Orono edged the visiting Mound Westonka football team 23-17 in the first round of Class 4A, Section 5 playoffs on Oct. 23.
The White Hawks secured the No. 5 section seed after a six-victory regular season, culminating with a 30-12 win over St. Paul Central on Oct. 17. The team came prepared to face the fourth-seeded Spartans (6-3) on Tuesday night, building a 17-8 lead on three scoring drives.
The Spartans punt returners fumbled the ball twice, leading to a 17-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Brandon Hokkanen to junior Calvin MacKell and an 8-yard scoring run by junior Adam Nobs. However, Orono cut the deficit to 17-15 with 1:48 to go before halftime on a 7-yard touchdown run.
The Spartans went ahead to stay on a short touchdown run and 2-point conversion late in the third quarter. The White Hawks were unable to retake the lead, losing 23-17 to their crosstown rivals.
Orono will move on to play top seed SMB-Wolfpack on Saturday, Oct. 27. The White Hawks will celebrate the 2018 football season at the end-of-year banquet on Sunday, Nov. 18.