Owatonna rumbles past Austin

Published 8:27 am Saturday, September 27, 2008

They knew it would be a challenge. Owatonna came into Friday night’s game in Austin after winning its past three contests by a combined score of 147-21. The Huskies were also undefeated in Big Nine Conference play.

While the Packers didn’t pull off the upset, they weren’t embarrassed either.

Junior running back Jerrad Ryks rushed 16 times for 124 yards, including a monster 71-yard touchdown run, and senior tight end John Maxwell caught a 27-yard Nate Justice pass for another score as Austin (1-4 overall, 0-4 Big Nine) fell to Owatonna 42-13.

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The Packers trailed 28-13 at the half.

“I don’t have a problem with many of the things we did tonight,” said Austin Coach Tim Hermann. “We ran the ball fairly well. Everyone is looking for Ryks to have a breakout run, well, there you go.”

The Huskies (4-1 overall, 4-0 Big Nine) spent most of their possessions running the football and scored on a five-yard Neil Eddie quarterback keeper to go ahead 7-0 after the Billy Emanual extra point. Collin Wencl and Blayze Petersen added their own rushing touchdowns, and the Huskies led 21-0 with 5:26 left in the first.

Owatonna took the 28-0 lead on a three-yard touchdown reception by Cody Johnson.

And then, the home team struck back.

On the Packers’ fourth possession and a third and one situation on their own 29-yard line, Ryks took the ball and charged 71 yards downfield for the touchdown that made it 28-6.

“It felt good to finally break a long one,” Ryks said.

In the closing minutes of the first half, Austin turned the ball over on downs with 39 seconds left.

The Huskies took over, then fumbled the ball, which Austin linebacker Adam Hemann recovered.

With 28 seconds left and a first and 10 on the Husky 27-yard line, Justice sailed a pass that found the hands of Maxfield, who then found the end zone.

“When I caught it, I knew I was in right away,” he said.

Justice completed 10 of 24 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, and

coach Hermann said he was pleased with his players’ ability to not give up.

“They didn’t quit,” he said. “They just kept playing.”