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

By Al Rose
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Rebels bounce back to beat Hawks


The Class AA Rebels showed resilience and resolve as they bounced back from recent hard times and beat the Class AAAA Hawks 37-24 in Hermantown on Wednesday, October 19. The impressive display of effort and execution righted the Rebels ship and ended the regular season on a high note to get back to an even-keeled 4-4 record.

The victory helped the Rebels earn the fourth seed to get a home field opening round playoff game against the fifth-seeded 6-2 Rush City Tigers.

MLWR rushers ran roughshod over the opposition and chewed up 481 yards of Hermantown grass. Bryceton Butkiewicz’s efforts netted his highest production of the season as he ran for 239 yards on 18 carries with four touchdowns. Butkiewicz also ran for a two-point conversion. Isaac Riihiluoma rushed for 190 yards on 18 carries and he had one TD and one two-point conversion run. Joe Weidendorf ran for a two-point conversion. Danny Lilya held and Gabriele Incarbone kicked a PAT.

The Rebels had 16 first downs while Hermantown had 14 first downs. The Hawks kept the penalties down to five for 30 yards. After having recently decreased infractions, MLWR penalties were back to being problematic at 10 for 75 yards.

The Rebels turned the ball over once on downs after two blocks in the back. MLWR punted only once in the game and that was in the fourth quarter with the Rebels leading by 13 points. Hermantown had one turnover on a fumble in the first quarter. The Hawks had their fate sealed with a second turnover on a pass intercepted by Riihiluoma with under four minutes left to play.

The Rebels defense started out stout and shut down the Hawks for a three-and-out. MLWR moved with a pair of first downs. Butkiewicz reached inside the pylon, but fumbled in the endzone. Although it was ruled to still be a TD, a flag had been tossed for a block in the back. A second block in the back soon ensued. Three passes went incomplete and the Hawks took over on downs.

MLWR’s defense stepped it right back up and forced Hermantown into another three-and-out. The Rebels worked from their own 22-yard line and took advantage of good run by Butkiewicz with a five-yard facemask tacked on. MLWR had two more first downs during the five-play 78-yard drive, including a long run by Riihiluoma to the 17-yard line. Butkiewicz took it from there for a TD. Riihiluoma took a left pitch for the conversion and 8-0 at 2:10.

The Rebels encroached once and Hermantown got one first down. John Kackinske got a QB sack and the Hawks fumbled on the next play and Weidendorf recovered on Hermantown’s 40-yard line with 15 seconds left.

MLWR cashed in on eight plays to go 40 yards with Butkiewicz scoring from three yards out. With Butkiewicz getting jammed up in the middle, he made a heads-up play to pitch it way out on the right side to Weidendorf to salvage the conversion run for 16-0 at 9:19.

Hermantown was able to answer as they took advantage of a pair of MLWR five-yard infractions and three first downs to drive 65 yards on eight plays. Jake Hausmann’s one-yard plunge and his two-point run made it 16-8 at 6:01.

Despite a pair of holds, the Rebels worked for three first downs prior to Butkiewicz bouncing left and breaking free for a 35-yard TD romp to cap off an 11-play 63-yard drive. Butkiewicz went behind a huge block for the two-point conversion and 24-8 at 2:06.

The Hawks were able to get a pair of first downs, but Kackinske and Sam Coil converged for a quarterback sack and Riihiluoma batted a bomb away on the left side to close the half.

MLWR received to start the second half and struck quickly by going 83 yards on just four plays with Butkiewicz dashing 60 yards down the right sideline for his fourth TD. Lilya held and foreign exchange student Incarbone put the PAT kick through for 31-8.

Hermantown answered with an 11-play 64-yard drive that included four first downs and ended with Caden Potter getting a three-yard TD. Andy Hooper caught a two-point pass in the right corner from TJ Gamradt for 31-16 at 4:52.

The Rebels fired right back and it took only 50 seconds and required just three plays with one first down to go 80 yards with Riihiluoma taking a pitch and galloping 25 yards for a TD. The PAT kick was blocked, but MLWR was riding a 37-16 lead at 4:02.

Despite a pair of penalties and Kackinske’s second solo QB sack, the Hawks were able to grind it out on 13 plays, concluding with Hausmann scoring from five yards out. Hausmann got the conversion run for 37-24 at 8:47 of the last quarter.

MLWR got one first down, but a hold led to the drive fizzling and to the Rebels punting for the first time in the game. Weidendorf, with the third best punting average in the area at 37.1 yards, got a good boot, bounce and roll for a 35-yarder at 5:24.

Hermantown had a hold and soon suffered its second turnover as Riihiluoma stepped in front and easily intercepted a 3rd-and-14 pass attempt with 3:52 left to play on the Hawks 38-yard line.

The Rebels moved with a pair of first downs and advanced all the way to the three-yard line before calling time out. Fan favorite Bo Moffett played quarterback and took a snap and a knee.

According to a MLWR tradition after a road victory, the team grabbed up some grass to take home and plant as the Rebels celebrated a very uplifting and confidence-building win. The Rebels headed into the playoffs with renewed energy and important momentum.

Weidendorf, the Rebels leading tackler for the season, had an outstanding game as he had racked up 16 solo stops, five assists and he had one fumble recovery. Dilon Louzek had four solos and four assists. Kackinske had five solos tackles, including two solo QB sacks and he had one assisted sack and one assisted tackle. Anakin Oswald, Logan Peterson and Aidan Szczyrbak each had three solos and three assists. Sam Coil had four solos and an assist on a QB sack. Ryan Barrett and Remington Starck each had two solos and three assists. Butkiewicz had three solos.


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