by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The first eight minutes were encouraging for Elk River but the rest of the game was all orange and black as the Osseo Orioles shredded any notions of an upset 44-21 on Friday evening.
Matt Miedtke hurled three touchdown passes to Connor Kittlelson and the Orioles (6-1) had a pair of hundred-yard rushers as they built a 37-7 lead before the subs started coming in.
The Elks (1-6) stopped Osseo’s opening drive at the 20, forcing a pair of incomplete passes, then marched 80 yards, capped by Denis Bardashevskiy’s 18-yard jaunt to the end zone.
Osseo had its offense in tune for the second drive onward. Miedkte hit Kittelson over the top for a 36-yard touchdown and added a two-pointer to Johau Goldschmidt for an 8-7 lead.
Then the Orioles got the kind of lucky break the underdog Elks could have used. Their kickoff struck one of the Elks’ up men and bounced right back, like a baseball off a fence, and Simon Thao recovered at midfield. The Orioles quickly scored again, on Prince Krauh’ 24-yard run, and the rout was on.
Kittelson, a springy 6-foot-3 senior who was very difficult for the Elk defensive backs to cover, snagged two more TD’s from 17 and 40 yards. Krauh (who rushed for 115 yards) scored a second TD and Jaimen Hampton (110 yards) added the final TD.
The Elks made the score a bit more respectable with backup quarterback Nolan Dwyer dashing for four-and seven-yard TDs in the final quarter.
The Elks were hurt by three turnovers, the other two being fumbles by quarterback Trent Pink at the 25 and five yard lines, but Osseo was firmly in control, passing for 233 yards and rushing for 250 with no turnovers.
The Elks piled up 409 rushing yards, with Bardashevskiy gaining 165 in 24 carries and Pink 75 in 14 carries. Twelve players carried the ball.
Face Park Center in NWSC finale
The Elks will close conference play Wednesday hosting Park Center. The Pirates apparently won’t be the easy mark they often are. They are 2-5 after beating Andover 16-7 on Friday night. Andover was 4-0 after being the Elks 35-20, but has since lost to powerhouses Osseo and Totino-Grace, then Park Center.
(Note: statistics in this article are unofficial Star News stats, which will be superseded by official Elk stats after they are taken off the film.)
Osseo 44, Elk River 21
Elk River ………. 7 0 0 14 — 21
Osseo ………… 22 8 7 7 — 44
ER—Denis Bardashevskiy 18 run (Austin Larson kick)
Oss—Connor Kittelson 36 pass from Matt Miedtke (Johau Goldchmidt pass from Miedtke)
Oss—Prince Krauh 24 run (Elliott Kane kick)
Oss—Krauh 7 run (Kane kick)
Oss—Kittelson 17 pass from Miedtke (Jaimen Hampton run)
Oss—Kittelson 40 pass from Miedtke (Kane kick)
ER—Nolan Dwyer 4 run (Larson kick)
Oss—Hampton 7 run (Kane kick)
ER—Dwyer 7 run (Larson kick)
Rushing — Elk River 65-409 … Osseo 34-250
Passing — Elk River 1-3-4-0 … Osseo 13-22-224-0
Turnovers — Elk River 3 (3 fum.) … Osseo 0
Penalties — Elk River 3-15, Osseo 2-10
Elk River statistics
Rushing —Bardashevskiy 24-165, Trent Pink 11-75, Zach Ernst 8-53, William Hoff 2-17, Dwyer 6=48, Austin Larson 4-11, Daniel Gebhardt 2-8, Josh Hinkemeyrer 2-12, Tristan Smith 1-0, Matt Merkins 2-20
Passing — Pink 1-3-4-0
Sack —Peter Jones 1, Zac Syverson 1
Tackles —Josh Wiczek 3-10, Jones 3-9, Ernst 3-4, Larson 2-7, Syverson 2-6
Rushing — Hampton 17-110, Krauh 11-115, Justin Eykor 2-15, Miedtke 4-10
Passing — Miedtke 13-23-233-0
Receiving leaders — Kittelson 5-108, Goldschmidt 4-75
Sacks — Ryan Lynch 2
Fumble recoveries — Simon Thao, Cameron Kelly, one more (name not available)