The Class AA Moose Lake-Willow River had to come back out after a one-hour lightning delay, to score 24 unanswered third-quarter points to overcome a big 20-0 halftime deficit and to shock the Class AAAA Hermantown Hawks by a score of 24-20 in Willow River on Thursday, August 29. The game, resumed at 10:20 p.m., did not end until 11 p.m.
The Rebels preserved their records which now stand at 55, 41 and 25 games for season, home field and non-conference games, respectively.
The Rebels did not have the services of their 1,100 Pound Club member, speedy Jon Evenson who was sidelined with a hip injury.
However, the speed of Josh Pettersen and the power of Dylan Lovegreen added up to take care of business after the delay.
It was Lovegreen scoring first for ML-WR on a five-yard run. With David Moonen scoring the two-point conversion, the Rebels began their rally at 20-8.
Pettersen had TD runs of 16 and 65 yards. Lovegreen added both two-point conversions for the final 24-20 tally. The fourth frame was scoreless.
The Rebels received and Pettersen returned left to the 30, but had no gain on the right side.
Pettersen hit the middle to the 36 for 3rd-4, but Alex Kenremore was tossed for a yard loss in the middle. Quarterback Brad Fossum, also handling the punting duties, got off a beauty that rolled all the way to the Hawks 8 at 9:57.
The Hawks showed they had come to play, with an immediate first down as JJ Saylor had to tackle from his safety spot. A run left was good for four yards with Moonen making the stop.
Jeremiah Chavez put quite a hit on Casey Ehnes. A pass attempt saw a good rush by the Rebels and Hermantown had to punt it away at 8:10.
Kenemore got only a yard left to the 49. Pettersen hit the middle for 4. Pettersen went right all the way to the 20 for a first at 6:30.
Milan Dragicevich ran the middle for a yard and the Hawks called time out at 5:41. It appeared the Rebels were set to score as Dragicevich ran to inside the 5.
Pettersen went right, but as he neared the pylon and reached it was ruled he had fumbled into the endzone and by rule it was called a touchback.
A run left was fumbled, but recovered by the Hawks and for a first down. A middle run was swamped by Ezra Szczyrbak and Chavez for a loss to 2 to the 31. Szczyrbak put a big rush on a pass attempt.
On a roll left, Hawks quarterback, Kole Zuidmulder, was able to launch one way down field into triple coverage and the Hermantown receiver was able to come down with it at the 25 for a first down at 3:30. A run left netted five with Hunter Herzog tackling. Zuidmulder kept left for a first for first and goal to within a ball length away.
A plunge right by Ehnes was good for 6-0. The kick was low and blocked and it stayed 6-0 at with less than a minute to play in the quarter.
Pettersen returned the kick from near to 10 to the 20. Kenemore took a left pitch for 4. A counter by Thomas Hansen looked good for a first to the 28 at 11:18 of the second stanza. Lovegreen pounded for a first down. Lovegreen got 2 for 2nd and 8.
Moonen was tossed for a loss of 1. A pass to Kody Gerard was nearly caught. Facing 3rd and 11, and pass to Pettersen on the right was incomplete and the Hawks took over on downs at 9:19.
Moonen made a nice stop on the right side for a loss of 1. A fumble ensued and the Rebels recovered as Josh Leonard got credit for covering the pigskin.
Moonen fumbled well ahead and the ball went all the to the Hermantown endzone with a mad chase for possession and a touchback.
Zach Royer hit a big hole on the right side for a first to the 40 at 8:12.
The Rebels were offside and called a time out. A keeper right was good for 2nd and 1 with Lovegreen stopping.
Ehnes made it third and inches and Royer picked up the first with Moonen and Chavez tackling at the 46 at 6:40. The Rebels jumped offsides again. A middle run for a first had to be stopped by Pettersen.
A run right was fumbled ahead, but the Hawks recovered for another first down and Hermantown called timeout at 5:19. Royer got free for a 23-yard scamper through the right middle.
The two-point pass attempt to Cade Zacharias as it was Szczyrbak on a another made rush, but the Hawks were up 12-0 at 5:12.
A short kick to Thomas Hansen was returned to the 28. Pettersen took a left pitch for a yard. A pass to Gerard was incomplete over the right middle.
A batted pass was caught by a Rebels lineman for loss of down and a five-yard infraction as not much was going ML-WR’s way.
It went from bad to worse as with Fossum standing to punt at about his won 15, it was blocked Hermantown, with two players going for it in the endzone , was unable to come up with the ball, but it was a safety for 14-0 inside the 4:30 mark of the second quarter plus the Rebels had to kick the ball back to Hawks.
Hermantown wasted little time scoring. A run right gained two against Moonen and Chavzez, gut Royer broke free to the 30 of the Rebels fora first at 3:36. Zuidmulder went right for another first. Ehnes went for 4 with Charlie Adamczak tackling. Royer went left with pass for 3rd and 6.
After a great fake up the middle, it was Zuidmulder heading untouched fora 13-yard and ML-WR was down 20-0. There was a fumble on the exchange for extra points, but the Hawks had flown to a 20-0 lead at 1:36.
Love green took the kick and returned it eight yards to the 33. Patterson ran a counter for two yards left. Fossum set to pass to Gerard, but was under big heat. Dragecivich ran for a first at 48.1 and MLWR called time.
Moonen was hit in the backfield and a pass to Kenemore was incomplete along the right side. Another pass down the right side was incomplete. A pass to Kenemore on the right side was complete, but short of the first down at :25.
Adamczak and Lovegreen were on the coverage on the kick to Royer to the 37. A right side run was balnked by Szczyrbak and Gerard. On third and 4, Zuidmulder went nowhere. Adamczak was on the attack with a good rush on a pass attempt. A fumbled snap resulted in a very poor kick and great field position for MLWR.
Moonen took a pitch right and cut the middle for a first to the 23. Kenemore got 3 on a pitch left to the 20. Pettersen went on a right run to just inside the 10 at 9:03.
Kenemore hit the middle to near the five. Lovegreen got the call in the middle and went in for the TD. Moonen took a right pitch for the two-point and the Rebels had rebounded to trail 20-8 at 8:38.
Adamczak’s line drive was returned to the35 with Bryceton Butkiewicz and Gerard tackling. A middle run went to near to 25, but the next middle run was only a yard with Szczyrbak on the stop.
A run was nothing with Herzog and Chavez tackling as the Rebels defense really stiffened. Szczyrbak put an exclamation on the stand with a huge sack fora big loss back to the 24 at 7:15 plus there was a five-yard penalty for 3rd and 17.
A handoff in the middle was handled by Szczyrbak and Adamczak. The punt was very high , but no very far at 6:03.
Moonen ran to the 20 on pitch right. Petterston cut and ran to the 16. And the Hakws called time at 5:21 and the referees put a stoppage to play due to lightning and the approaching storm.
As some fans scattered and went home to stay and other returned it would be the Rebels game the rest of the way when play resumed at 10:20 p.m.
Pettersen scored from 16 yards out and as Lovegreen added the two-point conversion run it was 20-16.
Later, it would be Patterson on a 65-yard shocker and Lovegreen on the two-point plunge to close out the scoring.
There was no scoring in the final frame, but a big play occurred when ML-WR’s Patterson recovered a fumble about midway through the period and the Rebels were able to run out the clock.
The Class AA Rebels had overcome a 20-0 halftime deficit to shut out the Class AAAA Hawks for the rest of the game and to come away with a hard-fought 24-20 victory. ML-WR had displayed a never-say-die mental toughness and their physical persistence had paid off.