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A quarterback for nearly all of his football-playing life, Osseo’s Matt Miedtke found himself in an unusual situation in 2012.
The Orioles already had a steady hand at the position in Garrison Gillard. Wanting to get the talents of the 6-3 Miedtke on the field, the Osseo coaches switched him to receiver. After six mostly uneventful games, he moved back to his normal position, taking over the backup role.
“That’s what the team needed,” Miedtke said diplomatically. “But quarterback is the position I love.”
This season, Miedtke has started at quarterback since practice began. His accurate arm has added a dimension the team's offense lacked in 2012. He’s completed more than 60 percent of his passes for 2,093 yards and 25 touchdowns, leading Osseo to its first state tournament berth in 19 years.
Staff writer Jim Paulsen talked with Miedtke about Osseo’s season.
Q: Are you at all surprised by how well this season has gone?
A: I never thought about exactly how good we could be, but we knew we could do this. We knew we could exceed everyone’s expectations.
Q: When did you realize this team could be special?
A: Since the first day of conditioning. We all came together so well. We confirmed it when we lost to Minnetonka. We only lost by three, and we didn’t play very well. Then we beat Blaine pretty decisively. We knew then that we could play with anybody.
Q: What’s the biggest difference between this year and last year?
A: Our balance on offense. We can run the ball or we can throw it. And our defense is so fast.
Q: How nice is it to have a pair of tall, talented receivers like Connor Kittleson and Josh Goldschmidt?
A: It’s really nice. To have two receivers who are both 6-3, 6-4, they don’t miss a lot. I don’t have to be as accurate with my throws. And they have pretty good speed out there, even if they’re a little bigger.
Q: Talk about last Friday’s 17-14 victory over Prior Lake. It looked like they had you on the ropes.
A: Momentum did swing their way in the second half. They have some big, strong kids who like to play smash-mouth football. It wore on the defense a little bit because we weren’t doing our jobs [on offense]. We were leaving them out on the field too long.
Q: The defense stepped up and forced a huge fumble just when it looked like Prior Lake might score.
A: That was such a clutch play by the defense. That fumble really turned the tide.
Q: What does a victory like that mean to Osseo?
A: Osseo is a tight-knit community. You can feel people come together. There is so much love from the fans and alumni and parents. It’s a great feeling. It makes you proud to be a part of it.
Q: You also play basketball. Do you prefer one sport over the other?
A: It would have to be football.
Q: Will you play in college?
A: I really didn’t put myself out there much after last season, so colleges don’t know about me. This year, the offensive coordinator at Winona State has Facebooked me, but that’s about it.
Q: Maybe things will change now that you’ve made the state tournament.
A: Well, the team comes first. It’s a great opportunity for the entire team. We all have aspirations and the extra exposure will help.