Owatonna hadn't lost a football game to Rochester John Marshall in 16 tries.
Now make it 17, and this latest one looked like so many between the teams the last 10 years, with the Huskies dominating the line of scrimmage.
Or at least that was sure true in the second half on Saturday, with Owatonna smashing past JM then and emerging with a 40-0 win in the Big Southeast Red game at John Drews Field.
Owatonna moved to 2-0, both of the wins against Rochester teams. It nipped high-octane Mayo last week. JM is 0-2 and not feeling nearly as good as it did after Week 1, when it led powerful Century for most of the contest before losing 34-19.
"Owatonna is a (physically) strong team," said JM two-way lineman Ben Laack, who at 6-feet-4, 290 pounds was one of the few guys up front who could contend with Owatonna's snapping blockers and run-stuffers. "They are always strong. They showed us that we've got to get in the weight room and get bigger, stronger and faster."
That said, Laack didn't want to dwell on this latest contest, one in which JM hung in there in the first half, trailing just 14-0 at intermission before getting overwhelmed.
"We have to move on and get ready for our next (opponent)." he said.
That next one is Mayo, which also offers all kinds of challenges, including a lethal passing attack. The Spartans are coming off an impressive 34-14 win over Century.
If JM is to have a chance, it needs to play as well as -- or better -- than it did in the first half against Owatonna.
After getting handled early, JM showed resistance through most of the second quarter. It finally started stuffing Owatonna halfback Tanner Hall (115 yards rushing) before he could get a running start, and the JM defense also began penetrating the line and harassing Huskies quarterback Brayden Truelson.
JM allowed zero points on three of Owatonna's last four possessions of the first half, including knocking the Huskies backwards on the last one, the JM linemen in Truelson's face as he tried to set up to throw.
But after that, things fell apart for JM. Its resistance was gone and JM coach Kevin Kirkeby wasn't blaming nearly all of that on his team's lack of depth, with so many players going both ways.
"They took the ball to open the second half and rammed it right down our throats," said Kirkeby, who watched Owatonna rip off runs of 10, 9, 11 and 11 yards on its first four plays of the third quarter. That was part of a nine-play drive that ultimately ended with Owatonna scoring on a perfectly placed 8-yard pass from Truelson to Payton Beyer in the left corner of the end zone.
Just like that, the Huskies were on top 20-0. They spent the rest of the contest adding to that total, continually burying JM with its running attack, while allowing the Rockets zero running game of its own. Owatonna finished with 307 rushing yards.
JM, meanwhile, managed a paltry 14 yards on the ground. Its biggest offensive spark came from quarterback Cole Peterson. The strong-armed senior finished 8-for-13 for 89 yards, but was picked off three times. His best connection came late in the second quarter when he neatly avoided a pass rusher, bought time, then tossed a 40-yard strike down the middle to running back Nate Swanson.
Three players later, though, after being harassed again, he tried to make another play over the middle. But his lofted pass was intercepted at the Owatonna 15.
It was by far the furthest that the JM offense would penetrate all day.
"We were getting (Owatonna) with short passes for a while, but then they took that away from us," said Peterson, who started the game a perfect 4-for-4 passing. "Then when I tried the long passes, they kept putting pressure on me (with a fierce pass rush). Owatonna is always good. They have a bunch of guys who are 'all in' and they have great coaching."
Owatonna 40, John Marshall 0
Owatonna 7 7 12 14 -- 40
John Marshall 0 0 0 0 -- 0
O -- Brayden Truelson 1 run (Lane Versteeg kick)., 2:14.
O -- Truelson 5 run (Versteeg kick), 6:25.
O -- Payton Beyer 8 pass from Truelson (run failed), 7:34
O -- Dylan Maas 16 run (pass failed), 3:33.
O -- Maas 20 run (Versteeg kick), 11:20.
O -- Connor Grems 3 run (Versteeg kick), 6:18.
First downs 25 3
Total net yards 402 102
Rushes-yards 48-307 12-13
Passing yards 95 89
Pass at.t-comp.-int. 6-11-0 10-15-3
Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Punts-ave. 2-41.5 7-24.7
Pen.-yards 3-30 3-20
Owatonna — Tanner Hall 15-115, Dylan Maas 7-52, Conner Grems 7-64, Nick Williams 8-33, Matt Seykora 4-33, Brayden Truelson 2-11, Drew Kretlow 3-10, Cael Downing 2-(minus 11) . John Marshall — Parker Navitsky 4-10, Nate Swanson 5-3, Cole Peterson 1-0, Sabir Abdullahi 2-0.
Owatonna — Brayden Truelson 6 completions, 11 passes, 0 interceptions, 1 touchdowns, for 95 yards. John Marshall — Cole Peterson 10-15-3-0 for 89 yards; Gunner Dokken 0-3-0-0 for 0 yards; Cael Dowling 0-0-0-0, for 0 yards.
Owatonna — Connor Budach 2-20, Payton Beyer 3-56, Tanner Hall 1-14, Nick Williams 1-4. John Marshall — Michael Nicometo 1-6, Jack Ward 1-5, Jaco Welp 2-25, Swanson 4-46, Navitsky 1-7.