By Nick Clark
It had been nearly two-and-a-half seasons since Osseo and Champlin Park met up to play a football game between two schools located barely even five miles apart.
That drought ended last Friday night in opening round of the Class 6A, Section 5 playoffs, and in a reintroduction of sorts, the Orioles showed off some of what they had learned since then.
Mainly, their ability to run the ball.
After forcing the Rebels into a three-and-out on the game’s first possession, the Orioles did just that, handing it off on 11 consecutive plays, the last of which went for a two-yard touchdown run by Jaimen Hampton.
Then, after another Rebel drive that lasted all of three plays, Osseo flashed some of their usual flavor by going up top on the first play of their next drive with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Matt Miedtke to Connor Kittleson.
The game was not even seven minutes old, but it already appeared to be over.
In the end, it was, as Osseo added three more first half touchdowns to take a 35-0 lead that they would eventually make 42-0 by night’s end Oct. 25.
Miedtke threw four touchdown passes, bringing his season total to 25 – compared to just five interceptions – while finishing with 200 passing yards and just one incompletion.
“It all starts with [Matt],” said Osseo head coach Derrin Lamker. “He obviously has a supporting cast around him, but he has really settled into the position. He made a call tonight on a quarterback sneak and he audibled to it, and that is the first time where a quarterback audibled in nine years and I let him do it.”
The jest was obvious. Not only does Lamker prefer to throw the ball, but he generally likes to operate the controls as well.
That came into play after Osseo’s first touchdown, when after running it on every play of the first drive, he simply couldn’t help himself.
“We wanted to show them that we can run the ball, and we did,” said Lamker, who was named the Northwest Suburban Conference Coach of the Year. “But I just couldn’t handle it anymore. We had to throw it a little bit.”
Osseo would toss it around enough to get Miedtke three more touchdown passes. His second of the night went to Gabriel Galamue from 43 yards out. He threw a third TD strike on an 18-yard pass for Kittleson’s second of the game, then completed his evening by hooking up with Josh Goldschmidt on a back-corner fade from four-yards out to give Osseo a 35-0 advantage 26 seconds shy of halftime.
Champlin Park, meanwhile, did little mount a threat.
The Rebels first half possessions went punt, punt, punt, interception, fumble, and punt before a sack ended the half.
Champlin Park had just four first downs in the half – compared to Osseo’s 11 – and the Rebels were out-gained 293-42 through two quarters, including 179-0 through the air.
“They are a great team, and they showed it,” said Champlin Park junior running back Datrice Mulsumo, who despite Osseo’s hounding defense managed to rush for 102 yards on 21 carries. “Their defense just comes flying to the ball every single play, and their coaches do a great job preparing their guys. They were just the better team.”
They were also the ones that sent the Rebels home for the year, as Champlin Park finished the season with a 3-6 record.
“As a competitor, that makes me angry and it makes me want to go do something about it this offseason,” said Mulsumo. “That is what we are going to do, just come back next year bigger, stronger, tougher, faster and a lot better team.”
Osseo will try to do that this week, as they prepare to host Prior Lake (7-2) after the Lakers defeated Shakopee 47-7 Oct. 25.
Lamker likened Prior Lake to Totino-Grace. Osseo defeated the Eagles 28-14 Oct. 16 to wrap up a Northwest Suburban Conference West Division championship. A victory over Prior Lake would land the Orioles something they covet even more – a state tournament berth.
“Osseo hasn’t been to the state tournament since 1993,” said Lamker. “That is 20 years. It would be really cool for our kids, and for a school like ours with our enrollment and our demographics, to make the elite eight in 6A football would be a big deal.”
They’ll have their chance Friday, Nov. 1 with a 7 p.m. kick-off on their own field.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to take this all the way to the Dome,” said sophomore running back Prince Krauh. “That is where we want to be.”