Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Al Rose
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Backfield returns, team aims high


The Moose Lake/Willow River varsity football team is ready for this year's season.

The Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels football team, along with head coach Dave Louzek, now with eight conference titles under their belts, brings back almost all the backfield and will be aiming at the highest level again this year.

Louzek is in his 20th season with the Rebels program and has been head coach for 16 of those years. Last year's team was Great Polar White Division champs and section champs and ended with a record of 10-1.

"We lost six from offense and five from defense from last year. Our running backs return in Josh Pettersen and David Moonen and Brad Fossum is back at quarterback," said Louzek. "Milan Dragicevich and Thomas Hansen will play fullback and we will have Bryce Butkiewicz playing some wingback. Frankie White is our center. Guards Jeremiah Chavez and Josh Butterfield are returners. Tackles will be Sam Coil and Jake Blais. Kody Gerard is a starting end and we also have Charlie Adamczak at the other end."

Louzek listed his defense, "We have Sam Coil and Josh Butterfield as D-tackle. We are deep at D-tackle and we will also have Rex Janke, Jake Blais, Maverick Karksy, Brennen Sylvester and Alex Kenney there and that depth is a plus for us because we can keep fresh guys in. The D-ends will be Charlie and Kody along with Luke Branson and Wyatt Lampel. The linebackers on the inside will be Jeremiah and Bryceton and outside will be David Moonen and Milan with Thomas Hansen rotating in. The corners will be Isaac Riihiluoma and Josh Pettersen and the safety will be Brad Fossum."

Louzek discussed strengths. "That's our offensive backfield with returners and leaders in the huddle," he stated. "Another strength is our depth at D-tackle - being able to rotate guys in and keep them fresh and we have a strong group of linebackers. We are young on the offensive line so we will have to get more physical and our defensive backs are lacking experience. In the Great Polar White, Esko and Duluth Marshall will be tough. We had a good off-season in the weight room and out on the football field.

"Our captains are Jeremiah Chavez, Brad Fossum, David Moonen and Josh Pettersen. They, along with the rest of the seniors, are expected to lead this team in the locker room and in the huddle. Our yearly expectation is to win a section title and to then go on and to compete at the highest level with the goal to win a state title."

Rebels winning streak ends

The Rebels' 62-game regular season win streak ended at Hermantown by the narrowest of margins with a 25-24 loss on Thursday, August 28.

The Hawks scored first on a one-yard run by quarterback Kole Zuidmulder and Cody McShane added the kick for 7-0. The Rebels struck back in with an eight-yard run by Milan Dragicevich and took the lead at 8-7 heading into the second frame.

It was Zuidmulder on another one-yard run with the pass failing for the next score. Brad Fossum connected with Josh Pettersen on a 64-yard pass and run and Dragicevich added the 2-point. Zuidmulder answered with an eight-yard run and the pass failed. It was the Hawks up 19-16 at halftime.

The AA Rebels had the lone score of the third quarter as Bryceton Butkiewicz scored on the three-yard run and added the conversion points for 24-19, Rebels.

Zuidmulder got what would hold up to be the game-winning fourth TD of the game on a final one-yard run. With the pass failing, the AAAA Hawks held on for the 25-24 win.

The AA Rebels host the AAA Esko Eskomos on Friday, September 5 in Willow River at 7 p.m.


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