The Austin Packers football team took to the road Saturday for a Big Southeast District Red Division clash with Owatonna, and in the first meeting between the two squads since 2018, the Huskies defense clamped down on the Packers in the second half, and the rest of the team carried on the momentum from there as the Huskies rattled off 30 unanswered points to win 51-7.
Things started on a positive note for Austin as Owatonna opened the game on offense, and on the fourth play of the drive, sophomore quarterback Jacob Ginskey was hit as he let go of a pass, and the fluttering pass was intercepted by Packer linebacker Andrew Nelson, giving Austin the ball at Owatonna’s 38-yard line. The Packer offense carried the momentum forward as a 12-yard pass from quarterback Jack Lang to wide receiver Manny Guy helped Austin move the ball inside the Huskies 5-yard line. On the seventh play of the drive, though, the Husky defense separated running back Joseph Walker from the football, and Owatonna recovered on their own 15-yard line.
Austin’s defense, though, forced a three-and-out, giving the Packers the ball at the Owatonna 45-yard line after a punt. The Huskies defense dug in, though, and Austin turned the ball over on downs to Owatonna at their 45. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Ginskey found wide receiver Nick Williams in stride with a pass over the middle, and Williams outran everyone to the end zone to give the Huskies a 7-0 lead after Drew Johnson’s extra point.
Austin took over on their 20 on their next possession, and despite a 26-yard run by Walker on the drive, the Packers were forced to punt the ball back to Owatonna, who took over on their 25-yard line. Austin’s defense then came up with another big play as halfback Dylan Maas fumbled, and the Packers recovered at the Husky 22. Seven plays later, Walker barged into the end zone from a yard out, and Joe Ewing’s extra point tied the game at 7.
Unfortuantley for Austin, Owatonna quickly took back control of the game as a 37-yard kickoff return by sophomore wide receiver Caleb Hullopeter gave the Huskies the ball at midfield. Three plays later, a play-action fake by Ginskey got Williams behind the Packer defense, and Ginskey’s pass down the right sideline found Williams in stride for a 38-yard touchdown and a 14-7 Owatonna lead.
Starting again from their 20 on their next possession, Austin had the ball for six plays, but the Packers were forced to punt, giving Owatonna the ball on their 38 late in the first half. The connection of Ginskey to Williams helped the Huskies move the ball down the field inside the 10-yard line, and on the ninth play of the drive, Ginskey found Hullopeter in the back of the end zone with just over a minute to go in the half to give Owatonna a 21-7 lead. Austin took possession on their 20 after yet another touchback on the ensuing kickoff, and a 32-yard run by Walker moved the Packers to the Owatonna 45-yard line. With :04 seconds left in the half, Lang was sacked for the first time in the game, and the half ended with the Huskies ahead 21-7.
Austin received the second-half kickoff with intentions of cutting into Owatonna’s lead and establishing some momentum, but the Husky defense set the tone for the rest of the game as they forced a three-and-out, giving them the ball at the Austin 34-yard line after punter Joe Ewing fielded a bad snap and just got off a short punt under heavy pressure. The Packer defense came up with a huge play on the ensuing Husky drive, though, as cornerback Manny Guy picked off a Ginskey pass just inside the goal line, giving Austin the ball back on their 20.
Owatonna’s defense was at it again on the ensuing Packer drive, pushing Austin back from their 20 to the 5-yard line, and on fourth down, the center snap to Ewing in the back of the end zone was high and off the mark, and the ball sailed past the leaping Ewing out of the end zone for a safety and a 23-7 Owatonna lead.
The Huskies took possession on their 35 after the ensuing free kick, and on the first play from scrimmage, halfback Dylan Maas was hit at the line of scrimmage and looked to be bottled up, but he somehow broke out of the pile and sprinted the rest of the way to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown run and a 30-7 Owatonna lead after the extra point.
The Huskies kept things going their way as the Packers were forced into another three-and-out on their ensuing drive, and after another short punt, Owatonna took possession on the Austin 40, one of five drives in the half that started in Packer territory. On the sixth play of the drive, Maas went into the end zone from five yards out, giving the Huskies a 37-7 lead at the end of three quarters.
A fumble on the second play of Austin’s ensuing drive gave the ball right back to Owatonna at the Packer 20, and on the fifth play of the drive, Williams caught his third touchdown pass of the game from Ginskey to make the score 44-7. The Husky defense forced two more three-and-outs in the quarter, and Owatonna added another touchdown run from backup tailback Mitch Seykora to bring the final to 51-7.
Austin is now 0-4 on the season, and the Packers will look for their first win of the season on Homecoming against 0-4 Rochester Century next Friday night at Art Hass Stadium. You’ll hear the game on AM 1480 KAUS, also on our webpage at myaustinminnesota.com, and on the I Heart Radio and radio.com apps.