Crimson thump Orioles in gridiron opener

By Matthew Davis
Contributing Writer

It had been 11 years since the Maple Grove won consecutive games against its neighboring football rival, Osseo.

Maple Grove’s defense imposed its will and made it two-straight wins over the visiting Orioles Aug. 31 with a 28-7 victory. The Crimson beat the Orioles the year before 23-13.

Maple Grove running back Joe Raymond celebrates his touchdown with lineman JT Awosika. (Photo by Rich Moll – richmollphotography.com)

Early mistakes put the Crimson in a hole last year before rallying to win. This year, the Crimson took off right away with the running of senior running back Joe Raymon, who rushed for two touchdowns and 19 yards on nine carries.

He put the Crimson up early with a 3-yard TD run with 7:12 left in the first quarter. Osseo tried to answer on the following drive and got inside the Crimson 20-yard line. The drive stalled as senior quarterback Greg Arrell missed wide receiver Joe Cheea in the end zone on a fourth-and-seven.

It didn’t get better for the Orioles with a blocked punt on its next offensive possession in the first quarter. Maple Grove retained the ball to the Orioles 17-yard line and scored on a 1-yard TD run by senior running back Justin Stolp.

Osseo came up short again on fourth downs in its first two second-quarter possessions, including a drive that ended on the Crimson’s 23-yard line. Defensively, the Orioles kept the Crimson from sustaining a drive after the second TD. The Orioles also held the Crimson to 86 total yards in the first half.

It all changed as Maple Grove started the second half strong with a 10-play, 71-yard TD drive when Raymon found the end zone for a second time on a 2-yard run for a 21-0 lead. The Crimson drive ate up much of the third quarter as 6:54 remained.

Crimson defenders Gavin Pelto (left) and Evan Jones (right) tackles Osseo running back Samahjay Hitchcock. (Photo by Rich Moll – richmollphotography.com)

Raymon, also a defensive back, made the Orioles’ climb steeper with an interception on the next drive. The Crimson came up empty with a missed field goal by senior kicker Andy Peterson, who had an otherwise perfect night going 4-4 on extra points.

Despite the interception, Arrell had some bright spots with getting the Orioles into the red zone twice and three yards shy another time. He also had completions of 47 yard to senior wide receiver Elijah Whitner and 44 yards to tight end Quelyn Nelson.

Osseo, which out-gained the Crimson in the first half, couldn’t get the offense going in the second half. The Orioles punted on their next two drives.

Crimson senior quarterback Curtis Haugen capitalized on the chance to extend the lead with a 41-yard TD pass to senior wide receiver Jake Kampsula. Haugen finished with 7-10 passing and 136 yards for a 145.8 rating. Freshman quarterback Nate Elmes also saw some time under center with the big lead.

Kampsula led all Crimson receivers with three catches for 73 yards, an average of 24.3 yards per reception. Senior tight end Ben Schroeder had two catches for 33 yards. Receivers Colby Aubut, a junior, and Dillon Dugan, a senior, had a reception apiece.

Junior running back Evan Hull led the Crimson ground game with 129 yards rushing on 19 carries, an average of 6.8 yards per run. Fellow junior back TJ Freeze also chipped in yards with 16 on eight carries. Fullback Tanner Skanson, a junior, also had a carry for three yards.

Osseo defenders Tyler Sealock (left) and Adam Lanners converge on Maple Grove running back Evan Hull. (Photo by Rich Moll – richmollphotography.com)

Maple Grove’s defense shut down the Orioles, which didn’t score until 2:41 remained in the game. Senior wide receiver Reggie Dupree scored for the Orioles on a 1-yard run.

Senior linebacker Jake Hanson led the Crimson defense with eight tackles. Raymon, Stolp and senior linebacker Ben Paschke each had six. Kampsula and seniors Adam Skogman, Alex Steinberg and Liam Arbeiter posted four apiece.

Juniors Ben Bristol and Gil Agyeman both had three tackles, and Ross Krueger, Gavin Pelto and Payton Combo had two each. Senior defensive back Carl Owusu recorded a forced fumble and a tackle. The Crimson showed their depth with eight other players recording a tackle.

Maple Grove will get a big challenge Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. with Prior Lake coming to town. The Lakers routed Shakopee 41-12 Aug. 31.

Osseo will look to bounce back at home Sept. 8 against White Bear Lake at 7 p.m. The Bears fell 27-21 in overtime to Centennial in their Aug. 31 opener.

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