The Eagles, under first-year coach Brian Williams, trailed 14-10 at halftime, with Keavin Leavitt supplying all the MMC points on a seven-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and a booming 33-yard field goal in the second period to counter two first-half Gehlen TDs.
Leavitt added two more TDs in the second half to fuel the Eagles' fire, but a 9 1/2 minute touchdown drive to start the third quarter set the tone for the winners the rest of the way. That superb bit of ball control and play calling culminated in a two-tard TD run by Kyle Kohn to give the Eagles a 17-14 lead and the confidence to simply go out there and see to it that they take the win home with them.
Leavitt also scored in the third quarter on a two-yard run, and then helped ice it with a thrilling 56-yard scamper to pay dirt in the fourth frame. Mitch Erdman blasted in the end zone from five yards out in the fourth to seal the deal for the Eagles.
MMC's improved defense limited Gehlen to eight points in the second half, that TD and conversion coming in the fourth.
Leading the way for that stout MMC defense were Tim Holmes and Chad Alesch with seven tackles apiece, Jordan Petersen with 1 1/2 sacks, and Korey Wiemold with one sack.
Holmes, the Eagles' quarterback, was 5-6 passing for 85 yards. QB Taylor Smith led the Jays with 11 pass completions in 22 attempts for 146 yards and three TDs. Jerad Letsche caught two passes for 23 yards, Kohn one for 31 yards, and Nate Dammann one for 24 yards.
Leavitt led the Eagles in rushing with 24 carries for 165 yards, followed by Kohn 16 carries for 79 yards, Erdman seven hauls for 34 yards, and Holmes four runs for 36 yards. Alex Loutsch led Gehlen's rushing attack with 11 carries for 48 yards. The Jays are now 3-4 over all and 2-4 in district play.
"We knew going into this game it would be a battle," said MMC coach Williams, who has guided the hard-working Eagles to a snazzy 6-2 record this season, including a 5-2 Class A District mark.
"It's a big rivalry for both schools and they've (Jays) been playing good football most of the year. We got off to a slow start, especially on defense in the first half, but we made a few adjustments and played with a lot more emotion and intensity in the second half.
"Anytime you can score 38 points and have over 400 yards of offense, good things usually will happen. The offensive line made play calling real easy."
MMC hosts rugged district foe Lawton-Bronson (6-2, 5-2) in a season ender Friday night.
Both teams have suffered losses to district foes - undefeated Woodbury Central, and once-beaten Galva-Holstein - with both of those teams already qualifying for the state playoffs beginning Wednesday, Nov. 1 in all classes.