Football: Montevideo, O’Malley shine in big win

Junior running back runs for 348 yards and 7 TDs in the Thunder Hawks’ 45-18 win over Minnewaska.

Thunder Hawks junior running back Francis O'Malley shows excitedness before taking on the Minnewaska Lakers on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, at Montevideo High School in Montevideo.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune
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MONTEVIDEO — The Montevideo Thunder Hawks jogged on the field before the opening kickoff and junior running back Francis O’Malley was fired up to take on the Minnewaska Lakers for a Mid State Conference matchup.

The lead back for the Thunder Hawks, O’Malley let the crowd hear “let’s go” a few times before he became a containment problem for the Lakers all night long.

O’Malley ran for school records of 348 yards and seven rushing touchdowns on 26 carries. It helped the Thunder Hawks earn their first win of the season, 45-18 over Minnewaska on Friday.

O’Malley, who didn’t play after his seventh touchdown, which came 20 seconds into the fourth quarter, scored three first-half and four second-half touchdowns.

“Francis is a beast and is such a special player. He is one of those kids that is one of the most polite and respected kids in the hallways at school,” Thunder Hawks head coach Dave Vik said. “However, he runs violently when he puts on a football helmet. He runs with passion and his defense is the same way.”


Thunder Hawks junior running back Francis O'Malley sprints toward the end zone freely during a game against the Minnewaska Lakers on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, at Montevideo High School in Montevideo.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Although O’Malley fueled the Thunder Hawks to victory with three touchdowns of at least 20 yards with a longest of 74, Montevideo trailed Minnewaska in the second quarter.

Lakers sophomore quarterback Levi Johnson connected with junior running back Austin Weber for a 68-yard touchdown to tie the game at 6-6 in the first quarter. Then, senior Chase Boelke found the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown to give Minnewaska its sole lead of the game at 12-6 with 5 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the first half.

As O’Malley continued to run the Thunder Hawks toward their first win, their defense showed up in the second half, allowing six points.
“It was a great team win, a huge team effort.” Vik said. “The kids are buying into what we’re doing, whether it be offense or defense.”

Lakers offensive lineman Chase Boelke receives a snap and breaks a tackle during a game against the Montevideo Thunder Hawks on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, at Montevideo High School in Montevideo.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Thunder Hawks senior defensive end Mason Jerve led the shutdown defense. He tallied four solo tackles, three of them for a loss with two sacks and one interception.

Alongside Jerve, senior linebacker Axton Weckwerth recorded seven tackles and O’Malley did not just shine offensively. He had five solo tackles and an assisted tackle at linebacker.

“I thought offensively our first half was OK. We were also playing undisciplined defensively. We just had to touch up our discipline,” Vik said. “They are learning a lot every game. It was exciting.”

Montevideo hosts Melrose at 7 p.m. next Friday at Montevideo High School. Minnewaska will look for its first win of the season at home against Rockford at 7 p.m. next Friday at Minnewaska Area High School.

Lakers sophomore quarterback Levi Johnson takes a hit from Montevideo's Grayson Eisenlohr before throwing a touchdown pass against the Thunder Hawks on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, at Montevideo High School in Montevideo.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune


Montevideo 45, Minnewaska 18

Minnewaska (0-4)  6      6    0   6 — 18
Montevideo (1-3)    6   15   18   6 — 45

Scoring Plays
MON – Francis O’Malley 3 run (kick blocked)
MIN – Austin Weber 68 pass from Levi Johnson (kick failed)
MIN – Chase Boelke 5 run (kick failed)
MON – O’Malley 7 run (Ethan Moravetz run)
MON – O’Malley 74 run (Rafael JeanCarlos Valenzuela kick)
MON – O’Malley 10 run (kick failed)
MON – O’Malley 23 run (pass failed)
MON – O’Malley 8 run (kick blocked)
MIN – Blake Andreas 11 pass from Johnson (run failed)
MON – O’Malley 58 run (kick failed)

First downs: 14 … Penalties: 6-60 … Rushing (Individual and team): Chase Boelke 9-69, Jack Majerus 9-22, Cole Baker 3-5, Carter Meyer 3-3, Connor Frey 1-(-4), Levi Johnson 7-(-13), Myles Reichmann 1-(-20). 33-62 … Passing (Individual and team): Johnson 12-22-1. 206 ... Receiving: Austin Weber 3-91, Blake Andreas 4-55, Majerus 3-47, Hunter Kloos 2-13 … Interceptions: none … Fumble recoveries: none … Tackles (solo-assist): Reichmann 7-0, Meyer 4-0, Boelke 4-0, Majerus 4-0, Jack Larson 3-0, Bode DeZelar 3-0 … QB sacks: none

First downs: 26 … Penalties: 7-60 … Rushing (Individual and team): Francis O’Malley 26-348, Jaxon Wagner 9-43, Ethan Moravetz 5-23, Fox Huber 2-15, Carson Boike 2-15, Cooper Dack 3, Samuel Knoop 1-(-2). 46-439 … Passing (Individual and team): Dack 3-9-0. 40 ... Receiving: Devin Ashling 2-23, O’Malley 1-17. 3-40 … Interceptions: Mason Jerve 1 … Fumble recoveries: Team 1 … Tackles (solo-assist): Axton Weckwerth 7-0, O’Malley 5-1, Moravetz 4-1, Jerve 4-0, Huber 3-0 … QB sacks: Jerve 2, Luke Kuno 1, Nathaniel Wimmer 1

More football coverage:
Recent football coverage from west central Minnesota:
Prep girls basketball report for Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, in west central Minnesota. Eleventh-ranked Montevideo beats No. 8 Warriors 61-39 after a tough loss Thursday at No. 2 New London-Spicer

Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in May 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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