In a rematch of the 2018 section 5AAA championship game Mora matched up with top seeded Annandale. The Cardinals defeated the Mustangs last year 27-12 and entered the game with a 9-1 record. The 8-2 Mustangs knew they’d be in for a tough game and ultimately ran into a buzz saw falling 50-6 at St. Cloud State University Friday, Nov. 1.
On the opening possession of the game it appeared the Mustang defense had forced a three and out by stuffing the Cardinals on three consecutive runs. A fake punt kept the drive going and ultimately led to a touchdown. The drive took seven minutes off the clock making it 6-0.
Mora’s offense took over with good field position around midfield. Two short runs and an incomplete pass forced a punt back to the Cardinals. It would be the only three plays in the quarter for the Mustangs.
Annandale went on another long drive that carried into the second quarter. A key conversion on third and 22 via a long pass completion kept the drive alive. That culminated with a touchdown making it 14-0.
Mora got the ball back for their second possession with 8:53 left in the second quarter. The Mustangs promptly fumbled the ball away. Annandale turned the turnover into more points making it 21-0. The Mustangs had run only four offensive plays and were down three touchdowns. Head coach Troy Erickson said, “We were kind of shell shocked by how the game started.”
The next drive didn’t end well either. After three plays the Mustangs faced a fourth and three from the 42-yard line. Knowing they needed to generate some sort of momentum Mora tried a fake punt. The snap was low and ultimately the punt was blocked.
Annandale once again took advantage of the situation. With a short field the Cardinals drove down the field making it 27-0, and Mora had only run seven offensive plays.
Mora finally picked up their first first down of the game with 2:35 left in the first half. The Mustangs ultimately had to punt and went into the locker room down by 27 points.
The second half didn’t go much better as Annandale had a 42-0 lead before Mora finally got on the board. Jaden Ponto scored on a short touchdown run making it 42-6.
Annandale’s final score summed up the game for Mora. A fumble recovery by the Cardinal defense was taken in for a touchdown to make the final score 50-6.
Even though the season ended with a thud it was another successful season for Mora. The Mustangs ended 8-3 and 26-7 over the past three seasons.
In summation Coach Erickson stated, “I feel bad for the seniors on how the season ended. But they had a great run over the last three seasons. They maybe didn’t win much coming up in junior high or C-squad/JV, but they stuck with it and helped bring Mora football back to a high level of respectability in our area, section and state. I’m really proud of them and appreciate their efforts.”
“We obviously have work to do to rise up to the level of an Annandale. But, we had a lot of juniors playing this year that gained valuable experience that will help them lead the team next season. We may be an under the radar team next year, but at the end of the season I believe we’ll be once again contenders in our section.”