Osseo coach Derrin Lamker nursed a can of Mountain Dew after Friday's game, a curious choice considering no additional rush seemed necessary.
First there was the result, a 56-34 Orioles victory in a rush of a game against visiting Hopkins. Second was the magnitude. With the victory, No. 2 seed Osseo (7-3) returns to the Class 6A state tournament for the first time since 2013.
The Orioles advance to play No. 1 seed Lakeville North (9-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Eden Prairie High School.
"If you're a No. 2 seed, you should go to state, and we are," Lamker said. "People can't question our seed now."
In a matchup of high-scoring offenses, Osseo remained truest to form. Running back Prince Kruah rushed a whopping 45 times for 364 yards. His touchdowns covered 8, 68, 14 and 19 yards.
"He's tough," Lamker said. "We rode him and he answered the bell tonight."
After both of Hopkins' fumbles in the second half, Kruah finished Osseo's drives with rushing touchdowns. From there, the Orioles maintained at least a two-score cushion.
On several occasions, the 5-7, 178-pound Kruah appeared stopped only to churn for more yards.
"It's all about the heart," Kruah said. "I run with determination to get as much as I can on each carry."
No. 6 seed Hopkins (3-7) and senior quarterback Oscar Johnson-Dorothy showed plenty of moxie as well. Johnson-Dorothy threw four touchdown passes, two each to Henry Brott and Deyon Campbell.
Hopkins entered the game after upsetting No. 3 seed Rosemount last week.
"We came in super fired up, and we really did think we were going to win the game," Johnson-Dorothy said. "We knew they had a powerful offense and that we would have to score. We battled the whole game, and I'm proud of all my teammates."
Points piled up in the first half as each team posted multiple touchdown drives. There were no turnovers or punts. Osseo failed to finish a drive before halftime, the only miscue by either team.
Osseo led 21-14, but Lamker was concerned.
"I didn't want a shootout," he said. "We tried to grind it out a little bit and keep them off the field."