UNC defense delivers in 22-14 win over Osakis
Two goal-line stands and Taylor Carlson’s second touchdown run of the game helped the United North Central football team cap off homecoming week with a 22-14 Prairie North Conference victory over Osakis Friday night at Menahga.
After Osakis took an 8-0 lead on a 39-yard pass play from Brandon Giesler to Joseph Kotek with 5:43 to play in the first quarter, the Warriors responded with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Carlson to Tristan Kjellberg at the 3:44 mark to cut the lead to 8-6.
Osakis used a 2-yard pass play from Giesler to Lane Berberich to claim a 14-6 lead with 10:25 to play in the first half before the Warriors tied the game at the 1:46 mark on Carlson’s 5-yard TD run and Kjellberg’s conversion.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Warriors stopped Osakis at the UNC 4 and put together a 96-yard drive for the winning touchdown. Carlson’s 2-yard TD run and Kjellberg’s conversion with 7:38 to play concluded the scoring.
The Warriors finished with 220 yards in offense with Carlson completing 4 of 10 passes for 75 yards, including a 39-yard completion to Keiler Skaro, and Kjellberg rushing 16 times for 86 yards.
Bob Lusti led the defense with 12 tackles while Dan Ehnert had nine tackles.
“We knew going in that it was going to be a hard-fought battle for four quarters and that’s exactly what it was. Offensively I felt we missed a few big opportunities, especially in the second half with field position. However, the one drive that I am most proud of was a 96-yard drive following a very tough goal-line stand by the defense. Our guys stayed focused and disciplined and moved the ball down the field for ultimately the game-winning score. That was really fun to see and I really feel we’re finding an identity offensively. Our offensive line is firing off the ball, the backs are finding the holes and we’re finding a pretty solid consistency in our passing game. The main thing that we’re doing is taking care of the football. We’re a long way away from those two five-turnover games to start the season,” said UNC head coach Jeremy Nordick. “Defensively we started off with a little bit of trouble. I thought that maybe we came out a bit flat and didn’t match their physicality. We did a much better job of controlling our gaps and taking care of our responsibilities. Osakis executed a couple of tough drives and got down to the goal line twice, but our guys really hung tough with two big-time goal-line stands. We’ve got some great leadership and some proud guys out there that were just not going to give up the score. I’m so proud of how far they’ve grown as a unit.”
The win lifted the Warriors to 3-1 in the conference and 3-3 overall while Osakis fell to 1-3 in the conference and 3-3 overall.
“With that win, we now put ourselves in a position to play for second place in the conference,” said Nordick, whose team finished last in the conference last season. “That is a long way from where we were last season. If we can continue to play well, there is a good chance at hosting a section playoff game. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Osakis 8 6 0 0…14
UNC 6 8 0 8…22
O–Kotek 39 pass from Giesler (Olson run)
UNC–Kjellberg 21 pass from Carlson (run failed)
O–Berberich 2 pass from Giesler (run failed)
UNC–Carlson 5 run (Kjellberg run)
UNC–Carlson 2 run (Kjellberg run)
UNC OFFENSIVE STATISTICS
RUSHING: Kjellberg 16-86, Huttunen 7-25, Tellers 1-13, Carlson 4-11, Yliniemi 6-10.
PASSING: Carlson 4-10-0 for 75 yards.
RECEIVING: Kjellberg 2-31, Skaro 1-39, Huttunen 1-5.
UNC DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
SOLO TACKLES: Lusti 7, Tellers 5, Huttunen 4, Carlson 3, Ehnert 2, Palmer 2, Puttonen 2, Neisess 2, Schoon 2, Au. Schwartz 2, Yliniemi 1, Kjellberg 1, Erickson 1, Mueller 1.
ASSISTED TACKLES: Ehnert 7, Lusti 5, Huttunen 4, Carlson 4, Palmer 4, Puttonen 3, Neisess 3, Yliniemi 2, Skaro 2, Tellers 1, Kjellberg 1.