Packers’ late surge falls short in season-ending loss in Owatonna
Published 12:52 am Wednesday, October 22, 2014
OWATONNA — The Packers may have had their season come to an end in Owatonna Tuesday, but they certainly didn’t go out quietly.
No. 6 seeded Austin put up two late touchdowns to put some pressure on the No. 3 seeded Huskies, but the Packers couldn’t get a final chance to take the lead as they lost 21-16 in the Section 1AAAAA football quarterfinals.
Sophomore quarterback Jakob Crouch came on in relief for the second straight week for Austin and he led the Packers to two TD drives of 65- and 64-yards to make it a one-score game with 1:57 left in the game.
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Austin (3-6 overall) couldn’t recover an on-side kick after the final score and the Huskies (6-3 overall) picked up a first down to seal the game.
“In the last three quarters we played pretty well and we realized we’ve all got to do our jobs. We can’t just fly around like we have been,” Austin senior Connor Sheehan said. “For us seniors it’s a sad point because we can’t go on, but a lot of us are going to go to the same colleges and we’ll still see each other.”
The Huskies looked like they had put the game away when they converted a fourth and seven during a 15 play, 55 yard drive that was capped by a 3-yard TD run by Sam Hylie to make it 21-3 with 7:55 left.
Austin pulled within 21-10 when Nate Conner burst up the middle for a 35-yard TD run with 6:39 left in the game and Crouch hit Elijah Andersen for a 37-yard TD pass down the sideline to make it 21-16 with 1:57 remaining.
Andersen had 80 yards receiving in the loss.
“Jake’s been good for us,” Andersen said. “He put the ball in the right spot and I went up and got it. It felt great [to score the TD]. I just wish I could’ve had another chance.”
The Packers had to shuffle their offense after their top rusher, Brandon Edgar, went down with an injury on his ninth carry of the game. Conner moved to running back and Crouch, who finished 7-for-11 with 97 yards, came in at quarterback.
“It’s too bad Brandon went down, but Jake played a good game and Nate ran well,” Austin head coach Brett Vesel said.
The game looked like it may get out of hand early on as Owatonna used a long kick-off return and a fumble recovery to convert two TD drives of less than 40 yards each to go up 14-0 with 6:20 left in the first quarter. The Packers were able to bounce back and keep the game close from that point on.
“We always talk about competing and we’re competing. Our kids are starting to get it,” Vesel said. “Obviously we want to win and move on, but we’re doing some good things. We’re a young team and these guys got better throughout the year. That’s all we can ask right now.”
Austin 0 3 0 14 — 16
Owatonna 14 0 0 7 — 21
(O) Sam Hylie 3 run (Buryska kick) (7 plays, 29 yards) 9:06
(O) Alec Holcomb 17 pass from Alex Emanuelson (7 plays, 38 yards) 6:20
Riley Grinstead 23 field goal (23 plays, 80 yards) 7:00
(O) Hylie 3 run (Buryska kick) (15 plays, 55 yards) 7:55
(A) Nate Conner 35 run (Grinstead kick) (4 plays, 65 yards) 6:39
(A) Elijah Andersen 37 pass from Jakob Crouch (pass fail) (5 plays, 64 yards) 1:57
Rushing: Nate Conner, 17-for-101, TD; Brandon Edgar, 9-for-27; Jesse Synoground, 1-for-2; Jakob Crouch, 1-for-(-1); passing; Crouch, 7-for-11, 97, TD; Conner, 4-for-12, 39; receiving: Elijah Andersen, 5-for-80, TD; Zach Coffey, 3-for-34; Jason Stoulil, 3-for-24; penalties: 2-for-10; sacks: Kole Igou (1)
Rushing: 237; passing: 66; penalties: 7-for-75