St. Louis Park held with Chaska for 24 minutes. Then the Hawks wore them down.
A 7-0 game at halftime, the Hawks, the defending Section 2-5A champions, imposed their will the final two quarters, winning 23-0 in week one on the road Aug. 29.
"It felt great. You know we worked really well together as a team on defense. If someone messed up, somebody else was there to pick them up. Keep each other in check. That's probably our strongest point. We have a lot of talent on that side of the ball. We can just fly around and have fun," Chaska senior captain Marcus Holasek said.
Holasek, a two-way player, now in his third year on varsity, said he felt the nerves the first couple of plays, but then he trusted in what he has been taught not only the last three weeks, but everything leading up to it.
"That first game, you're a bit nervous. You just need to settle down. Stuff starts to slow down after halftime. I thought our line slowed it down, got back to what our coaches have taught them, and we really started moving the ball," Holasek said.
Grif Wurtz, making his debut at quarterback, moving from safety on defense, scored three times on the ground, as Chaska totaled 200 yards rushing in the win.
A turnover on the opening kick-off of the second half led to short field, the Hawks capitalizing, Wurtz finding the end zone from three yards out for the 14-0 lead.
Hawks turnover Orioles on opening kickoff of 2nd half, finish off a 30-yard drive with a TD run from Grif Wurtz ! 14-0 Chaska pic.twitter.com/kcKHXVHaxO— Chaska High School (@ChaskaHawks) August 30, 2019
"That fumble was big. I think Gabe Kinneman stripped the ball. I think we started at the 20-yard line. The offense said we need to put the ball in the end zone. We did and we kept rolling. We went to power, our game plan, and our line really came together and we were able to keep moving the ball," Holasek said.
Chaska's longest drive of the game was capped off by a 4-yard touchdown at 20-0 early in the fourth quarter from Wurtz, who rushed eight times for 34 yards and was 8-of-14 through the air for 74 yards with an interception.
Another long drive from Hawks O, pick-up some key 3rd downs, Grif Wurtz with 3rd TD run tonight, XP no good. Chaska leads 20-0, 10:10 to play. pic.twitter.com/VucO0pXidO— Chaska High School (@ChaskaHawks) August 30, 2019
Matthew Kuntz and Stevo Klotz shouldered the load rushing the ball, finishing with 15 and 13 carries, respectively, totaling 100 of the Hawks yards on the ground.
Nic Snuggerud, who added 110 total yards from scrimmage, connected on a 36-yard field goal late in the game to cap the scoring for Chaska (1-0).
Snuggerud FG good from 36 yards out! Chaska 23 St. Louis Park 0 pic.twitter.com/EJ5nnvr2nY— Chaska High School (@ChaskaHawks) August 30, 2019
Holasek led all Hawks with seven tackles with Kinneman forcing a fumble and Adam Ouska intercepting a pass.
"Stevo and Nick (Stanger) help to make those calls, too. I don't see everything so they keep me in check, too. That's why we work so well on defense. We all look for certain things and we all help each out. Certain blocking schemes, certain calls that we individually recognize and we tell the team. We're able to fly to the ball," Holasek said.
Now comes the next big one.
Chaska is host to Chanhassen (1-0) at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6. The Hawks stole a win from the Storm in the closing seconds of the 2018 match-up at Chaska High School.
"We never got down. Our team chemistry is even better this year I think. We pick each other. Last year we did a great job of that and I think that's why we went so far. This year I see the same tendencies. I'm hoping we can keep growing in that sense," Holasek said.
So, will Chaska come out on top again?
"Questions are asked all the time. It's about coming out and performing in practice. We had a pretty slow practice last Monday and we came out slow in our first game. We need to come out (Tuesday), have a great practice, and get out to a fast start on Friday. We're all looking forward to it," he added.