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Mooseheart's Sahr Mahoney gains yardage in the first quarter of Friday's 33-22 victory over Christian Liberty. Mahoney scored one of the Ramblers' touchdowns on a 72-yard kickoff return.
Mooseheart's J.J. Odunsi moves away from Christian Liberty defender Adam Palmer (No. 56) after making one of his three receptions in Friday's victory over Christian Liberty.
Mooseheart runing back Oumaru Abdulahi heads toward the end zone on a 76-yard rushing play in the second quarter of the Ramblers' 33-22 victory over Christian Liberty. Abdulhi scored four touchdowns in the contest.
MOOSEHEART, IL, Sept. 14 - Bottom lines do matter in high school football, and no matter how many yards they gave up or how hard they were pushed on Friday by visiting Christian Liberty - Mooseheart found a way to win the Northeastern Athletic Conference game 33-22.
Mostly, "a way" came via senior running back Oumaru Abdulahi, who scored four touchdowns for the second consecutive week, gained 195 yards on just 15 carries and helped propel the Ramblers to their fourth victory in as many games this year.
Mooseheart, meanwhile takes its 4-0 record to Ottawa Marquette on Friday for a mid-season battle at the top of the conference standings.
"It is what it is," Mooseheart coach Gary Urwiler said. "We're 4-0 and we're going to go down and play a really good Ottawa Marquette team. They are big and they run well and we're going to have some challenges."
In such a close game, every touchdown was critical, but Abdulahi's helped shift the momentum in favor or the Ramblers. His first, on a 1-yard plunge with 1:29 to play in a wild first quarter, brought Mooseheart to within 14-12.
The second touchdown came on a broken play midway through the second quarter. On a lateral play to the left side, the ball was fumbled by Abdulahi, who retrieved the ball on the first bounce and raced 76 yards to score and put the Ramblers ahead for good.
"It was a heads-up play by him," Urwiler said. "It was a backward lateral and he got it done."
While Mooseheart's defense held Christian Liberty (0-4) scoreless in the second and third quarters, Abdulahi struck again with 4:43 left in the third quarter and the lead grew to 26-14. Abdulahi scored on another 1-yard plunge with 6:59 to play.
"We didn't go to him early," Urwiler said. "I wanted to ease him into it. We were going to try to throw underneath more, and it didn't work out that way."
Christian Liberty has played four close games this year and refused to quit. The Chargers narrowed the margin to 33-22 when Marcus Silva ran in from 5 yards with 1:57 left. Silva rushed for 199 yards on 36 carries and scored two of his team's three touchdowns.
"I know we're not the team the scoreboard reflects all the time," Christian Liberty coach Jim Calkins said. "It's very tough to take. I know this team is going to stick together through this, not give up, and fight wherever they go."
Overall, Christian Liberty gained 404 rushing yards and 454 total yards in the game. Alex Glynn added 98 rushing yards and scored on a 76-yard run late in the first quarter, a run that gave the Chargers a short-lived 14-6 lead.
"Our game plan was to run the middle a lot, and we did," Calkins said.
Mooseheart allowed 296 rushing yards in Week 3 against Rockford Christian Life, taking the two-week total in rushing yards allowed to 700 - though once again the Ramblers found a way to win the game.
"We're not the greatest at run defense right now," Urwiler said. "Our game plan was to get us back on the field and I think we were able to do that. We concentrated a lot of our efforts at halftime on making a defensive stop, and we did and we capitalized on it. That really helped in the game."
While they are still struggling to gain victories, Christian Liberty is not the team it was four years ago when it began playing varsity football or even the squad that finished at the bottom of the NAC standings in 2011.
"It's really hard to keep a small team like this and to get our numbers up when the victories don't show," Calkins said. "But this team is not going to start whining and crying about that. They're going to come out next week with just as much fire as they did when the first game started."
Christian Liberty 14 0 0 8 - 22
Mooseheart 12 6 8 7 - 33
CLA-Silva 3 run (Anderson kick)
MHT-Mahoney 72 kickoff return (kick failed) CLA-Glynn 76 run (Anderson kick) MHT-Abdulahi 1 run (pass failed) MHT-Abdulahi 76 run (pass failed) MHT-Abdulahi 26 run (Hart pass to Odunsi) MHT-Abdulahi 1 run (Mahoney kick) CLA-Silva 5 run (Glad run)
First Downs 18 11
Rushes-yards 63-404 22-206
Passes 6-11-1 4-13-1
Passing yards 50 84
Total yards 454 290
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
Punts-avg. 1-34 1-35
Penalties 3-20 2-15
Rushing: Christian Liberty: Grob 3-7, Silva 36-199, Glad 12-69, Anderson 5-31, Glynn 7-98. Mooseheart: Hart 2(-2), Abdulahi 15-195, Feemorlu 1-(-2), Mahoney 3-15, Delk 1-0.
Passing: Christian Liberty: Grob 4-13-1 50. Mooseheart: Hart 6-11-1 84.
Receiving: Christian Liberty: Glad 2-25, Anderson 2-25. Mooseheart: Odunsi 3-48, Mahoney 2-29, Abdulahi 1-7.
Punting: Christian Liberty: Clad 1-34. Mooseheart: Mahoney 1-35.
Interceptions: Christian Liberty: Beal 1. Mooseheart: Odunsi 1.