The Kelliher-Northome Mustangs hosted the Hill City Hornets Sept. 23 for Homecoming, bringing cheers from the crowd with a 38-6 victory.
The Mustangs scored all 38 points in the second quarter. The Hornets posted their 6 points in the fourth.
"We ran the ball very well. Our first two scoring drives were nice long drives all on the ground. Our line played very well. We got into our playbook and were able to work on some plays we had not run much thus far," said K-N Head Coach Derrick Gross. "Wagner and Pierson did a great job pulling on our counter play" he said.
Gross said that Hill City was very beat up coming in.
"It seemed that they had as many kids not dressed for the game as they did playing," he said. "Hill City is always a tough team and we happened to get them on the week that they were very short handed on both sides of the ball."
Gross was asked was the game being their Homecoming a factor on how the Mustangs played?
"We played very well," he said. "Homecoming was surely a factor. Not sure if that it was a good or bad one though. Homecoming always brings with it a lot of distractions off the field."
Gross also said that his team didn't pass the ball much and because of that, left a few receptions on the field. In his opinion, the Mustangs need to do a better job in the passing game.
"We knew Hill City likes to pass the ball a lot. Our plan was to control the game by controlling the ball. They can't make long passes if they don't have the ball and that is exactly what we did. We ran about 55 offensive plays and limited them to about 30," he said.
Mustang offensive leaders were Joe Schuh who had 188 yards rushing on 14 carries. As a team, the Mustangs had rushing 368 yards. Passing, the Mustangs passed for 11 yards and threw for a two point conversion.
They also rushed for two other two point conversions.
Defensively, Lance Pink had 8 tackles and Keith Shaugnessey and Schuh each had an interception.
"As a team we have come a long way already this year. With nearly half our roster being freshman each week, we get better simply with experience gained. Our offensive line and linebackers particularly, showed great improvement against the Hornets," said Gross.
Nathan Anderson saw his first action of the year coming off an injury that kept him out the first three weeks of the season. Coach Gross felt Anderson looked good and will add depth to the linebacking core and the offensive backfield. He also noted that Brandon Schmid has really stepped up.
"He does not get many touches from his wingback position but ran the ball well when we gave him the chance (34 yards on two carries)," said Gross.
"Christian Jourdan will also be seeing more touches out of the backfield as well as reps at linebacker in coming weeks and, as usual, Lance Pink and Schuh led the way for us. Those two have been our most consistant players all year and both demonstrate great leadership for us" he added.
Gross said his team still makes too many mental mistakes.
"We were able to overcome some penalties and fumbles agains Hill City that we will not get away with in Floodwood this week. We need better play from our defensive line. We need to make the pass a viable threat to the defense," he said..
Gross said that Floodwood has a very good backfield. His team will have to tackle well and control the ball like they did in their two wins against Hill City and Cromwell.
"They are aggressive on defense with solid linebackers. Our passing game needs to be a factor," he said..
"The other coaches and I are so proud of our players. This is a special group that works very hard to improve each week. They are a classy group of young people on and off the field" said Gross.
"Friday is a big game for us. Before we went out for Homecoming I told the team they were standing on the edge and they had to decide if they wanted to jump in and join the fight or stay on the outside looking in. They jumped in! Friday against Floodwood we will find out if we belong in the fight or not," said Gross.
The Mustangs will be heading to Floodwood for a 7 p.m. game. The Polar Bears are 3-1 on the season, their only loss coming from Nevis.