Rebels defeat Golden Bears in homecoming game
For the second game in row, Moose Lake-Willow River Rebel football player Jake Disterhaupt returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Disterhaupt bobbled the ball briefly, cut toward the middle of the field, then found an opening along the right sideline for a stunning 96-yard touchdown return. Whereas Disterhaupt previously had a TD return for 94 yards and took 16 seconds, this one was two yards further and took 22 ticks off the clock. Ben Moonen, who went 4-for-6 on the night, nailed the kick and it was 7-0.
The game, which the Rebels led 34-6 at the break and went on to win 34-20, had the second half played in a steady rain in Willow River on Friday, September 21. The only second half score was by the Eveleth-Gilbert Golden Bears in the final quarter.
Eveleth-Gilbert was forced to punt on their first possession after a decent kick return to the 33.
The Golden Bears punt rolled dead at the 45. After the play was dead, a Rebel took a flag for 15 yards on a personal foul and the penalty was assessed to the Rebel.
Disterhaupt went left and rolled right to the 47. A pass launched down the right side was overthrown and incomplete. Tony Adamczak was sacked, but a pass over the middle was completed to Jerry Young for a first down. Another pass down the middle was good, until a flag for an illegal procedure negated the good-gainer. Michael Pender took a pitch right for second and one. Mike Gassert gutted it out to within three yards of paydirt. However, on the following play, a pass intended for Layne Johnson was telegraphed. The interceptor sprinted to around the 30 of ML-WR before getting pasted out of bounds by a clean and crushing hit by Disterhaupt.
A pass went right for a first down and one followed to the one yard line for a first down. The touchdown came on the left side. The PAT was wide left for 7-6 Rebels at 6:52.
The kick to Pender was returned from the four to the 13 yard line. Pender went right for a long first-down run to the 37. With the ball being worked to the two yard line, it was Pender on a counter going in for an east TD to cap an 87-yard drive. Moonen boot the kick high and down the middle for 13-6 at 4:51.
The kick was taken by Golden Bear Chris Weston at the 22 and Rebel Alex Kenemore made the special teams tackle. The Rebels jumped offside for the third penalty of the quarter. A pass to the left had Young coming up to keep it a yard shy. Golden Bear Cole Jackson followed with a long first down run to the 37. Jackson got pounded on the next play for a three yard loss by Jake Christopherson. A pass on a roll right by Eveleth-Gilbert quarterback Sam Roberts made it third and five. A nice little old school hitch play picked up decent yards. Jackson was met by Disterhaupt for a runch at the line of scrimmage. On a pass right, a rarity occurred when a player escaped Disterhaupt's grasp and got free for a 20-yard TD. The Golden Bears went for the two-point conversion, but it failed with Disterhaupt intercepting the pass for a dead ball INT. At 1:44, Eveleth-Gilbert was hanging tough against ML-WR, down just 12-14.
The Rebels ended the first quarter with two good Pender runs across midfield and a first down as Gassert ran right. One play into the second quarter would be all ML-WR would need to score. Young tore to the left. With his 36-yard sprint and shoulder roll exclamation point for which he was not flagged, it would be 21-12 with a Moonen kick at 11:51 as it had already started to sprinkle.
Young squib kicked and Golden Bear Brandon Masters covered the ball. Jackson went left for good yards, but this time it was Eveleth-Gilbert getting the handkerchief for an illegal motion. Roberts threw to Jackson, but it only netted a yard as Matt Bednar made a solid stop. Roberts went out of the shotgun to complete it, but it was well short and facing fourth-and-six the Golden Bears punted. It was a poor wobbler that barely made it across midfield.
Disterhaupt ran for an immediate first down and Gassert had a first across midfield, but had the slippery hide squirt out of his hands. The fumble was recovered by Weston.
Roberts ran to midfield for a first. Jackson dropped cold by Cameron Schmidt for a loss of three. Jackson tried to run right but Isaac Coil, Christopherson and Gassert had other ideas to make it third-and-15. A pass attempt was incomplete and the Rebels took over on downs.
Disterhaupt ran the middle and was close enough for a measurement as the precipitation grew in intensity as everyone anxiously awaited. The Rebels got it on the 46. It took only one play for Pender to break free and to score down the right middle. The snap for point-after slithered away, but it made little difference as ML-WR had now built at 27-12 lead at 7:42.
The kick went to Golden Bear William Olson and he managed to get it from the 15 to the 20. After a couple of plays that the Rebels covered well, a pitch to Jackson made it third and 12. A long roll out right was overthrown with Gassert and Moonen on the coverage. The punt was another poor one and rolled out of bounds at midfield.
At 6:02 the Rebels got their fourth penalty. It was a holding, but Disterhaupt would take care of that in short order. The speedy and strong running showed just how much strength he has to go with his speed as he literally ran over three would-be tackles and pushed another aside for an amazing 60-yard display of athleticism. Moonen made the kick and it was 34-12 with the rain coming down harder and 5:44 until time to go home, seek shelter or don the rain coats for those lucky souls who remembered to bring them.
Olson took the kick return to the 31. Jackson was smoked by Ezra Szczyrbak and Zach Paull for a yard loss. A play up the middle was handled well by John Winter and Coil. A roll left pass was reeled in by Weston at 4:00. The Golden Bears were able to work it across midfield with Jackson being the workhorse. Young made an absolutely textbook tackle to hold a little sideline pass to nothing. An illegal procedure flew on the Golden Bears. A shotgun keeper certainly did foul Christopherson. A long pass down field was knocked down on a nice play by Gassert.
The Rebels called time to set up one play with Disterhaupt running left. Another play to Gassert was good for a first at 38.3, but ML-WR was satisfied with 34-12 as the rain really came down, the homecoming royalty took their drenching and many people headed for home.
When it was all added up the top five running backs — the same main guys minus Josh Cisar — had rushed the exact equivalent of once around a quarter mile track at 440 yards. Disterhaupt and Pender led the way with two touchdowns each. Pender got the nod on total yards with 178 yards on 15 carries for 11.87 per touch. Disterhaupt won the average yard number with an average of 18.4 on 12 carries for 172 yards. Young had quite a good night with 45 yards on just two carries for 22.5 yards per touch. Moonen showed his football talents with 32 yards on just three carries for 10.67 per touch and Gassert added 13 yards on five carries.
The Rebels added 43 yards passing and Disterhaupt's 96 yard scorched for 579 yards of total offense. Adamczak was 2-for-7 for the 43 yards passing and one interception. Disterhaupt caught one for 24 yards and Coil caught one pass for 19 yards.
Coil had an excellent game on the other side of the ball as he led the Rebels with 10 tackles with one quarterback sack. Young and Gassert each had eight stops. Christopherson played another good game with seven tackles. Brett Hawkins and JJ Sayler each had one interception.
The 4-0 Rebels play two games on the road before returning home. ML-WR should have no problem at all with a struggling 0-3 Two Harbors team on Friday, September 28. It’s the other direction when ML-WR goes south to play the 1-2 Rush City Tigers on Friday, October 5. Pine City, at 1-2, is on Thursday, October 11. Aitkin, also 1-2, is at Willow River to try to take on the state’s number two ranked on Thursday, October 17 to close the regular season at home.