Coming off a challenging week of Zoom practices due to COVID the Spartans showed no early signs of the week away from practice. Orono marched down the field on the opening drive of the game and finished it off with a 12 yard touchdown pass from Teddy Deters to Noah Arneson for a 7-0 lead. On St. Louis Park’s first series, Mike Wojciechowski picked off a pass and returned it to the SLP 22 yard line. Deters hit Wojciechowski a few plays later on a 22 yard strike and the Spartans were up 14-0. Orono scored again midway through the 1st quarter when Deters found Wojciechowski on a 22 yard pass. Orono went up 21-0 a short time later on an 8 yard run by Aiden Mueller.
The second quarter was a different and unwelcome story. St Louis Park, took advantage of numerous Orono turnovers to score four unanswered touchdowns and take a 28-21 lead into halftime. “St. Louis Park played a great game and got 7 turnovers – it is hard to win when you don’t take care of the ball.” Said head coach Joe McPherson following the game.
St Louis Park took the opening drive down to the Orono 2 yard line. It looked grim for the Spartans as they faced going down two scores. On first and goal, a big hit by sophomore linebacker Oliver Stevenson and Shea Albrecht knocked the ball out. Orono’s big play guru, Graham Beltrand, scooped it up and raced 99 yards for a score that put Orono down just one at 27-28. St. Louis Park got the decisive score in the fourth quarter and sealed a 35-27 win.
“Tough game for us, couldn’t practice all week because of close contact and had to play Saturday with some of our younger players having to step up.” Said McPherson.
Orono has a short week to prepare for the final home game of the regular season. With DeLaSalle unable to play, Orono will face 5A Spring Lake Park on Wednesday night at Pesonen Stadium. Spring Lake Park is 4-1 with its only loss to Becker earlier in the year. McPherson looked ahead to the matchup “We have a great team and I know they’re going to bounce back against another really good 5A team in Spring Lake Park.”
With section play just ahead and no state tournament, McPherson talked about his teams objective to finish the year “We are hopeful to be back to full strength for sections starting next week and make a run at a section championship.”