Prince Kruah ascended to the top of the Class AAAAAA football throne Friday night, rushing for 189 yards and scoring the game winning touchdown with :24 left in regulation time to lead the Osseo Orioles to a 14-13 come from behind win over the East Ridge Raptors in the championship game at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.
It was the first state title for Osseo and their highest finish since they lost to Apple Valley 35- in the 1986 Class AA championship game. The Orioles kept the title trophy case bare for East Ridge, which was playing for its first state championship in any sport since the Woodbury based school opened in 2009.
Osseo struck quickly in the first quarter when Malik Gaillard fired a 51 yard touchdown pass to Damario Armstrong 1:20 into the game. East Ridge drove down the field as they were on the verge of evening the score as Otumus Payemanu completed a 35 yard pass to Tom Schiller. But the Oriole defense wouldn’t let the Raptors enter the end zone and they have to settle with a 31 field goal from Grant Ryerse.
Payemanu would be instrumental in vaulting the Raptors into the lead in the second quarter. They got the ball back after Osseo lost the ball on downs and he senior quarterback would show hi rushing prowess with gains of 13 and 12 yards. The drive would conclude with Payemanu’s 23 yard pass to Schiller to give East Ridge a 10-7 halftime lead.
The Raptors would get the second half off to a solid start as junior running back Dominik London rang up yardage like the Big Ben clock in England. The Oriole defense did an outstanding job in preventing a larger lead as they held East Ridge to a field goal, this time from 41 yards from Ryerse.
Osseo got a break in the fourth quarter when Ryerse missed a 29 field goal attempt. But the Orioles would lose the ball as Kruah came up short on fourth and one. Now it was East Ridge’s turn on offense. Could they lock up their first state title? The answer would be no as they lost the ball on downs so Osseo got the ball with a chance to engineer another comeback win. They did, thanks to Gaillard’s 14 yard completion to Armstrong and the senior quarterback would gain five yards on a keeper that would set up the game winner. Gaillard handed off to Kruah and he ran right toward the end zone to tie the game. Dean Lumb numbed Raptor fans with the extra point to win the Orioles their first state title.
Armstrong caught 10 passes or 139 yards for the Orioles. The Raptors were led by London’s 31 carries for 126 yards.
Osseo concluded their season with a record of 10-3 and East Ridge ended their season with an 11-2 record.