The Aitkin Gobblers celebrated Homecoming Oct. 1 by using a 20-point second quarter en route to a 46-0 win over visiting Duluth Denfeld at Veterans Field.
The Gobblers moved to 5-0 on the season heading into their final home game of the season at Mora Friday.
Aitkin broke open a tight game in the second quarter and were never threatened in the contest.
“It was great to get the team back out on the field,” said coach Alan Hills. “We were a little rusty in the first quarter but settled down and dominated the rest of the way.”
Aitkin took the game’s opening kickoff and moved down the field. Gus Sanford and Carson Kullhem traded carries, but the Gobblers found themselves with a fourth down at the Hunters’ 7-yard line. An incomplete pass ended the drive, but Aitkin’s defense forced a three and out.
With the ball at the Denfeld 30-yard line, Aitkin proceeded to turn the ball over on downs again. The first period ended scoreless, but it was all Gobblers after that.
The Gobblers got the ball back after a Zach MacDonald punt return, setting them up at the Denfeld 35. It took just three plays to score, as Jack Grell dashed for 11 and Jacob Williams went for 20 before Williams lugged the final 4 yards for the score and a 6-0 lead.
Aitkin was short on the conversion run but it wouldn’t be long before they would be back in the end zone. The team’s second score was set up by a Kullhem interception. This time, it was 35 yards in five plays with Sanford going the final eight for the score with 6:28 left in the half. Zach Ehnstom hit Jaelend Williams for the conversion and it was 14-0.
The two teams traded possessions and the locals had the ball at midfield after
another punt. They quickly went 50 yards in six plays, with the big play a scramble by Ehnstrom to get the ball downfield to Sanford.
Ehnstrom then hit Jaelend Williams for 10 on two straight completions and Kullhem scored his fourth touchdown of the season from 10 yards out. Aitkin failed on the conversion run and the half ended with the Gobblers in the lead at 20-0.
Denfeld took the second-half kickoff but couldn’t move the ball and punted to the Gobbler 28-yard-line. Aitkin went 72 yards in eight plays to score, this time using a little trickery.
Ehnstrom pitched to Sanford, who found Jaelend Williams for a 9-yard touchdown, his third touchdown of the season. The conversion failed and the score was 26-0. The Gobblers scored again in the third, as Zach MacDonald went 28 yards on a reverse for a score, ending a three-play, 49-yard drive.
The conversion pass failed and it was 32-0 after three periods. The Gobblers continued the romp with a pair of scores in the final period. Jacob Williams scored from 24 yards out and Ehnstrom kicked the PAT – the first for the Gobblers this season – and it was 39-0.
The Gobblers went 22 yards on six plays later in the quarter with Jack Grell scoring from a yard out. Ehnstrom was true with the PAT and that made the final 46-0.
While the Aitkin offense was on fire again, the defense has given up just 22 points all season – only six in the first half. Aitkin held the Hunters to just 78 total yards, 39 on the ground and 39 in the air.
Meanwhile the offense had been just as great, scoring 160 points through five games.
“The offensive line did a fantastic job once again and led to big games for Gus Sanford, Carson Kullhem and Jacob Williams,” said Hills. Sanford led the way with 128 yards on 17 carries.
Aitkin is on the road at Mora – a team that won its first game of the season last week by beating Hibbing 20-14.
UPDATE: Due to COVID-19 and injuries, Mora is unable to play this weekend. Aitkin now will play a home game vs. Hermantown with kickoff at 6 p.m.
The Mustangs have had a rough time on offense scoring just 40 points on the year while giving up 171.
Following that game, the Gobblers will host Esko, a game likely to settle the top seed for the postseason.
Denfeld 0 0 0 0 – 0
Aitkin 0 20 12 14 – 46