By Matthew Davis
In his first full game back from a foot injury, Sam Hanson rushed for 102 yards and scored two touchdowns for Totino-Grace.
“It’s been a lot of work, a lot of rehab,” Hanson said. “It’s been kind of tough to watch them play as they play without you out there, but once you get back out, it feels really good.”
The senior running back helped the Eagles pull away big from Osseo in a 28-13 victory Oct. 6 for homecoming. He scored on runs of 14 and 36 yards in the third quarter to break open a 14-7 game as the Eagles jumped ahead 28-7.
“The o-line did a great job,” Hanson said. “They opened up the holes really nice for me.”
Hanson had been out for three weeks and played only a few snaps the week before at St. Michael-Albertville. He had been a spark the first two games of the season with 159 yards and a TD.
“I was about 60 or 70 percent, but now I’m 100 percent this week,” Hanson said about the STMA game.
Totino-Grace (5-1) started big against Osseo with an 80-yard kick-off return by senior Ryan Suggs for a TD to start the game. Osseo (2-4) rebounded in the first quarter with a 2-yard rushing TD to tie the game 7-7.
Osseo struggled to run the ball otherwise with 67 yards on 29 attempts. The Orioles’ longest run of the night game on a 13-yard gain.
Eagles junior running back Zach Clausing put his team back up 14-7 in the second quarter on a 17-yard TD run. It went downhill for the Orioles after first half.
Osseo fumbled early in the third quarter deep in its own territory, which set up Hanson’s first score. After he scored again in the third, Clausing added a two-point conversion for a 28-7 advantage, the Eagles’ highest point total in a game this season.
“Our offense really came of age, I thought, tonight,” Eagles coach Jeff Ferguson said. “Our offensive line really just really got after it.”
Totino-Grace’s defense got after the Orioles too with four sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. Senior defensive end Ryan Tigner had a team best two sacks. Fellow seniors Joey Linders and Matt Heurung each had one sack. Suggs had an interception along with a team high eight tackles.
“We had to step it up a level and keep hammering,” said Matthew Kraemer, a senior linebacker who had seven tackles and a forced fumble.
Osseo couldn’t get its offense going in the second half to stage a rally with punts on each of their drives until the final one in the fourth quarter. With the game in hand at 28-7, Totino-Grace turned the ball over with a minute left near the Osseo goal line, which led to an Orioles scoring drive to end the game.
Totino-Grace held the Orioles to 4-11 on third downs and 196 total yards of offense. The Eagles will look for another big defensive performance Friday when they visit Blaine (3-3), a team that averages 31.3 points per game, and nearly beat the Eagles in last year’s Class 6A state semifinals.
“It’s going to be the best offense we’ve faced,” Ferguson said.
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