The Pine City Dragons fought for a Homecoming victory, defeating Aitkin 20-16, on Friday Sept. 27. Both teams attempted to take to the air; however, it would turn out to be unproductive with both teams only advancing the ball for 56 yards and not finding the end zone.
The first quarter started off with a dominant drive and five yard touchdown run from Aitkin; however, Pine City was able to hold them scoreless for the rest of the half and answered them with two touchdown runs of their own.
The Dragons were not able to complete the two-point conversion and the first half would run to an end with the score being Pine City 12, Aitkin 8.
The Dragons found the end zone again with a powerful drive, closing it out with a one yard run. Completing the two-point conversion, the Dragons led at the end of the third quarter, 20-8.
Aitkin started to come alive in the fourth quarter, putting themselves back in the game with eight more points from a touchdown run and two-point conversion. Aitkin had numerous opportunities to score during the last half of the fourth quarter; however, the Dragon defense was able to stand their ground.
Tryston West showed his strength on the field, averaging close to four yards per carry, with a total of 92 yards for the night. West also led the Dragons defensively with two solo tackles and five assists. George Ausmus was able to advance the ball, averaging over four-and-a-half yards per carry for 68 total yards. Duke Waxberg added another 36 yards rushing for the Dragons, averaging four-and-a-half yards per carry.
Defensively, the Dragons’ number of tackle assists increased from past games as Pine City teamed up to stop Aitkin from advancing the football. Ahtto Berg led the Dragons in tackle assists with seven, Jacob Lindahl, Duke Waxberg, Kameron Jusczak and JJ Preston all assisted in six tackles. Jusczak and Preston also had one solo tackle each. Caleb Fromm was also strong on defense, with two solo tackles and three assists.
Penalties plagued the Dragons again this week, with 11 penalties for a loss of 82 yards. Pine City was able to keep possession of the football with no fumbles or interceptions. They were also able to keep drives alive on the field with a 43% third down efficiency and the Dragon defense held Aitkin to a low 22% efficiency.