The Mora Mustangs took on the Vikings of North Branch last night in the season opener for both teams. The Mora Mustangs are coming off an impressive 10-1 season last year, where they lost to Annandale in the third round of the playoffs. The Mustangs are led by second year head coach Troy Erickson. The North Branch Vikings came off a 7-3 season falling to Hermantown in the second round of the playoffs. The Vikings are led by head coach Justin Voss.
The game started with a North Branch having possession. North Branch took little time to score as they scored on their first drive of the game. A 17 yard touchdown pass from Koby Chouinard to Eric Nadeau, followed by a two point conversion would give the North Branch Vikings an early 8-0 lead. Neither team would score again until the second quarter, when Mora scored on a rushing touchdown from Nick Nelson. Failing on the two point conversion Mora would go into halftime trailing the Vikings 8-6.
Momentum quickly shifted hands in the second half as the Mora Mustangs scored on their first drive of the the third quarter. Nick Nelson's second rushing touchdown and a successful two point conversion gave the Mustangs a 14-8 lead. North Branch would answer with a rushing touchdown of their own from Andrew Van Eerden, failing on the the two point conversion the game was tied at 14 going into the fourth quarter.
Mora's defense was able to impose their will on the North Branch offense and didn’t allow the Vikings to score another point. The Mustangs offensive strength grew as the game went on. Eventually scoring the game winning touchdown on a two yard rush by Jaden Ponto, a successful two point conversion gave the Mustangs the 22-14 lead. North Branch had one last chance to try to tie the game. A failed fourth down conversion by the Vikings gave the Mustangs the ball with little time left, as they took a knee to end the game.
The Mustangs go on to win the first game of the season 22-14. Mora starts out the season 1-0 as North Branch falls to 0-1. The Mora Mustangs will take on Eveleth-Gilbert Sept. 6th. That game will be in Mora with kickoff at 7pm. The North Branch Vikings will play Proctor in North Branch on Sept. 6th with kickoff at 7pm.
Photo Credit: Mora Mustang Football Facebook Page