Osseo to battle Eden Prairie for right to go to state football tournament

By Bob San

Osseo has spent much of the football season ranked among the top teams in all of Class 6A.

This week, the Orioles will find out just how good they are when they host defending state champion Eden Prairie at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, with a spot in the Class 6A state tournament on the line.

The Orioles won their postseason opener last week, beating Anoka 28-7 Oct. 26 to advance.

Javon Stephens makes a juggling touchdown catch to give Osseo the lead over Anoka. (Photos by Rich Moll)

Javon Stephens makes a juggling touchdown catch to give Osseo the lead over Anoka. (Photos by Rich Moll)

Garrison Gillard found Javon Stephens to give Osseo a 7-0 first quarter lead, and the Orioles would made it 14-0 in the second on a 7-yard touchdown run from Troy Kray.

Bridge Tusler then took over in the second half, scoring on touchdown runs of 10 and 74 yards in the third quarter to put Osseo up 28-0.

Anoka would add one touchdown late, but by then, the outcomes was no longer in question.

Tusler had 165 yards rushing and Jaimen Hampton added 105 yards. Kray led the defense with 11 tackles and Carter Berquest had six tackles.

The win put the Orioles one victory from the school’s first state tournament berth since 1993.

“We are excited,” Osseo coach Derrin Lamker said. “It will be a fun atmosphere Friday night. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.”

Bridgeport Tusler blows past the Anoka defender. Tusler and the Orioles hope to have a big night against Eden Prairie in the section final this Friday.

Bridgeport Tusler blows past the Anoka defender. Tusler and the Orioles hope to have a big night against Eden Prairie in the section final this Friday.

Eden Prairie certainly is one of the elite football programs in the state but the Orioles feel they can hold their own.

“Eden Prairie has been one of the best teams in the state the last few years but I like our chances,” Lamker said. “Our kids are gritty and tough and are ready to play. We are a team that is playing its best football of the year and that’s all you can ask for.”

The Eagles are big with lots of depth and can present problems to the smaller and more agile Orioles.

“They are big and physical up front like Totino-Grace, so that gives us some issues,” Lamker said. “We have to match up front and try to move them a little bit. Our defense is going to have to play amazing again. Eden Prairie is a power football team. We have to stop their power.”

The Orioles know they will be the underdogs against the reigning state champion but they can’t wait to try to break through and get to play in the Dome.

“I can’t tell you how excited we are,” Lamker said. “This is the fourth year in a row we are playing in the section final and this is the first time we are at home. It should help. But we have to take care of the ball, have no turnover and give ourselves a shot. We are the underdogs, there is no doubt about it, but hopefully we can strap it on and be ready.”

The winner advances to the state tournament at the Metrodome either next Thursday or Friday. Drawings for the state tournament will take place after Friday’s game.

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