted his veteran leadership to power through adversity.
"That comes from having seniors," coach Infanger said. "There's a lot of grit, toughness and desire needed to win football games. We expected it to be a really tough game and for it to be close at halftime. I told the guys all week that it's going to come down to one or two plays. That's why those two calls were so important. That's football. The guys know that sometimes not everything goes your way, and they battled through that."
With under a minute to play in the half, Imdieke got past the defense for a 40-yard touchdown run to give Osakis a 14-6 lead going into halftime.
"We tweaked some things in the second half," coach Infanger said. "They were putting a lot of guys in the box and squeezing the gaps that we normally like to run in. The guys executed the minor changes in the second half that allowed us to get out in open space and let the backs do their thing."
Midway through the third quarter, Hetland punched in his second touchdown and two-point conversion of the game to put the Silverstreaks up 22-6.
"He had a great day," coach Infanger said. "You need a fullback to take the load in conditions like this. Luke (Imdieke) gets a lot of credit for all the big games he's had, but Isaac Hetland is a big part of what we do. He keeps teams honest because he's so physical running between the tackles."
As the wind picked up, so did the Osakis offense. Three fourth quarter touchdowns iced the game and moved Osakis to 5-2 on the season.
"I was a little concerned with the weather because we do a lot of lateral running plays," coach Infanger said. "For us, balance is not only about moving the ball through the air, but also about running left and right while spreading the ball around between three or four different backs. We were able to get to the edge with Luke Imdieke and Daniel Savageau."
After allowing a touchdown in the first quarter, the Silverstreaks were stout on defense. During their winning streak, they have not allowed more than a touchdown in each game.
"We love going out there to hit a guy and make plays," Hetland said. "We all have a job to do. It doesn't matter how old you are or where you play. We've done a good job of that since that first game."
Osakis is set to play Minnewaska at home in the regular-season finale on Wednesday. With the temperatures dropping, playing like they did Friday is what separates the good teams from the bad.
"Playing in weather like this is a gut check," coach Infanger said. "I was impressed with the way our guys came out and played at home. There's a lot of reasons to not play at 100 percent on a night like this. We didn't fall for any of that. Our guys were physical and took care of the football."
Minnewaska is 6-1 after beating Sauk Centre 49-14 on Friday. With two fewer days to prepare, the preparation becomes more intense.
"We need to keep our focus during the short week of practice," Hetland said. "We had big heads and big expectations against Browerville (in week one), and that hurt us. We knew we're a better team, and we've come out firing ever since then. We have high expectations for ourselves."
OSAKIS 8 6 8 19 - 41
MORRIS 6 0 0 0 - 6
OSAKIS SCORING- FIRST QUARTER- Osakis- Isaac Hetland 4-yard TD run (Hetland two-point conversion) 5:45; Morris- Zach bruns 2-yard TD run (two-point conversion pass no good) 0:04;
SECOND QUARTER- Osakis- Luke Imdieke 40-yard TD run (two-point conversion pass no good) 0:47;
THIRD QUARTER- Osakis- Isaac Hetland 4-yard TD run (Hetland two-point conversion run good) 5:28;
FOURTH QUARTER- Osakis- Luke Imdieke 1-yard TD run (two-point conversion no good) 11:54; Osakis- Isaac Hetland 3-yard TD run (Carter Rost PAT good) 5:18; Osakis- Garek Radtke 10-yard TD run (Carter Rost PAT no good)