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

By Al Rose
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Rebels down Gobblers


October 26, 2017

The Rebels showed great reliance and resolve and avenged one of last year’s losses as they put it all together to down the Gobblers. The 44-member MLWR varsity squad combined to play an excellent game of team football to earn an impressive 27-6 victory at Aitkin on Wednesday, October 18.

MLWR had a strong and coordinated effort on both sides of the ball to prove what its combined talents and abilities can accomplish as a team.

The Rebels had extra motivation to gain ground according to the complicated Quality Ranking Formula that helps determines seeding and the home-team advantage for first-round game of playoff action.

The 3-5 Rebels racked up 375 total yards, including 316 yards rushing.

The Rebels, who ran 67 plays and had 15 first downs were able to showcase an effective ground game that was free of lost fumbles or even mishandles. Additionally, MLWR had no passes intercepted and they eliminated the personal fouls.

Trent Juhl led the Rebels’ rushing game with 140 yards on 26 carries, including a one-yard TD run. Juhl added a two-point conversion run. Eil Werner had 95 yards on 15 carries, including a 15-yard TD run. Ian Coil, a senior co-captain, had the best game of his career. The second-season QB ran for a 40-yard TD and was 3-for-5 passing, including a 27-yard TD toss to Colton Little. Coil finished with 63 yards to be MLWR’s third leading rusher.

The MLWR defenders were not to be out-done and they showed up in full force for the second game in a row. The Rebels’ dynamic starters racked up six solo sacks as part of the fearsome defensive assault. Ryan Barrett had three solo sacks. Adam Dracicevich had two solo sacks. Aidan Szczyrbak had a solo strip-sack and an assisted sack on an extra point attempt. The Rebels had at least a half dozen tackles-for-loss.

Aitkin ran only 59 plays. The game was made even uglier for the Gobblers as they had five penalties for 45. Three of Aitkin’s flags were for personal fouls, including one aggravated Gobbler getting sent to the coop with a game disqualification. The Gobblers, with only 187 yards of total offense, ended up with a meager 79 yards rushing. Aitkin was able to add 7-for-13 passing for 108 yards to help muster 12 first downs.

MLWR’s first score came on a first-quarter nine-play, 69-yard drive. Werner converted a fourth-and-four situation and followed it up with a 15-yard TD. Juhl added the two-point conversion run for 8-0 at 8:50.

The Gobblers were able to answer in the second quarter. Aitkin completed a pass for a fourth-down conversion. The Gobblers got their only score of the game as they were able to complete a fourth-and-goal five-yard TD pass from Quinn Miller to Owen Miller to finish an eight-play, 44-yard drive. Szczyyrbak and crew stormed through and sacked QB Miller on an attempted draw to swamp a two-point effort to keep it 8-6 at 8:46.

An eight-yard tackle for loss by Dragicevich prompted a 22-yard three-and-out punt. Coil faked a handoff, went left on a bootleg and ran down the sideline for a one-play, first-down 40-yard TD run. The PAT kick was missed, but MLWR was up 14-6 with 3:52 remaining before the break.

Logan Peterson stormed in to block a punt for a 20-yard loss to the Gobblers with 57 seconds left before the break. Coil artfully tossed a high touch pass for Little to leap high and grab the ball over tight coverage right at the goal line. Little used an athletic and acrobatic move to make the defender miss while dodging inside the left pylon. Werner was stopped on the two-point try, but MLWR had a bunch momentum with a 20-6 lead at 38.7 before halftime.

Aitkin received, but it would be the Rebels racking up one more TD. The Gobblers had a fumble fly away for a huge loss as Kosloski chased it about 15 yards and recovered. MLWR converted a fourth-and-six situation on a very well-disguised counter-reverse to Anakin Oswald. Juhl drove the final yard to finish a methodical 14-play, 62-yard march. Danny Lilya held and Carter Johnson kicked the PAT for 27-6 at 5:04.

The fourth quarter was scoreless as a 39-yard field goal was missed. Bo Moffett got his longest playing time of the year on defense, Louis Gourd had a quarterback sack and the reserves ended the game by making Quinn Miller pay for a first-down run with a gang tackle.

Coach Louzek gathered the team in tight for a post-game talk. “We talked about this at Week One. Now it is playoff time. This is what we play for. We told you then that you are a section-final team. We told you that you had the ability and the talent. You did the work. We can play as long as we want to play. We will need more than four or six of you to do this. We need all 44 of you. You will get more confident and you will have fun. We have it rolling. It will keep rolling as long as you want it to,” stated the coach.


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