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

By Al Rose
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Game on!

MLWR wins Section 7AA semi-final


November 2, 2017

Dan Lingle

Rebel Anakin Oswald ran for 70 yards, including three fourth-down conversions and three touchdowns.

The third-seeded 5-4 Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels racked up 450 rushing yards and had 20 first downs with no fumbles on the way to overwhelming the second-seeded 7-2 Barnum Bombers by a score of 48-6 in Section 7AA semi-final action at Esko on Saturday, October 28.

Barnum, with an inspiring turnaround from last year’s 1-8 record, simply could not contend with the combination of MLWR’s steadily improving ground game and a defense that continues to grow in its intensity and effectiveness that held the Bombers to six first downs.

The Rebels pounded Esko’s artificial turf for successive scoring drives of 65 yards on 13 plays with four first downs, 90 yards on 14 plays with three first downs, 66 yards on 11 plays with three first downs, 72 yards on six plays with two first downs, 61 yards on 13 plays with four first downs and 66 yards on eight plays with three first downs.

The game, that took two and one-half hours, was very tightly officiated as 25 penalties were called with nine on Barnum for 70 yards and 16 on MLWR for 115 yards, including three and six holds, respectively. