It took all 48 minutes and then some for the Osseo football squad to escape East Ridge (3-2) Friday night with a crucial victory, beating the Raptors 17-14 in overtime. Filled with missed kicks, stingy defenses, and some high-tense drama, the Orioles found a way to win a game that, while not significant at the top of the standings, may be a barometer to where this program is today.
“We felt like us and East Ridge were carbon copies of each other,” Osseo head coach Ryan Stockhaus said. “This will be a good opportunity for us to see who we are.”
With both teams locked in defensively during the first quarter, the scoreboard finally awoke with just over two minutes left in the first half when Osseo senior quarterback Cade Fitzgerald ran in a two-yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Orioles.
Then in the middle stages of the third quarter, leaning on the running game, it was Osseo senior running back T.J. Clay who doubled the lead, thanks to another two-yard score. “I really like our offensive line,” Stockhaus said. “We put a lot on [junior offensive lineman] Jerome [Williams] to block [their rushers] and stuck to our identity.”
A 14-0, the Orioles lead didn’t last long, however. East Ridge answered right back in the next minute with a scoring drive capped off by a 27-yard touchdown from quarterback Tanner Zolonsky to Jaelen Harper. Suddenly, it was back to 14-7. The score remained the same until midway through the final quarter, when Zolonsky connected with his receiver Demeir Flemino on a 75-yard touchdown. Now the scoreboard read 14-14.
Osseo got the ball from East Ridge with just over a minute to go in regulation and no timeouts. The Orioles marched down the field and put themselves in position to, with a good field goal kick, win the game. But the Raptors, with all three timeouts, decided to ice the kicker, Devin Williams. Not once, but all three times. On the fourth attempt, East Ridge blocks the kick, and overtime was imminent.
In the extra session, East Ridge, choosing to take possession first, drove down to the 10-yard line of Osseo, with victory in sight. But the Orioles defense protected their end zone. They sacked the quarterback and forced a long kick, which ended up going wide.
Now with the momentum on their side, Osseo, like East Ridge, drove the length of the field, and on fourth-down at the Raptors two-yard line, Williams nailed the game-winning field goal. Osseo 17, East Ridge 14. “I’m very proud of our boys for hanging with the adversity, knowing we didn’t play our best,” Stockhaus said. “We didn’t quit, and believed we would get the win.”
After their win over Roseville two weeks ago, Stockhaus challenged his guys to not just beat the teams they were supposed to beat, but the ones they necessarily weren’t. One game removed from that challenge, they proved to be up to the test, with another staring them in the face next week: White Bear Lake (4-2).
“I think going on the road and winning on the road gives a boost of confidence,” Stockhaus said. “Getting that win on the road in the dog days of football really helps the morale and confidence to get everybody staying locked in.”