October 01, 2023

Raiders fall at AHSTW, 41-13

Vikings bolt to early 14-0 lead

AVOCA — AHSTW took over first place in Class A District 7 Friday with a 41-13 victory over No. 4-ranked Mount Ayr.

The Vikings, coached by Creston native G.G. Harris, improved to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in district play. The Raiders fell to 3-1 and 1-1 in District 7.

AHSTW used a 14-0 start in the first quarter to seize control in the battle of undefeated teams. Sophomore running back Luke Sternberg raced through the Raider defense for a 32-yard touchdown run on the Vikings’ first possession.

On their next possession, senior Kyle Sternberg connected with tight end Brayden Lund for a 37-yard scoring pass for the early 14-0 lead.

Mount Ayr answered with a 13-play, 80-yard drive capped by Brayden Pierson’s 2-yard run. The Raiders mounted another drive late in the first half that could have tied the game, but a fumble gave AHSTW an opportunity to turn the tide with a quick 93-yard drive to go ahead 20-7 at halftime.

The Vikings also scored on the first possession of the second half to take a commanding 27-7 lead. The Raiders were continually hampered by three turnovers and 15 penalties for 124 yards.

“We had a ton of mental errors with the penalties and we had only turned the ball over once in three weeks, and now tonight we turned it over three times,” Mount Ayr coach Ryan Victor said. “When you play a good football team they are going to take advantage of that. Give them credit, they were able to do what they wanted to do, and we weren’t able to do what we wanted to do.”

Mount Ayr was limited to seven points until Pierson’s 1-yard touchdown with 4:40 left in the game.

Harris, who shared Creston’s Outstanding Male Athlete Award in 2006 with Dane Wardenburg and Trevor Conner, praised his team’s overall effort that allowed the Sternberg brothers to account for all six touchdowns. Luke Sternberg rushed for 222 yards and two touchdowns. Kyle Sternberg was 10 of 17 passing for 165 yards and three passing TDs, along with one rushing touchdown.

“It doesn’t happen without the other guys,” Harris said. “Our line picked up guys when they brought pressure and our receivers are really skilled. If you try to take that away, we’re going to run the ball. We didn’t play a perfectly clean game either, but our guys didn’t panic and stayed with the process.”

The Vikings, who shut out Southwest Valley 28-0 the previous week, travel to Oakland this week to face Riverside, which has another Creston connection in head coach Darrell Frain.

Jaixen Frost was 17 of 23 passing for Mount Ayr for 172 yards. Receivers Drew Ehlen and Preston Fleharty each had four receptions for 49 and 42 yards, respectively. Jaydon Knight had nine tackles, including two for losses. Mount Ayr hosts Sidney for homecoming Friday.

“We told our guys, we have to decide how we respond to this,” Victor said. “We were in the same situation last year. We have to decide if we want to accomplish the goals that we have set. We are still a good football team.”

Larry Peterson


Former senior feature writer at Creston News Advertiser and columnist. Previous positions include sports editor for many years and assistant editor. Also a middle school basketball coach in Creston.