When two unbeaten football teams meet up, something has to give.
That’s exactly what happened Oct. 23, as Mora and Aitkin locked horns with the Mustangs coming away with a 28-16 victory.
Mora improved to 3-0 overall, while Aitkin dropped to 2-1.
The Mustangs used an early lead and 264 rushing yards to get out in front. Mora scored on a 45-yard run in the first period, and added a short run for a score in the second to go up 16-0.
Aitkin got on the board on a 10-yard pass from Caiden Kjelstrom to Joey Simonson to close the gap to 16-8 just seconds before the end of the first half, and Austin Price ran the 2-point conversion to make it a one-score game.
“We got off to a slow start but settled in during the second quarter,” said coach Alan Hills. “I think the short week of practice and not being able to practice at all on Thursday hurt us a little in that regard.”
Aitkin came out in the second half and scored quickly, with Hunter Nissen going 16 yards for a score and Owen Miller running for the conversion to tie the game.
But that would be it for the Gobbler scoring while the Mustangs scored on a pair of 2-yard runs – one in each of the last two periods – to make the final 28-16.
The stats really favored the Mustangs as they ran 60 plays to just 37 for Aitkin and outgained the locals 264 to 188 in total yards.
All of the Mustang yardage came on the ground while Aitkin had 131 on the ground and 57 through the air with Kjelstrom 4-for-8 passing for the 57 yards and one touchdown.
“We lost the turnover battle and made a few mistakes on special teams,” Hills said. “Against a good team like Mora, that’s going to cost you the game more often than not.”
Leading the receiving corps was Nissen with a catch for 24 yards, while Jake Ince had two for 23 yards and Simonsen had one catch for 10 yards and the score.
Price had 51 yards rushing on nine carries and Owen Miller had 47 on eight carries to lead the attack on the ground. On the defensive side, it was Price with four tackles and 11 assists while Nissen had three tackles and 10 assists, Jack MacDonald had two tackles and eight assists, Miller had four tackles and six assists while Craig Ashton had two stops and seven assists.
The Gobblers will host Moose Lake/Willow River Friday night at 7 p.m. at Veterans Field. The Rebels are also undefeated on the season at 3-0 after a 28-6 win last week over Crosby-Ironton, a fact not lost on Hills.
“The Rebels are another very good team but I think we learned a lot against Mora and we look to bounce back this week,” the coach said.
Aitkin 0 8 8 0 – 16
Mora 8 8 6 6 – 28