The Moose Lake-Willow River Rebels routed the Marshall School of Duluth Hilltoppers by a score of 40-7 to make it seven in a row for Section 7AA titles. In the game played at Duluth's Public School Stadium on November 1, the Rebels' main two rushers, Jake Disterhaupt and Michael Pender, ran for a combined 375 yards and the passing of Tony Adamczak added a long touchdown and a couple of other catches for 75 yards for a total offensive effort of 450 yards. Michael Gassert scored the Rebels' second TD of the game to make it 14-7 as Ben Moonen (4-for-6) on PATs nailed the kick.
For the Rebels, Pender rushed for 198 yards on 19 carries (10.42 yards per carry) and two touchdowns and Disterhaupt ran for 177 yards on 15 carries (11.8 per carry) and two touchdowns plus he ended up with three scores on Adamczak’s perfectly thrown 67-yard bomb for 68 yards. Pender’s touchdowns were on runs of six and nine yards. Disterhaupt’s rushing touchdowns were big numbers as they covered 24 and 69 yards for a combined total yardage effort of 160 yards, plus he went over the 200 yards mark with his 67-yard catch for 229 all-purpose yards. Pender was also over the 200-yard all-purpose milestone as a catch for three yards put him at 201 on the total. Isaac Coil had one Adamczak reception for five yards as the senior signal caller went three-for-six with two interceptions and 75 yards.
Dylan Lovegreen played arguably the best game of his career as the 235-pound junior linebacker came through for eight tackles. B.J. Young, Coil and Cameron Schmidt each had seven tackles. Disterhaupt got a fumble recovery.
Moose Lake-Willow River, at 11-0 and second-ranked, will play Hawley, also at 11-0, at St. Cloud State University on Friday, November 9. Advancing to the Dome is the prize at stake. It could be quite a battle of the undefeated teams.
Jake Serre, who would be the lone Marshall player to score, kicked off. It was covered by Kyle Newman. Pender ran for an immediate first. Gassert, who is typically extremely good at holding onto the ball with both hands and with the points secured, with no forward progress whistled, had the ball ripped free by Serre who rumbled 31 yards. The kick was good for 7-0 at 11:22.
It would not take long for the Rebels to answer. Moonen got a good return to the 49. Disterhaupt got large yards all the way to Marshall’s 28. Pender ran to the 23 on the middle right. Disterhaupt started, cut and was gone for a TD run of 23 yards. Moonen hit his kick straight through for 7-7 at 10:33.
Marshall's Connor Flaherty returned Young’s boot with Matt Bednar making the stop on the 34. A pitch was nowhere with Ezra Szczyrbak leading the gang tacklers. Flaherty lost two on a pitch and Marshall called time at 8:37.
The punt drew a flag before Young returned. Pender ran for an immediate first again to the 42 from the 26 at 8:05. Gassert hit the middle for two yards. Disterhaupt went left for a first at the 40. Disterhaupt sprinted right for a first to the 11. Young hit for five against Serre. It was Pender on a six-yard TD and Moonen for the PAT for 14-7 with 6:36 still left to play in the first quarter.
A squib kick was covered quickly with Newman and Jake Christopherson tearing after it. Flaherty ran for two. The Hilltoppers suffered an illegal procedure and soon punted a very low one that got a decent roll to the 36.
The Rebels switched it up and passed on first down. A perfectly thrown ball by Adamczak went right into Disterhaupt’s arms as he had about a step and a half on the defender down the right side. Moonen missed the kick, but it was a 20-7 lead at 4:21.
Marshall tried a screen pass and Pender took care of business and soon Marshall was punting again.
A screen to Pender worked to the 49 as Hilltopper Than Serre had to chase it down and Pender followed with first to the 34 with Jake Serre tackling. A swing pass went incomplete. A long post route down the middle drew a flag as Disterhaupt was interfered with, however on the following play, with the Rebels in the redzone, a fumble caused the loss of a likely score at 2:10.
Marshall was forced to punt to close the quarter with ML-WR up 13 points at 20-7.
Pender hit the middle left for seven yards and Gassert got a good carry to the 50. Disterhaupt was not contained on a counter. Marshall gave ML-WR a freebie as they jumped offside. Disterhaupt ran left to the four. Gassert busted the middle for the TD, but Moonen missed his second kick for 26-7 at 9:52.
Young had to save a likely touchdown on the ensuing kickoff with a great open field tackle at midfield. Marshall was able to work down the field, but would eventually give the ball up on downs with one big hit by Coil, one by Schmidt and one by Disterhaupt and finally a pass well defended by Pender.
Disterhaupt got a first on a pitch. A swing pass to Coil was complete for five. Disterhaupt was spied upon and lost six. An illegal procedure was followed with a personal foul on Lovegreen after the whistle had sounded. It looked like the Hilltoppers might march down and score as Flaherty got a big run to the 20 and then to the eight. Young made a stop on the four. The Rebels were able to stand strong for a goal line stand to make a statement at 5.1 seconds and went in up 26-7.
The third quarter started with exchanged turnovers for Marshall on a fumble and recovery by Disterhaupt on the 44 by 10:32. A right pitch to Pender was a quick first to the 23. Disterhaupt was thrown for a seven yard loss. Disterhaupt ran a counter, but illegal procedure was followed by an interception by Charlie Kratz of an Adamczak pass at 8:42.
Marshall was helped on a drive as ML-WR was offsides. A pitch to Hilltopper Eric DeWitte was thrown for a big loss by Schmidt. Flaherty was thrown for a yard loss. On fourth-and-seven Szczyrbak made a solid play and the Rebels took over on downs on the 33 at 4:43.
Pender had a long run, but a hold brought it back. Pender got some of it back for third-and-10, but Adamczak threw his second interception on a pass over the middle as it went right into the arms of Marshall's Alex Davis.
Kratz was pushed back by Schmidt and the ball hogs. Disterhaupt chose to toss away an interception, thinking it was fourth down. Kratz was stopped by a herd with Moonen leading the way.
Disterhaupt hit the middle for four. Pender went left for a first. Disterhaupt broke free on the left side and took the sideline home for a 68-yard sprint. Moonen got the kick for 33-7. With 12.5 seconds on the clock, Marshall got one play after a very good squib kick or an on-side attempt by the Rebels.
Marshall got one first before turning it over on downs. Pender ran for a first to the 45 at 10:30 and Gassert hit the gut for four. Disterhaupt ran for a first and Pender followed with five. Disterhaupt ran for a first around the left side. Gassert got six. It was Pender with his second TD of the game as he went in from the 10. Moonen’s PAT was good for 40-7 to close out the scoring.
At 8:04 some of the defensive reserves got time in as Marshall was able to keep the ball until 3:53 but did not score. Jon Evenson and Moonen got some reps in the backfield and Alex Kenemore got a yard. An illegal procedure contributed to a Rebels punt. The punt was a good one and rolled to about the ten before Brett Hawkins made a gigantic hammer of a hit along the sideline. Marshall got one last play as Tyler Cummings carried and Jeremiah Chavez stopped.