The Aitkin Gobblers faced their biggest test of the season Friday, Sept. 17, as they edged the visiting Two Harbors Agates at Veterans Field 22-14.
The Agates had a chance to even things up late in the fourth, but the Gobbler defense held and moved the Gobblers to 3-0 on the season.
Coach Alan Hills wasn’t surprised by the play of the Agates.
“The game was exactly what we thought it was going to be from a very physical team like the Agates,” Hills said. “We did an excellent job of making plays when we needed them on both sides of the ball.”
Gus Sanford got the Gobblers in front to start, dashing 47 yards for a first-period score. He also ran for the two-point try and made the score 8-0.
The Agates scored in the first as well but failed on the conversion and it was 8-6 after one quarter.
Jack Grell scored his first touchdown of the year in the second and Carson Kullhem ran the two-point try and it was 16-6 at the break.
There was no scoring in the third but in the fourth, quarterback Zach Ehnstrom hit Jaelend Williams for a 74-yard touchdown to make it 22-6 after the missed point after.
The Agates, who did a good job of running the ball most of the game tallied on a 38-yard run. They made it a one possession game with the PAT and the Gobblers were hanging on. Ehnstrom threw an interception late but the Agates couldn’t dent the end zone again.
Hills acknowledged the Agates’ defense.
“They did a good job of stopping our inside running game and forced us to make some adjustments,” he said.
The Gobblers had 277 total yards to the Agates’ 253 but Two Harbors had 247 of those on the ground. Aitkin was led by Sanford, who rushed for 92 yards on 13 carries while Kullhem had 39 yards on seven carries.
Ehnstrom was 4-for-7 for 126 yards through the air with Williams grabbing two for 106 yards.
“Jaelend Williams had a huge game for us with two big catches, one for a score and the other set us up inside the 10-yard line,” Hills said.
The Gobbler defense was led by Jackson MacDonald who had four tackles and eleven assists. Alex Palm had eight assists while Craig Ashton added seven assists. Hills on the defense, “The defense did a great job of not giving up the big play and had a couple of big stops in the red zone. We got a really big game out of Jackson MacDonald in the defensive side.”
The Gobblers are on the road at Proctor Friday at 7 p.m. hoping to make it four straight. The Rails have yet to win a game this season.