It was literally an opening play that helped the Moose Lake-Willow River football team jump to an early start and to lead 35-0 seconds before halftime over the Esko Eskomos at Willow River on Friday, September 14. Jake Disterhaupt found an open lane on the right sidelines and raced 93 yards for an electrifying touchdown in front of the packed stands. Disterhaupt, who has been tested on the 40-yard sprint at 4.5 and who has run the 100-meter as fast as 11.11, according to the scoreboard clock had covered the 93 yards in 16 seconds. Although unsigned, Disterhaupt received a scholarship offer from North Dakota State University this spring.
By the time the night was over, ML-WR had scored in four of the eight ways a team can score in football and won 44-20. The Rebels had Disterhaupt’s kick return, two more Disterhaupt runs of 61 and 65 yards, a Michael Pender run of 25, a pass interception and return for a TD by Jake Christopherson and a field goal by Ben Moonen. Moonen likely would have been 5-for-5 on PATs but a high snap spoiled one opportunity for the senior 800-meter record holder turned running back and point-after boater.
It was not all Disterhaupt, but the next score did come on a run. After Esko had mounted a decent drive, it fizzled on the 10-yard line as a 10-yard holding moved them back to the 20. Soon it would be Jerry Young recovering a fumble. A few plays later, it was hurdler Michael Pender using his very good speed and balance to elude a pair of would-be tacklers and to step sideways and to trot backwards into the end zone on a nice 25-yard TD run. Ben Moonen who had nailed the earlier kick, hit another boot true and through for 14-0 at 2:07. It might seem unlikely that the Rebels would put more points on the board in short order again, but the defense came through. Big and tall left defensive end Ezra Szczyrbak deflected a Peterson pass high into the air. The ball would come down to captain Jake Christopherson for a lineman’s dream. In this case, it was a 21-yard pass interception off of Szczyrbak’s bat attack for a score. Moonen made it 3-for-3 and the Rebels had raced to a 21-0 lead with 41.8 remaining in the first quarter.
The Disterhaupt show would resume. As the second stanza continued senior signal-caller Tony Adamczak launched a beauty for Disterhaupt to try to run under and haul in, but it was barely off the multi-sports player's finger tips. The multi-sport star got free around the right side and scored off a 61-yard sprint. Moonen made it 28-0 at 6:37.
As the quarter continued, Disterhaupt struck with one more amazing run — perhaps to date the best cut-back of his career. The speedy back started left and saw nothing so he simply turned back left, broke a tackle attempt or two and was escorted in by five teammates as he rocked the Eskomos with what could have been a back-breaker. Moonen made it 4-for-4 and with three minutes remaining in the first half it was Rebels 35, Esko 0.
Esko would manage a good drive and helped out with a penalty on ML-WR. The drive was keyed by Riley Mudek and capped off by Mudek’s four-yard score. With not much to lose, Esko went for the two-point conversion and it failed for 35-6 at 16.6 ticks before the break.
Another long run would come by ML-WR as Michael Pender pranced 39 yards. The snap was high so the kick was naught, but the score showed ML-WR now up by 41-6 at just the 10:00 mark of the third quarter.
Esko was able to mount a drive and score despite an illegal procedure. The penalty moved the Eskomos back the eight from the three, but Mudek eventually got the ball over the goal line on a three yard plunge and lunge by Mudek. Marc Peterson found Brock Carlson with a two-point conversion pass for a score of 41-14 with 4:22 remaining in the third quarter.
The Rebels were able to score once in the fourth frame on a drill down the middle field by Ben Moonen for 44-14 at 9:25. Esko put on more score on the board. Brandt Hintsala got free against the reserves who has played since the second series of the half. Hintsala’s score, with the run for points getting stuffed. Took the final tally of 44-20 at 6:10. The Rebels reserves held up strong as Esko valiantly continued to try to score even using their final time-outs as the game was otherwise put away.
The leading rushers for ML-WR were as follows: Disterhaupt, 5 carries for 134 and three TDs; Pender, 7 carries for 111 yards and two TDs; Moonen, 7 carries for 29 and a 19-yard field; and Jerry Young, 4 carries for 26.
Adamczak attempted two throws and both were close to receptions, but it went down on record as 0-for-2.
Jerry Young had a defensive game. Young had 16 tackles and a fumble recovery. Isaac Coil hit the double digits with 11 stops. Jake Christopherson had eight tackles and one interception return off Ezra Szczyrbak’s tipped pass. Brett Hawkins also had eight stops. One quarterback sack came from Cameron Schmidt. David Moonen added one fumble recovery for the 3-0 Rebels.
Esko got good defensive efforts by Tyler Lindstrom, Riley Mudek and Wyatt Begay.
Moose Lake-Willow River has Homecoming this week that culminates with a Friday night show against the 2-2 Eveleth-Gilbert Golden Bears. The game is in Willow River at 7 p.m.
The only thing the team seems to lack right now is eliminating holds, developing more mental discipline and getting the timing down. The Rebels did commit seven penalties with three of those for 30 yards as holds. There was one 15-yard for unnecessary roughness following a TD and there was one five-yard for a false start.
Fans would be advised to get an early start to find a place to park to watch the number two ranked Rebels as they continue to draw quite a loud and proud crowd.