Pender's TDs extinguish Dragons' fire
The Pine City Dragons were able to intercept an early pass and hold the Moose Lake-Willow River Rebels to the only first quarter TD, but soon it was Michael Pender erupting for two of his game-high four touchdowns and Michael Gassert scoring another as the Rebels quickly extinguished all but a spark of the Dragons' fire by leading 28-6 at halftime.
In the game played in Willow River on Wednesday, October 11, Pender went on to score two more touchdowns and Jerry Young and Ben Moonen each scored another to make it 49-20 as the Dragons had scored twice against the Rebels reserves in the fourth frame.
Pender’s first score was on a five-yard run in the first quarter and Moonen, who went four-five on pats, added the kick for 7-0 at 3:43.
It would take only 1:12 for ML-WR to have Pender score again, this time on a four-yard run. Although Moonen banged the kick off the right upright it was 13-0 at 11:48. Michael Gassert got free for a 33-yard around the left side and Pender added the run for points for 21-0. The Dragons still had some fire left in them and Devon Ripka made it 21-6 on his 57-yard sprint. With the kick missed, it appeared that would be it for the first half scoring, but the Rebels and Young had other ideas as Young made some beautiful lateral moves, picked up some great downfield blocking and scooted in for a 20-yard TD. Moonen hit the kick for 28-6 with just 38.8 remaining in the half and the Dragons' spirits seemed to be pretty much snuffed.
Pender got free for a 20-yard run and Moonen was true to form for 35-6 at 9:17 of the third quarter. Some five minutes later, it was Pender again, this time on a run of 26 yards. Moonen’s boot made it 42-6 at 4:30 as ML-WR had broken the game open with a 36-point lead.
Ripka was able to get the game back out of running as he scored from 10-yards out at 11:40, but with the run for points failing it was 42-12. The Rebels’ Moonen would get some reps at running back and he made it count as he went in untouched from three yards out for 49-12 to take it back into running time at 4:47 as he hit his fourth kick out of five on the night.
The Dragons were able to saved a bit of face as Dewy Carr scored against the reserves as Ripka got the two-point conversion for the final 49-20 as Pine City got it out of running time for the last 5.9 seconds.
Moose Lake-Willow River, improving to 7-0 and 6-0, play the 1-5 and 0-5 Aitkin Gobblers to wrap up the regular season at home. NOTE: The game is on Wednesday, October 17 with the regular 7 p.m. kickoff.