Back-to-back state champions are rare. Five years out of seven at the state tournament is impressive. Owatonna football coach Jeff Williams was asked several times about the reason behind the success in the days leading up to the state championship. His initial response during the postgame news conference after the 14-3 win over St. Thomas Academy was, "I wish I knew what the secret sauce was."

He went on to analyze some of the cause and effect aspects of the Huskies amazing recent run, "Obviously, it's talented athletes that are in our community and that are in our program. But you know you've got to make them want to play football too. Not every community has a strong football tradition and get their best athletes out for the sport. I think that plays a big role."

"I think our kids want to be part of our program. We have a blast together in practice. We have a really good time, which we better because I think our season was 17 weeks or something from beginning to end. You better like each other and you better have fun with it."

Williams continued, "If kids are out, they're excited to play and you've having fun every day, they'll come in and lift willingly. They'll work hard in practice willingly."

During the welcome home celebration after the championship game at US Bank Stadium, retiring assistant coach Delles Solie also spoke of how much everyone enjoyed spending time together.

Addressing the fact that the team stayed healthy most of the season, Williams said he believed that included a combination of the weight room, good equipment, being aggressive and being really lucky.

The players also have the hands-on chance to pay forward the fun attitude toward football when some of these championship players help out with the youth football camp in August.

Hy-Vee Foods of Owatonna to host a Breakfast with the champions on Saturday, December 8 from 7-11 am.

Rich Will/Townsquare Media