OK Conference’s Games of The Week: Week Three

Posted On: 11/22/18 8:28 PM

(Cover Photo: Nick Gerhardt/Northstar Football News)

 St. Thomas AcademyOwatonna
Head CoachDan O'BrienJeff Williams
Final Rankings (NFN, AP, QRF) 1, 2, 22, 1, 3
State Championship Apparances45
State Titles1 ('75)2 ('13, '17)
Points Per Game40.245.9
Opponents Points Per Game6.713.9
Opponents Win Pct60-60 (.500)60-61 (.496)

It doesn’t get much better when No. 1 meets No. 2 in the state championship and that’s what we’ve got with No. 1-ranked Owatonna and second-ranked St. Thomas Academy.

The question will be if the Cadets can take down the defending champion Huskies and running back Jason Williamson.

Owatonna, which defeated Elk River in last year’s title game and again in this year’s semifinals, has ran through everyone with relative ease. But St. Thomas Academy could be different. The Cadets have five shutouts this season and haven’t allowed more than 21 points to an opponent. Prior to the semifinals St. Thomas Academy hadn’t allowed more than 14 in a game.

Even though they’ve been state tournament regulars, these teams have a limited history and met in the 2012 state tournament with the Huskies coming up with a 30-7 victory.

Key Matchup
Owatonna OL vs. St. Thomas Academy defense

Linebackers Ben Reppenhagen and Luke Herzog are two of the big cogs in the defensive wheel for the Cadet but senior defensive lineman Jason Samec is pretty stout at the point of attack.

Owatonna’s offensive line is actually young, believe it or not. Four juniors and one senior comprise the line, which was a work in progress at times early in the season. One of those juniors — guard Zach Wiese — is the veteran of the group after starting on the championship team in 2017.

Luke Herzog and the Cadets face their toughest challenge of the year against Owatonna’s Jason Williamson. (Photo from Hudl.com)

Key Player
Jason Williamson, RB – Owatonna
2018 Stats: 290 carries, 2,828 rushing yards, 44 TD

This one is obviously the easy choice but it’s appropriate here just to emphasize how great Williamson has been this season and for his career. The future Gopher ran for 910 yards and 14 touchdowns in the section tournament alone. He’s got 510 yards and 10 touchdowns in two state tournament games already. His career rushing yards place him second all time in Minnesota history, behind McLeod West’s Tyler Evans, who finished with 7,363 for his career in 2001. Williamson’s 92 career touchdowns are eight shy of the all-time record, too.