No. 5 Orioles unfazed after announcement of forfeits precede 48-0 win
The Osseo football team huddled near its own endzone, coated in the euphoria of a homecoming victory that was never in doubt Oct. 5 vs. Park Center.
There, head coach Derrin Lamker addressed the group, finishing his talk with a hat-tip to the defense for posting its first shutout of the season in the 48-0 rout of the Pirates, before exclaiming a phrase some had questioned earlier in the week.
“We are 6-0,” Lamker told his players. “It is the first time in 27 years Osseo is 6-0. It doesn’t matter what anybody else is saying. This is an undefeated football team, so congrats on keeping it that way.”
The paperwork filed by the school disputed as much four days prior, when notice came from activities director Ray Kirch that the team had played its first two weeks with an ineligible player.
That admission was accompanied by the fact that Osseo was forced to forfeit each of those two games, both of which the Orioles won on the scoreboard — vs. Centennial in Week 1, and then at Maple Grove the following Friday.
When details of the error started to make the rounds in the Northwest Suburban Conference, plenty of questions remained.
Most centered on how the losses would affect Osseo in both the conference standings and the postseason section seeding process.
By game time last Friday, the team had learned that they wouldn’t be hurt in either case. According to Kirch, the defeats will go down as non-conference losses, meaning Osseo’s hopes for a conference championship are still intact.
At the section level, head-to-head results on the actual field of play will also hold more weight, meaning that the perceived losses to Maple Grove and Centennial will still count as victories when the coaches sit down and vote through the seeding process following the regular season finale Oct. 17.
Confused? Don’t worry. It might not matter, which Osseo made a point of reminding all in ripping through Park Center.
In the first half alone, senior Bridge Tusler ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns, junior Jaimen Hampton totaled 78 yards of offense and a pair of scores, and junior Connor Kittleson caught three passes for 63 yards and two of his own touchdowns as Osseo roared to a 42-0 lead at the break.
“This is what we could control, what we do out here on the field,” said Tusler. “There is no point to hang out heads about anything. People can say what they want, and believe what they want. But we believe we are a good football team, a really good football team.”
The Orioles are still that in the eyes of the voters from the Associated Press, who submitted their votes this past week after news of the Orioles forfeits came out.
Osseo was ranked No. 5 in Class 6A, and after the team’s performance last Friday, they won’t be going down when this week’s rankings are released Oct. 11.
Where Osseo will be heading this week is Elk River, where what Lamker called a “bad match-up for us” awaits his team.
The Elks are just 2-4, but they blasted Armstrong 51-13 on the road last week, and will be an intimidating road block standing in Osseo’s way should the Orioles want their Oct. 17 home game against undefeated Totino-Grace (6-0) to be for an outright West Division title in the NWSC.
“Week 8 means nothing if we don’t take care of Week 7,” Lamker said. “These kids are resilient. What happened wasn’t fair to them, but they moved on, and you saw that. Now, they can’t look past Elk River, because that is a physical football team. We’ll have a battle up there for sure.”