Eskomos gobbled up by Aitkin

The Eskomos managed just 132 yards of total offense and the defense had trouble stopping an offense that gained nearly 300 yards rushing.

Esko's Brock House carries the ball during the Eskomos 38-6 home loss to Aitkin Friday, Nov. 6. Jamey Malcomb / Pine Journal

Esko running back Nolan Witt scored a second-quarter touchdown, but the team couldn’t mount a consistent offensive attack, falling 38-6 at home to Aitkin Friday, Nov. 6.

The Eskomos had only 132 yards of total offense and mounted one sustained drive, which culminated in Witt’s touchdown run.

Esko ran just three plays on each of its first two possessions, while the Gobblers were able to break off several chunk plays and pick up touchdowns from Austin Price and Owen Miller to grab a 16-0 lead after the first quarter.

After forcing an Aitkin punt, quarterback Kevin Gregory III connected on several passes to set up Witt’s score, but Esko couldn't mount another sustained drive in the game.


Esko sophomore Nolan Witt fights his way into the end zone for the Eskomos only touchdown during a 38-6 home loss Friday, Nov. 6. Jamey Malcomb / Pine Journal

Aitkin scored again late in the second quarter on a 23-yard pass to Jake Ince from Caiden Kjelstrom to take a 22-6 lead into halftime.

On the opening drive of the third quarter, Esko looked to grab the momentum after forcing Aitkin to turn the ball over on downs deep in Eskomo territory.

Esko was forced to punt and Miller scored his second touchdown for Aitkin on a 22-yard run late in the third quarter.

Gregory tried to get something going early in the fourth quarter, but was intercepted on the first play from scrimmage after an Aitkin punt. The ball was returned to the Eskomo 26-yard line and Kjelstrom threw his second touchdown of the night, to Jaeland Williams.

Esko senior Kevin Gregory attempts a pass during a home loss to Aitkin Friday, Nov. 6. Jamey Malcomb / Pine Journal

The loss left Esko coach Scott Arntson looking for answers after the team's second-straight loss. Esko fell to Mora 40-18 Oct. 30.


“Right now we’re searching, trying to find places for our kids to be successful,” Arnston said. “One of the things we’re looking at is what do our kids do well and then let’s put them in positions to do that.”

Arntson knows he has plenty of talent on the squad, they just haven’t put together a total team performance this year.

“On both sides of the ball, I think we have some good individuals, but we haven’t figured out how to play as a team yet,” Arntson said. “I know that’s a little cliche, but that’s what it feels like. I look across our lineup and I see a lot of good football players, but so far we haven’t been playing good.”

Esko (2-3) needs a win at Crosby-Ironton to have a place in the section tournament that starts in less than two weeks.

Esko is scheduled to play the Rangers at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12.

Aitkin 16-6-8-8—38

Esko 0-6-0-0—6

A — Austin Price 4 run (Braden Lowe run)

A — Owen Miller 12 run (Jake Ince run)

E — Nolan Witt 1 run (run failed)


A — Ince 23 pass from Caiden Kjelstrom (run failed)

A — Miller 22 run (Kjelstrom run)

A — Jaeland Williams 9 pass from Kjelstrom (Alex Palm run)

Esko senior Eli Blue reaches out for a pass during a 38-6 home loss to Aitkin Friday, Nov. 6. Jamey Malcomb / Pine Journal

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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