The Esko Eskomos defense stymied the usually potent Aitkin Gobbler offense in Esko’s 41-14 win last Friday.
The battle started on a high note for the home team as the Gobblers recovered an on-side kick on the Eskomo 35-yard line. Unfortunately, things went south quickly for Aitkin when they failed to convert on a fourth-and-two. Esko wasted little time getting on the scoreboard with a 33-yard quarterback keeper at the 6:34 mark of the opening quarter. Esko 6, Aitkin 0.
The Gobblers went three-and-out on their next series; a snap over the punter’s head gave Esko the ball on Aitkin’s 21-yard line. Four plays later, Esko scored again. Esko 14, Aitkin 0.
Things continued to disintegrate for the Gobblers when Esko picked off a pass, returning it to the Gobbler 25. Esko went to the air for its third touchdown. Esko 20, Aitkin 0.
A muffed kickoff was recovered on the one-yard line, and Aitkin was forced to punt from its own end zone after three plays went nowhere. Esko had great field position, but a Carter Olson pass interception stalled the Eskomo drive.
Another three-and-out forced a Gobbler punt which was downed at midfield. It took Esko only three plays to score again, taking a 27-0 lead at halftime.
The Gobblers managed only 33 yards of offense during the first 24 minutes of action while the Eskomos gained 44 yards rushing and 67 yards through the air.
Caiden Kjelstrom returned the second half kickoff to the Esko 37, giving the Gobblers good field position. However, an offensive pass interference call followed by a fumble set up Esko’s fifth touchdown. The Eskomos scored a final touchdown late in the third quarter. Esko 41, Aitkin 0.
The Gobblers got on the scoreboard late in the third period with a Carter Dox two-yard run. The TD was set up with an eight-yard pass from Kyle Cluff to Joe Cummings. A pass interference call gave Aitkin the ball on the two-yard line before Dox swept the sideline for the score. Dox added a second touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Jack Grell converted the extra points. Final Esko 41, Aitkin 14.
Esko 14 13 14 0 - 41
Aitkin 0 0 6 8 - 14
Team and individual statistics:
Total yards: A-182 yds., E-286 yds.
Passing: A-27 yds., E-94 yds.
Rushing: A-155 yds., E-192 yds.
Passing: A-Kyle Cluff 4-14-27,
Austin Price 12-35 yds., Carter Dox 10-63 yds., Jesse Goettig 4-20 yds., Caiden Kjelstrom 1-14 yds., Owen Miller 3-10 yds.
Joe Cummings 1-8 yds., Dox 2-14 yds., Carter Olson 1-5 yds.
A Kade Hopperstad 7, Jake Ince 6, Manni Ugutegbe 5, Jon Blanchette 5
Tackles for loss:
Isaiah Sorem, Price
Editor’s note: The game was stopped with three minutes remaining due to a medical emergency on the field (see the press release on page A1). Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Jackson Pfister, the students of Esko High School and the Esko community.