By PATRICK SLACK
Osakis technically did show up on time.
But by the point its play finally translated into any points, much less a first down, it was far too late to make any difference against Upsala-Swanville Area (USA).
Playing its annual afternoon game in Upsala, the Patriots pounded Osakis from the opening whistle as they rolled to a 34-8 win, Sept. 13.
“We did talk about it a little bit just because it is different,” USA head coach Jay Loven said. “We didn’t put a lot of emphasis on it because we didn’t want to draw any more attention to it, the kids don’t really care to play in the afternoon.
“We just approached it as just another game against a very good football team,” he said. “We came out hard against them. That’s a good football team – they aren’t going to lose many games this year.”
However, Osakis’ first loss seemed imminent almost from the start, as USA’s defense provided no room for the Silverstreaks to operate while the Patriots’ offense took charge.
An early fourth-down conversion pass from junior Tyler Evans to junior Jordan Sales set up a 10-yard touchdown run by senior Mitch Lange, then sophomore Kyle Lange broke free for a 71-yard scoring scamper off of a sweep play to make it 14-0.
Deep touchdown runs from 45 and 46 yards away by Mitch Lange and Evans, respectively, pushed the gap to 27-0 at the half, before Osakis finally attained a first down.
The Silverstreaks had a chance to get on the board after a blocked punt set them up on the USA 5-yard line late in the third quarter.
But the Silverstreaks turned the ball over on downs, then watched the Patriots march the length of the field, capped by a 5-yard run by Mitch Lange to make it 34-0, before escaping a shutout in the closing minutes.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but on the flip side of that, if you would have told me Aug. 12 when we started practice this team would be sitting here 3-0, beating Browerville at Browerville and Osakis, I would have taken that obviously,” Loven said. “They’ve kind of exceeded where we thought they’d be at this point.
“I just like our chemistry and our make-up right now,” he said. “It’s just the kids playing hard. We preach to them all week what we think they are going to do, but they soak it up and they do the work. We’ve just got a good group of kids that work hard.”
Osakis entered the game ranked fourth in Class AA in the opening rankings, with USA unranked in Class A. The Patriots jumped to ninth in Class A this week.
“We let the kids know about that,” Loven said. “We as coaches know it’s tough to rank teams two games in, but we used it to our advantage.
“I don’t know if it would have made a difference,” he said. “Our kids just love to play football, they’ll do anything for us. I don’t care what kind of coach you are, if you have that, you’ve got a good start.”
Mitch Lange led the Patriots on both sides of the ball, running for 178 yards and recording 12 solo tackles and a sack.
Kyle Lange added 89 yards on the ground and made six solo tackles, with Evans running for 57 yards, throwing for another 29 and picking off a pass.
Junior Austin Johnson registered four solo stops and also had an interception.
USA looked to improve to 4-0 in its scheduled home game against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Friday.
Upsala-Swanville Area 34, Osakis 8
Osakis 0 0 0 8 – 8
USA 14 13 0 7 – 34
USA: Mitch Lange 10 run (Justin Cichon kick).
USA: Kyle Lange 71 run (Cichon kick).
USA: Mitch Lange 45 run (conv. failed).
USA: Tyler Evans 46 run (Cichon kick).
USA: Mitch Lange 5 run (Cichon kick).
OSAK: 15 pass (conv. good).
Upsala-Swanville Area—Rushing: Mitch Lange: 22-178; Kyle Lange: 5-89; Tyler Evans: 7-57; Ethan McCoy: 1-15; Aaron Ripplinger: 2-10; Myron Ripplinger: 2-10; Parker Barth: 1-8; Eric Koetter: 2-7. Passing: Evans: 4-9, 29. Receiving: Jordan Sales: 2-17; Carter Loven: 1-8; Kyle Lange: 1-4. Defense: Mitch Lange: 12 solo tackles, 4 assists, sack; Kyle Lange: 6 solo tackles; Aaron Ripplinger: 5 solo tackles; Dunkin Westrich: 5 solo tackles; Austin Johnson: 4 solo tackles, interception; Tyler Evans: interception.