The Mora Mustang football team entered the section playoffs as the No. 7 seed. They traveled to Elk River to take on Spectrum, who was the No. 2 seed. The Mustangs’ bid for an upset fell just short as Mora fell 30-22. The loss ended their season with a record of 1-6.
Things looked good for the Mustangs early. Tayven Peterson provided an explosive play in the first quarter as he went 81 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was good, and Mora led 8-0.
Mora’s defense held strong throughout most of the first half. A second quarter touchdown by Spectrum cut the lead to 8-6, but Mora took that lead into halftime.
Another explosive play in the third quarter put Mora up by two scores. Conner Gmahl went 65 yards for a touchdown. After the two-point conversion Mora led 16-6 and the upset bid was looking stronger.
Spectrum’s passing attack began to kick in at that point. Mora had trouble stopping the passing game of the Sting as they passed for 320 yards for the game. Spectrum put up 16 quick points to take their first lead heading to the fourth quarter 22-16.
A struggle this season for the Mustangs has been turnovers. Mora committed three more turnovers on the evening. The turnovers limit the number of offensive plays Mora can run and gives the opponent more plays and shorter fields. Spectrum wore down the defense as they ran 83 plays for the game, while Mora only ran 34 plays.
Spectrum extended the lead in the fourth quarter to 30-16. Mora was able to answer with another Conner Gmahl touchdown, this one from 16 yards out, to make it 30-22. The Mustangs couldn’t muster another drive and their season ended.
A young Mustangs team gained valuable experience this season. Those experiences will be valuable as Mora looks ahead to the 2022 season.
1 2 3 4 T
Mora 8 0 8 6 22
Spectrum 0 6 16 8 30
Avery Nelson 0 for 1
Jansen Siems 0 for 2, one interception
Connor Gmahl 11 carries, 141 yards, two touchdowns
Tayven Peterson nine carries, 116 yards, one touchdown
Coaches quote from head coach Troy Erickson: “The kids fought hard and never gave up. We didn’t run enough plays and couldn’t get the big stop in the second half when we needed it. At one point we looked out on the field and we had seven sophomores out there on defense. In the first half we did a good job of stopping them twice in the red zone. Over the course of the game, we just wore down as they ran 49 more plays than us. Turnovers hurt us, especially in the first half. We only ran nine offensive plays in the first half. A good thing about the season is that we got a lot of young players experience playing at the varsity level. Our numbers are good so we will be returning a lot of players that gained valuable experience. That experience should pay dividends as we gear up for next season.”