By Camden McFarland
The St. Paul Indians gave it their all last night in their victory against the Osborne Bulldogs to become the 8-Man Division I Sectional Champions.
Unlike last week’s 56-6 blowout victory against Central Burden, this matchup was sure to be a challenge for St. Paul as Osborne entered as the defending state champions with an identical record of 9-1.
Throughout most of the first quarter, both teams’ defenses were impenetrable.
Neither team saw much progression up the field until St. Paul’s third offensive possession, when Osborne recovered St. Paul’s fumble and used the momentum to convert the drive into a touchdown.
As the Indians entered the second quarter trailing by eight, their offensive possession was ripped away from them a second time when Osborne forced another fumble after kicking off.
With just over four minutes gone in the second quarter, Osborne found their way past St. Paul’s defense and into the end zone again to bring the score to 16-0.
On St. Paul’s following drive, they finally retaliated with a rushing touchdown by quarterback Braven Born to bring the score to 16-8 after a completed two-point conversion.
Within the first two minutes of the second half, Osborne managed to slip past St. Paul’s defense a third time on a pass play that led them 63 yards into the end zone.
However, the Indians quickly fired back as Born connected with Caleb Pecha on a 35-yard pass into the end zone to bring the score to 24-14 with nearly six minutes left in the third quarter.
The Indians carried this momentum onto defense and soon found the ball back in their possession after Pecha intercepted a Bulldogs pass.
When the fourth quarter rolled around, St. Paul began to take the game into its own hands.
With less than a minute gone in the fourth, Born fired a pass to Collin Carlson for a touchdown to close their deficit to 24-22.
After forcing Osborne to punt, the Indians battled their way up the field again and Pecha caught another pass from Born to land him in the end zone and take the lead.
The Indians then turned around after kicking off and forced Osborne to fumble in their own end zone. This safety earned St. Paul two additional points and brought the score to 24-32.
As the clock continued to wind down, the Indians fought on and earned another three points after Alejandro Maté completed a 22-yard field goal to bring the final score of the game to 24-35.
St. Paul’s victory over Osborne will advance them to the sub-state game against Burlingame next Friday, Nov. 17, in St. Paul.