Hail Mary Prayer Answered Twice in Owatonna’s 28-24 State Tournament Win
Owatonna's Abe Havelka completed two improbable passes Saturday night and the Huskies are headed to U.S. Bank Stadium for the state semifinals as a result.
The junior quarterback hoisted a deep pass with the wind at his back on the final play of the second quarter. It ended up in Jay Sullivan's hands and he dashed into the end zone for a 14-7 halftime lead of Owatonna's state 5A quarterfinal game against Apple Valley. The play covered 61 yards.
Havelka topped that throw with a fourth down Hail Mary pass into a stiff breeze at the end of the fourth quarter that was hauled by Alex Raichle, who tumbled into the end zone for the winning points with 17 seconds left in Owatonna's 28-24 win at Lakeville North High School. The play was good for 44 yards.
Owatonna (9-2) will face Elk River (11-0) Friday, November 18, at 2PM in the state semifinals. The Huskies' defense rose to the occasion several times. Apple Valley started a possession in the Owatonna red zone three times and only scored once. However those points came on a 33-yard field goal with 1:01 left to give the Eagles a 24-21 lead. The drive started after Owatonna's only turnover of the night.
The Huskies' fateful drive started at their own 40-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Havelka connected with Raichle for a 16-year gain to the Eagles' 44. OHS spiked the ball on first down and had incomplete passes on second and third down. On fourth down Havelka launched a deep pass that Raichle hauled in and found the end zone for the lead. Aidan Buryska tacked on the extra point for the 28-24 difference.
Apple Valley had enough time for two passes. The second was intercepted on the game's final play.
Jason Williamson opened the scoring on a seven-yard run early in the second quarter. Apple Valley completed a 10-play, 93-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left in the half. That left Owatonna just enough time to run their first Hail Mary.
The Eagles got the momentum back with back-to-back touchdown drives to start the second half to go ahead 21-14. The Huskies answered with a mammoth 18-play, 80-yard, six-and-a-half-minute excursion that ended with a five-yard touchdown toss to Mitch Wiese that tied the game at 21-21 with 5:20 to go and set up the heart-stopping finish.
Owatonna's win made the Big Southeast District 3-for-3 and Section 1 6-for-6 in state tournament quarterfinals. Mankato West, Winona, Grand Meadow, Rushford-Peterson, Caledonia and Rochester Lourdes all won.
Class 5A quarterfinals
Owatonna 28, Apple Valley 24
Elk River 60, Alexandria 36
Mankato West 28, Mahtomedi 7
Spring Lake Park 31, Andover 30
Semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium
Owatonna vs. Elk River, Friday, November 18, 2PM
Mankato West vs. Spring Lake Park, Saturday, November 19, 7PM
Prep Bowl final, Saturday November 26, 4PM at U.S. Bank Stadium