After a great potluck meal, all the Rebels football players holding tongue depressors with four by six pictures of their beloved coach greeted Head Coach Dave Louzek. “It makes me a little nervous to see my picture on all these sticks here,” joked the coach.
“It really is overwhelming,” Louzek said. “It’s a lot of attention. These kids really worked hard to get the attention and respect. They deserve it. They are great at community service and are good sports on the field. They help support each other. They work hard to earn that respect. They appreciate it and they do not take it for granted.”
Louzek launched into thank yous. “Thank you to the ambulance crew,” Louzek said. “It’s a great service that is appreciated. It’s an important service. Thanks to Kuhlman’s Laundromat for washing our practice and game uniforms and to Ms. Kuhlman for keeping them in good repair. For all the washing and folding and repairs and also to Mrs. Lois Johnson for sewing. Thanks to Al Rose and Jack Halverson for all the coverage in the newspapers this last year and to the radio stations and TV channels.”
Louzek continued, “Those week to week spaghetti suppers are a great thing to have and a lot of work goes into those. We thank all those who donated time, money and effort to make those happen. The parents who work those are appreciated, as are those who donated money, supplies and snacks. We thank the Pep Club who makes all those signs. Again our kids deserve this as they helped out with bingo, grocery bagging and the city wide garage sale.
“It’s a ton of work to put those great scrapbooks together and to assemble,” Louzek said. "The kids appreciate these now and they will in 10 to 20 years from now. They take a lot of money to put them together. They will be appreciated for years to come.
“A special thank you to all our fans and friends who came to see our games," Louzek said. “It’s always something to look into the stands and see more Rebels fans at away games than the home team has. A special thank you goes out to anyone I might have missed. You are appreciated.”
Louzek paused to compose himself. “Thank you to my family,” he choked out. “It is very essential to me. It’s difficult to not be able to spend the time I would like to spend with my wife, Kristen, and son and daughter and mom and dad. I couldn’t expect the kids to make the kind of sacrifices they do unless I’m willing to make that sacrifice myself. It’s necessary to be a State level team. It’s necessary for me to do what I expect of them. We used this to accomplish what we did this year and it will be necessary to do what we will accomplish next year.”
Rebel videographer Rory Butkiewicz received a plaque for all the work he does putting the games together, editing and getting them on the local access TV station along with all the locker room footage and end zone halftime footage not otherwise seen. “It’s great to see the behind the scenes,” said Butkiewicz. “I can tell you they are the same kind of team behind the scenes as they are on the football field. It’s a class act.” Scott Anderson also received a plaque for his work with the football game web-cast. Sue Anderson received recognition for a great job as the Rebels “ball girl,” for how she always had the football ready for the referees. Sami Bednar was the Rebels’ athletic trainer along with Chris Ketchmark. Bednar is heading off to North Dakota or. She is taking up athletic training.
Louzek presented Tom Brabec, the Rebels’ announcer, with a plaque and said, “You are not allowed to retire. Louzek mentioned how other coaches have commented how fair Brabec is in announcing both sides of the game.
Louzek talked about his assistant coaches. “I have no fears of how they will run their practices when we break down into groups,” he said. “I know our goal will be to get faster and stronger. We have to do that to be State level. Our goal is to do that every year. We want to continuously play at a State level. Kevin Szczyrbak is intensely passionate about football. He did a great job for us on our D-line. James Bohaty decided that since he is now head assistant he could spend the last snowy and cold day in the car on that one particularly nasty day when a sticky and windy, wet storm came through.
“The rest of our coaches are Andy Dahl, Tony Andres, Matt Hosmer, Scott Battaglia and Wes Cummins. They all did a great job for us. Our managers did a great job for us, too. We never had to worry about having water bottles filled, who was going to do stats or who was going to shoot film from the booth. We have the Cisars and the Johnsons now, just how we used to have the Zuks,” Louzek added.
Section and State medals were presented to all the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Each player who completed the entire season also earned a letter.
Louzek called the co-captains forward. The coach said that everything Jake Christopherson and Jake Disterhaupt did in handling the team - in and out of the locker room and out on the field - was appropriate. He also commented that they handled chippy play by other teams well and how they addressed officials was appropriate. Christopherson received the Offensive Line MVP Award. Disterhaupt took home the Overall Award for Offensive and Defensive MVP. Furthermore, Disterhaupt received the following awards: Duluth News Tribune Player of the Year Award (two years in a row with the only other ML-WR player to do that being Nate Zuk. Also, he almost broke Matt Hillbrandt’s all-time Rebel rushing mark), All-State Honorable Mention, Minnesota Vikings All-State Award (presented to only 30 players - all classes combined), and a finalist for the Mr. Football Award.
Please see next week’s issue for the continuation of the Rebels awards.