The Osceola Chieftain football team is fighting for a playoff spot in the upcoming WIAA tournament but they are also staying in touch with the leading teams in the Middle Border in hopes of sharing a conference title. Osceola did what they had to do last week when they traveled to Prescott and defeated the Cardinals with a punishing ground game.
“It is never easy playing at Prescott,” Osceola coach Scott Newton said. “I thought our kids handled the travel and environment great.”
With the win the Chieftains move to 3-2 in MBC play. St. Croix Central, Baldwin-Woodville and New Richmond are conference co-leaders with 4-1 records. Ellsworth is tied with Osceola one game behind the leaders. The Chieftains host St. Croix Central this Friday.
Osceola received the opening kickoff and 10 rushing attempts later had covered 58 yards to go on top 7-0. Matt Germain carried the ball the final three yards of the drive to hit pay dirt. The Chieftain defense then took the field and forced a turnover on the Cardinals’ second offensive play from scrimmage. Osceola’s Daric Swanson fell on a Cardinal fumble and the Chieftains set up shop just 32 yards from another score. This time it took nine plays with Aaron Schmidt finding the end zone from eight yards out.
Osceola held the Cardinals to a three-and-out on their next possession and again the Chieftain infantry was effective. Osceola drove the ball 44 yards in five plays to score for the third time in the game. It was Schmidt finding the end zone and once again it was from eight yards out.
Schmidt did a great job running the Osceola offense from the quarterback position. He rumbled 165 yards on 18 carries for a gaudy 9.2 yards per carry average. Nick Carlson added 70 yards on 16 attempts, Logan Johnson rumbled for 59 yards on seven carries and Germain added 44 yards on the ground. The Chieftains finished the game with 338 yards rushing.
“The offensive line did a nice job of providing angles for our backfield,” Newton noted. “Aaron (Schmidt) made some good decisions at quarterback and ran hard when he kept the ball. I liked how our kids were patient and consistent with every play.”
“The big yards came from trusting in each other and our reads,” Schmidt added. “The creases came from the aggression and explosion from our front five. Our run game is made from those guys and the work they have put in.”
After Osceola had built a 21-0 lead Prescott came back with their best drive of the night to cut the Chieftain lead to 21-6. Wyatt Holum finished the drive with a two yard TD run.
Osceola did not sit back in the second half. They added three more touchdowns to their collection with Johnson scoring twice, once from six yards away and the other time from 12 yards. Carlson scored on the shortest drive of the game. Germain intercepted a Cardinal pass and returned it to the Prescott 1-yard line. Carlson then blasted in from a yard away. The Osceola defense held the Cardinals scoreless after intermission.
“Defensively our kids created turnovers and placed our offense in good field position most of the night,” Newton said.
Now Osceola must focus on St. Croix Central. The first place Panthers have a combined 27-6 conference record since joining the MBC in 2015 and are coming off a shutout win over Amery. SCC is averaging 40 points per game in MBC play this season.
“We have a huge challenge ahead of us this week,” Newton said. “St. Croix Central is big and has been scoring a lot of points this year. We will need to continue our aggressive play.”