Rebels suffer second-half shutout by Vikings
The Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels football team led 20-10 at halftime November 8, but they came out late, lost momentum and suffered a heartbreaking 31-20 loss as the 12-0 Minneota/Lincoln HI Vikings used a potent mix of pass and run and clock control to score 21 unanswered points to upset the 10-1 Rebels.
Jon Evenson scored two touchdowns — one on a shocking fumble return created by an Ezra Szczyrbak sack and strip and another on a long run around the left side as the Rebels were facing a 4th-and-1 situation. Josh Pettersen had ML/WR’s other score and David Moonen added a 2-point conversion.
Pettersen and Thomas Hansen set to receive the kick as ML/WR had won the toss, but an on-side kick was successful for the Vikings. A pass to the left side was incomplete with Alex Kenemore covering. A run left was 6 with Ike Pederson having to come up. A middle was met by Josh Leonard. A left side pass was called a catch, although it appeared to be bobbled as the receiver was driven out. A counter got the Vikings to the 8 with Moonen stopping. A pass to the right middle was in and out of the receiver's hands. A pass down the middle was way too high. On 4th-and-8, the Viking elected to go for a field goal and it went straight through by Viking Diego Meza-Palmer at 9:55 for a 3-0 lead for Minneota.
Rebel Dylan Lovegreen returned a short kick. Moonen ran for 8 and Lovegreen followed for a 1st to the 48. Pettersen was held to 3 in the middle. Evenson took a toss left for 2. Lovegreen plowed for a couple in the middle. On 4th-and-1, with the Rebels set to go for it, a false start hurt. Moonen came up just short and the Vikings took over on downs on the 43, at 6:47.
A right run was nothing and a pass was batted back into the quarterback’s hands by Szczyrbak and Hunter Herzog. Charlie Adamczak threw the play for a loss of 7. A pass was incomplete down the left middle and the Vikings punted to Hunter Halverson who got a couple on the return at 5:10. Lovegreen went left for an immediate 1st. Moonen got a yard and Lovegreen hit the middle for 3. Pettersen went left for large yards to the 13 with only one man to beat. Moonen ran the middle for a 1st to the 2. It was Pettersen getting the call and the score at 1:38. Lovegreen appeared to have gotten the ball across the goal on the 2-point try, but it was called no good and the Rebels had a slim 6-3 lead.
Adamczak and the Rebels tried a very good attempt at a on-side kick, but the Vikings were able to cover it. A middle run was met by Leonard and Jeremiah Chavez. A middle was a 1st with J.J. Sayler having to stop. A left screen got 5 and a pass left was complete. A middle run was a 1st to complete an exciting and well-played first quarter.
A middle run was 3 against Moonen. A pass was broken by Pederson, but a counter from 8 yards out by Viking Cole Hennen was good through the left middle and the kick was good for 10-6, Vikings, at 11:11.
Lovegreen got a good return to the 40. A flag flew for a false start. Evenson went right for 2. A pass deep down the right side found the receivers getting tangled up and a no call. The punt by Brad Fossum rolled to the 35 at 9:23.
A right run was held to a yard by Milan Dragicevich. Kenemore covered well on a pass left and the run was short of a 1st as Evenson handled his duties. The punt was high and short to the 41.
Moonen ran for 3-and-6. Moonen ran the middle, but just short of a 1st on the measurement. With a great ball fake by Fossum, it appeared to be a middle run, but it was Evenson almost all alone with just a man to beat on the left side. It turned into a 47 yard sprint for a TD. The 2-point counter was good by Moonen and the Rebels had regained the lead at 14-10 with 6:41 on the clock.
Adamczak kicked. Szczyrbak held two runs to a total of 2. A pass over the middle was dropped with Dragicevich covering. The punt was left alone and rolled to the 25 at 5:06.
A pass to Kody Gerard was incomplete on the left side and a middle run by Pettersen was 3. A beautiful pass deep down the middle was a great catch by Pederson against tight coverage for a 1st to the 45. Moonen was tossed for a loss of 1 and Lovegreen got just 1 on a middle run. On 4th-and-7 the Rebels punted to the 22 at 1:55.
