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North Mahaska gave up a touchdown in the first quarter but used a strong defense and added key offensive plays en route to a 22-6 non-district victory over Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont. The Warhawks snagged two interceptions and recovered two fumbles to stop EBF Rocket drives.

EBF took the opening kickoff and had a second down and 11 yards to go at their own 27-yard line when Jesse Cornellson broke free for a 63-yard scamper. A penalty on the Warhawks put the ball at the 8-yard line and on a fourth down play, Cornellson plunged in for a score. The run for two points failed. It would be the last time EBF would find the end zone.

North Mahaska took its possession and moved down the field into EBF territory before throwing an interception, but the NM defense stiffened and took over the ball. NM again threw an interception to end a drive but again the Warhawks made the plays to thwart Rocket offensive chances.

With 1 minutes 40 seconds left in the first half NM’s Trenton Hol sacked Russell McCrea on third down and forced an incompletion on fourth down at the NM 36. Lucas Nunnikhoven rushed 21 yards on second down then connected with Asher DeBoef for a 43-yard TD and after the extra point led EBF 7-6 going into halftime.

NM got the ball to start the second half but could not move the ball. Senior Gage Vander Voort hopped on a loose ball on the Rockets’ first snap and three plays later Kaleb Stout rolled in from 18 yards out and NM increased the lead to 13-6.

Nunnikhoven did something on the Warhawks’ next possession that fans have not seen often, kicking a field goal. The junior booted a 37-yard field goal to lead 16-6.

Austin McMahan put the nail in the Rocket’s ship with an interception for a 24-yard score.

NM coach Trey Bennett, who is hobbled after having knee surgery a few weeks ago, moved up and down the field congratulating his team before they would head to the victory bell.

“They were tough out there and I am so pleased with our defense,” said Bennett. “It’s been a tough week because of the heat so we have been indoors, but I think our conditioning was good.”

North Mahaska’s offense accumulated 336 yards. Nunnikhoven was 7-for-13 passing for 201 yards. DeBoef had three catches for 110 yards and a score. Nate Sampson also had three catches for 83 yards. Three Warhawks were in double digits rushing. Stout led with 17 carries for 64 yards, McMahan had nine for 25 and Nunnikhoven eight for 16.

Hol and Nunnikhoven led in tackles with 5.5 each and VandeVoort had five with his fumble recovery. McMahan and Nunnikhoven had interceptions and Ryan Groom recovered a fumble.

“I am proud of our offense, but we should have put the ball in the end zone down there,” said Bennett about his team being stalled inside the EBF10. “We ran the ball, but we were able to pass the ball all over the field.”

Cornellson led EBF in rushing with 123 yards on 15 carries.

North Mahaska will head into Class A District 6 competition when they travel to No. 4 Lynnville-Sully. The Hawks defeated Danville 54-13.