NEW PRAGUE - In a play on words from the lyrics of hip-hop artist Big Sean, last week No.8-ranked Owatonna took an “L,” but Wednesday night against New Prague the Huskies bounce back.
Rolling to a 35-0 halftime lead, the Huskies added a pair of touchdowns in the second half to finish the regular season with a 48-0 thumping of the Trojans.
“I thought our kids did a nice job,” commented Huskies head coach Jeff Williams.
It didn’t take long for the Huskies to establish the tone.
On the opening drive, Owatonna marched 64 yards - all on the ground - before star running back Jason Williamson pounded his way in for the score from six yards out. That appeared to be the focus Wednesday night for the Huskies. In 34 offensive snaps in the first half, Owatonna kept it on the ground for 20 attempts. Williamson led all rushers with 14 attempts in the first half for 127 yards and a pair of scores. The junior running back would finish the game with 135 yards on 16 carries. Coach Williams noted that it was imperative to get the run game going.
“We wanted to see if we could get a little physical, something that we fell we’ll have to do,” commented Coach Williams.
After being forced to punt on their second possession, the Huskies’ passing game started to slowly get back into the flow that was prevalent in the early goings of the season. On-back-to-back scoring possessions, the Huskies were able to get on the board thanks to a pair of Abe Havelka touchdown passes. His first was an 18-yard strike up the right hash to fellow senior Noah Budach to extend the lead to 14-0. His second touchdown pass was a pure display of simply not being denied. After fullback Mitch Wiese caught a quick dump pass at the 20-yard line, the senior two-way starter barreled over a defender from roughly 8-yards out before bowling into the end zone for a 21-0 lead for Owatonna.
The Huskies would score on two of their final three possessions of the half on the ground with Havelka punching it in from four yards out before Williamson capped a two-play drive from 12 yards out for a 35-0 lead.
Defensively, the Huskies were simply dominant. On seven possessions, the Trojans never entered Owatonna territory. In fact, New Prague’s offense ran 24 plays for just 28 yards. For the game, the Huskies allowed 169 yards of offense.
On the Trojans’s fifth possession of the contest, Owatonna linebacker Cole Rocha hauled in an interception, which would set up for Havelka’s touchdown run.
“They were focused and they wanted to bounce back,” added Coach Williams. “Probably good to play in a short week, get a bad taste out of their mouth, bounce back and rest up for the playoffs.”
On their first play of the second half, the Huskies look to provide a final blow to the Trojans. Backed up on their own 16-yard line, Havelka looked to his left to find Dalton Kubista with a step on his defender down the sideline. Putting the ball just behind the back shoulder, Kubista made a great, leaping catch and raced 84 yards to give the Huskies a 42-0 lead.
“I was pleased to see Abe really settle down in the second half,” commented Coach Williams. “He had a really, really good game in the second half.”
On the ensuing Owatonna possession, Havelka found Budach for a 36-yard strike. It has been quite the second half of the season for the senior receiver as he continues to show the depth of the Huskies passing attack. Wednesday’s performance marked the fourth-straight week that Budach was Havelka’s leading receiver.
“When someone goes down, you need someone to step up and be the guy. Budach has been that guy,” Coach Williams added.
For much of the second half, the Huskies’ second team units were on the field, managing to hold the Trojans starters at bay. With the win, the Huskies will now have roughly nine days to prepare for its opening Section ____ contest, facing the winner of Rochester John Marshall and Austin. Coach Williams said that the down time comes with the ability to recover.
“For where we are physically, it’s a big deal for us,” Added Williams. “If we are going to win a section title this year, we need out guys. All of them.”
Owatonna will await the winner of Austin and John Marshall.