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

By Al Rose
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

MLWR edged out in heartbreaker


Al Rose

Moose Lake/Willow River Rebel Bryceton Butkiewicz has three touchdowns in the quarterfinal game against United North Central October 31 in Brainerd.

The Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels were edged out 21-20 in a heartbreaking loss to the United North Central Warriors in the state Class AA quarterfinal game played at Brainerd on Saturday, October 31. The Rebels led 20-6 in the second quarter, but the Warriors got a score and a conversion to close the gap to 20-14 and to shift the momentum before shutting out MLWR in the second half.

Bryceton Butkiewicz, who came into the game with 1,216 yards rushing, scored all three Rebels touchdowns. The junior had 101 first quarter yards and had 147 yards at halftime, but only ran the ball six times in the second half and ended up with 177 yards to finish his junior year with 1,391 rushing yards. Butkiewicz also had a fumble recovery on a ball punched out by Isaac Riihilouma who had just returned to action. Senior Thomas Hansen ran for 135 yards and converted on one of MLWR's three attempts for points after.

The Warriors' quarterback, Tom Tellers, threw for 152 yards and had 84 yards rushing, including runs for two of UNC's scores and a conversion. James Clark kicked what would end up being the game-winner. United North Central got its first score from Kirby Hrdicka.

The Rebels had 18 first downs as compared to 13 first downs for the Warriors. UNC had four penalties while MLWR had five penalties. The Warriors survived three turnovers as the Rebels cashed in on only one of UNC's turnovers. The Rebels had just one turnover on a late-game halfback pass attempt.

The Rebels kicked off and UNC was able to draw first blood with a seven-play drive that covered 65 yards ending with Hrdicka taking a left pitch for a four-yard TD. The Warriors tried a bit of trickery on a fake kick, but the toss to the left corner was too high and long for the intended receiver and it was 6-0 at 9:25.

MLWR answered quickly with three plays that covered 53 yards capped off by Butkiewicz taking a left pitch for a 34-yard TD. Hansen was denied on the two-point conversion attempt and it was tied 6-6 at 8:23.

Facing third and long following a penalty for too many players in the huddle, Tellers launched a long pass to Thane Dailey by the right pylon, but Joe Weidendorf made a spectacular play to avoid interference and to out-muscle the receiver for a pass interception at the three yard line at 6:34.

The Rebels worked hard to march down the field and after 13 plays Butkiewicz ran the middle left for an 18-yard TD. Butkiewicz was denied on a left pitch and it was a 12-6 lead for MLWR with 34 left in an action packed first quarter.

United North Central went three-and-out.

The Rebels promptly took care of business with a 69-yard 14-play drive that culminated with Butkiewicz taking a left pitch for a four yard TD and Hansen converted on a right pitch for a 20-6 spread for MLWR at 4:57.

The Warriors responded by going on a long 14-play 66-yard drive of their own, ending with Tellers going through the middle for a five-yard score. Tellers followed up with the conversion up the middle for 20-14 and a momentum shift with 11 seconds before the break.

The Rebels received, but were unable to sustain a drive and were forced to punt.

The Warriors began a drive from the 38 that covered 62 yards on nine plays and ended with Tellers on a one-yard quarterback keeper. Clark's kick was high and straight through for 21-20, Warriors at 4:50.

The fourth quarter began with the Rebels converting a 4th-and-1 and getting a first down by Hansen to the 17, but two plays later Hansen lost four and a hold moved the Rebels the wrong way to the 29. Hansen was able to make it 3rd-and-21 and Wyatt Lampel, on a strong middle run, made it 4th-and 11. Hansen was held short on a run right and the Warriors took over on downs at their own 11.

After a couple of first downs and time starting to tick away, it appeared that Tellers and Clark had hooked up for a clinching TD, but a block in the back brought it back to the 19. The Rebels defense got the ball back when Teller went left, Riihilouma knocked the ball loose and Butkiewicz recovered on the two at 6:50.

MLWR went three-and-out and Alex Tackett had to punt from the end zone at 5:14.

Just three plays later Teller coughed it up again with Chet Morgan on the recovery on the 16 at 3:40.

Facing 4th-and-12, Butkiewicz attempted a halfback pass intended for Tanner Ramirez, but Aaron Hrdicka made it around in front for the interception on the 44 at 1:35.

The Warriors ran down the clock with a couple of runs by Teller and a long snap to Teller for the knee.

Senior lineman Rex Janke had his best game this season with seven solo tackles and one assist. MLWR's second leading tackler, sophomore Dilon Louzek, had six tackles and one assist. Hansen had five tackles and one assist. Senior Ramirez had five tackles. Rebels leader in tackles, junior Joe Weidendorf, had three tackles, one assist and a pass interception. Senior Luke Branson had two tackles and two assists. Senior Chet Morgan had two tackles, one assist and a fumble recovery. Senior Craig Nelson had two tackles and a quarterback sack. Junior Isaac Riihilouma caused a fumble and junior Butkiewicz recovered a fumble.


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