By Al Rose
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Rebels squash Spectrum Sting


Although Spectrum was able to penetrate the Rebels vaunted defense enough to strike twice, MLWR ended up squashing the Sting 36-12 in Moose Lake on Friday, September 9. The Rebels improved to 1-0 in Northeast Blue Division play and 2-0 overall. Spectrum went to 0-2 after getting edged 20-16 by Concordia Academy last week.

The Rebels shared the scoring wealth among five players. Bryceton Butkiewicz had two touchdown runs and he added a two-point conversion run. Anakin Oswald ran for one TD and he had a two-point conversion run. Isaac Riihiluoma had one long touchdown sprint. Riihiluoma paced the Rebels' relentless ground game with 181 rushing yards. Joe Weidendorf had one touchdown run. Junior quarterback Isaac Coil ran for a two-point conversion.

Sophomore Fisher Marberg, who was listed as a wide receiver, had both of the Sting’s touchdown runs.

Each team had 11 first downs. MLWR had nine penalties for 81 yards, including one illegal block that moved a pass interception returned by Butkiewicz to MLWR’s 35 yard line back 26 yards to the nine yard line. The Rebels had one questionable 15-yarder for a defensive chop block, three defensive offsides, one hold and three illegal procedures. Spectrum had five penalties for 25 yards with four for illegal procedures and one for an illegal substitution.

After the Sting went three-and-out and punted, the Rebels scored on their first possession. It was a quick strike that took only three plays to cover 65 yards and happened with Butkiewicz cutting back left for a 40-yard jaunt. The two-point try by Butkiewicz was denied, but MLWR was up 6-0 at 8:17 of the first frame.

MLWR’s next score would come early in the second stanza following a seven-play 65 yard drive. Weidendorf plowed through the middle for a three yard TD. Coil kept around the right side and got the two-point conversion behind a good block by junior tight end Thomas Gulso for 14-0 at 10:03.

After taking over on downs, the Rebels worked from the Sting’s 40 yard line at 11:11. After only four plays Riihiluoma broke left and sprinted for a 51 yard TD. An attempted pass for points was picked off by Spectrum for a dead ball interception, but MLWR had a 20-0 lead at 9:24.

Spectrum was able to answer after a long kick return down the left side that junior defensive back Colton Little chased down and tackled to save a touchdown at the Rebels' 25 yard line. Three plays later, it was Marberg running it in from 12 yards out. The Rebels stopped the run for points for 20-6 at 7:35.

MLWR answered right back with a solid 10-play drive that covered 62 yards and included four first downs. After Oswald ran to the nine yard line and then to within a foot of paydirt, he got the call again and went through the left middle for a one yard TD. Oswald hit the right middle for the two-point conversion and the Rebels were up 28-6 at 2:22 of the third quarter.

Spectrum was able to work for 4th-and-4 at the Rebels' 19 yard line, but a pass with no receiver in proximity was an easy pass interception for Butkiewicz at about the five yard line. Although Butkiewicz returned the pick to the Rebels' 35 yard line, an illegal block brought it back 26 yards to the nine yard line. MLWR ran one play as the quarter wound down.

It would take the Rebels just six plays to go 91 yards and it culminated with Butkiewicz scoring easily on the right side from 12 yards out. Butkiewicz trotted in untouched around the right side for the two-point conversion and 36-6 at 9:54 of the final frame.

Spectrum put together a strong drive of their own as they used 11 plays, including four first downs, to go 67 yards. A very stout Spencer Maas was stood up and shoved back a yard by sophomore defensive lineman Aidan Szczyrbak from the one yard line to the two yard line, but Marberg scored his second touchdown of the game on the next play. A Sting speedster was chased down before the pylon on the right side by Szczyrbak and junior defensive end Austin Schwarzbauer and it stayed 36-12 at 2:28.

There was no further scoring despite MLWR’s senior defensive back Hunter Klund recovering an on-side kick right at midfield and the Rebels marching fast down the field, including Oswald getting two first downs to the Sting’s 15 yard line as time ran out.

Weidendorf led the defense with a combined total of 11 solo and assisted tackles. Szczyrback had a combined seven stops. Junior defensive end Dakota Fredrick had three solo tackles, including two quarterback sacks. Butkiewicz had three solo tackles and a pass interception. Riihiluoma blocked a pass and added a couple of stops.

The Class AA 2-0 Rebels play the Class AAA Northeast Blue Division rival 0-2 Eskomos at Esko on Friday, September 16, at 7 p.m.

Next up is MLWR hosting division foe Mora — a team that handed the Rebels one of their four losses last year — on Parents' Night Friday, September 23, in Willow River at 7 p.m.


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