This Time by Air; Owatonna Rides Hot Hand into Prep Bowl
Owatonna Senior quarterback Abe Havelka set school records with seven touchdown passes and 451 yards in Saturday's 56-28 semifinal victory over Brainerd at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Huskies will play Elk River in the Prep Bowl Saturday, November 25 at 4PM on Kat Kountry 105FM.
In Owatonna's semifinal win over Mahtomedi, junior tailback Jason Williamson grabbed the headlines with a seven-touchdown performance that included several dazzling moves. In Saturday's semifinal win over Brainerd, Havelka made a series of pinpoint throws to a stable of pass-catchers. The same offensive line that opened up enormous holes for Williamson, gave Havelka all the time he needed to find open receivers. The starters up front consisted of Terrell Conner, Andy Jensen, Dylan Meier, Zach Wiese and Brody Veach.
Havelka exploited a mismatch for receiver Dalton Kubista, who had a big height advantage and man-to-man coverage, for four receptions for three touchdowns and 192 yards. The scores covered 52, 85 and 14 yards. Alex Raichle matched Kubista with three touchdown catches of 25, 64 and 35 yards. Raichle had five total receptions for 157 yards.
Noah Budach was Havelka's favorite target for seven catches, 63 yards and a 12-yard laser touchdown pass. Williamson, Nolan Malo and Mitch Wiese all had catches as Havelka went 21-for-25 with no interceptions against a team that had thrived on turnovers during the season with a plus-22 margin.
Havelka's seven TD passes eclipsed Ian Langeberg's 2013 record set against Rochester Century. The 451 yards blew past Colton Schock's 354-yard performance in 2012, also against Century. Havelka holds nearly every Owatonna High School season and career passing record. He now has 40 touchdowns passes for the season and just five interceptions.
Williamson rushed for a quiet 132 yards that included a 52-yard touchdown sprint early in the third quarter. His season total of 2,104 is tops in OHS history. Williamson already holds the career rushing record. He also made a touchdown-delaying tackle by catching up to Brainerd's workhorse running back to end a 42-yard run short of the end zone. Charlie Geraets had 39 carries for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
Owatonna held Brainerd to 3-of-14 passing for nine yards, which is probably more that Elk River will attempt to throw in the upcoming state 5A title game. The Elks rushed for 700 yards without a pass in their 51-40 semifinal victory over Apple Valley. The Elks beat Owatonna 19-7 in the 2016 semifinals. Elk River went on to win the title.
Kadyn Mulert led Owatonna's defense with nine tackles. Cole Rocha had eight tackles including two tackles for a loss. Tucker Alstead was next with 6.5 tackles. Joseph Stansky and Joe Edel combined on a sack. Parker Westphal broke up two passes. Kade Serbus returned from injury to register two tackles in limited minutes. Josh Nelson went 8-for-8 on PAT attempts.
Advance sale tickets for the Prep Bowl title game are available Sunday at the Knights of Columbus Hall from 11:30AM-3:30PM. The cost is $14 for adults and $9 for students. The Knights are also arranging for a charter bus.
Ticket sales will continue at the KC Hall Monday through Wednesday 3:30-5:30PM and Friday, November 24 from 4:30-7PM. Advance ticket sales at the high school will be Monday through Wednesday 7:30-8AM, 11AM-1PM and 2:30-3PM in the upper commons and in the main office from 7AM-3:30PM.
Radio coverage will be heard on Kat Kountry 105FM due to Gopher football action on KRFO AM1390.