A middle run was contained to some extent by Gerard and Pederson, but a screen right was a 1st. Szczyrbak put a big rush on a pass. A middle run was a tackle by Chavez but a face mask flag flew. Szczyrbak and Leonard each planted the quarterback hard and he limped off with the Vikings calling time at :43 with the ball on the 38. A new quarterback took his turn and suffered disaster as Szczyrbak sacked him and the ball flew out. Evenson was there to pick it up and gallop for a 38-yard shocker. Lovegreen was stopped short on the 2, but ML/WR was up 20-10 with under a minute to play.
The starting quarterback was back at the helm and ran for a 1st and the Vikings called time. A pass left was complete and out of bounds at :13.7. A pass left was out of bounds to the 42. The QB kept for 6 and one good run followed to end the half with the Rebels heading with a seemingly decent lead and important momentum at 20-10.
The Rebels were late onto the field to start the third quarter and suffered a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct call and kicked from the 25. The return was to the 45, the next one for 5, but a final run was a 40 yard TD for Viking Nathan Pavek. Although the kick failed, the Vikings shifted the momentum and were down just 20-16 at only 11:12.
ML/WR was offside on the kick and Pettersen returned to just the 20; Moonen ran for 3 and followed by getting blanked and then with very little. Fossum punted from 15 and it rolled to the 46.
A run right was 8 before Brett Hawkins stopped. A first down run prompted a Rebels time out. A pass was down the left side with Pederson on the coverage. A middle run gained a few. A pass left was a 1st. Gerard and others were in on a loss and Minneota false started back to the 33. A pass to the right was complete, but a pass to the left was over the receiver’s head. A pass to the 10 was chased down by Pederson. No gain came at the 6 and a pass was incomplete, Pavek ran to the 3 with Pederson stopping, but on the next play it was back to the pass and it was good from Viking Austin Buysse to Hennen. The kick was good by Meza-Palmer for 23-20, Vikings, at 4:02.
A low liner was returned by Pettersen to the 23. Moonen got just 1 on a counter. Lovegreen’s forward progress was measured at the 33. Evenson got a good run on the right side for the 1st to the 47. Evenson was held to no gain and Moonen was able to fight to just the 42. On 3rd-and-5, the Rebels tried to pass, but Fossum was under pressure and his pass was intercepted to foil the drive.
A run left came with just under three minutes left in the third quarter and a run right ended the quarter with a 1st for Minneota. A left run was 2, a middle run was hammered by Szczyrbak, but the pass was complete to the 43. A middle run appeared to be stopped by a good tackle by Chavez, but it was flagged for the short version of face masking. Eight came on the right side and the Rebels called time as the quarter neared its close.
A run left went to inside the 15 for a 1st with Evenson shaken up. A run got it to the 10 with Chavez tackling. A run left was only a yard for 3rd-and-6 from the 8. A little toss right from Viking Buysse to Nicholas Esping was good for the TD. The kick was no good, but the Rebels were flagged for roughing the kicker and the 2-point came by Pavek for 31-20 at 8:27.
Lovegreen took the kick to the 32. Fossum’s pass to Pederson was dropped. Fossum rolled way left and got off a decent pass for Gerard, but the defender was there just in time to knock it away as Gerard nearly made a spectacular catch. A pass was short and incomplete and the Rebels punted at 7:46.
A run right was good for 6 and a 1st followed in the middle to the 43. A run left was only 3 against Hawkins and a run middle was only 2 with Adamczak, Chavez and Lovegreen stopping. The Vikings called time at 3:39 and a quarterback sneak got the important 1st. A run up the middle was 3. A false start was on Minneota. Leonard tossed a run for a loss of 2 and a run left was drilled by Lovegreen for a loss of 4. The Rebels called time at 1:36. The punt was downed at the 19 and a penalty came for personal foul on the Rebels to be backed up to the 9.
A pass to Gerard was incomplete on the left side. A pass to Pederson on the right was good for a 1st. A pass to Pederson was incomplete. Fossum was sacked back to the 8. Evenson ran left to 5 to end the game.
The Rebels, with eight consecutive section championships, will have most of the backfield back next season in the persons of Fossum, Pettersen and Moonen, plus 13 other seniors. It will likely be another very good year for Moose Lake/Willow River and their very loyal fans.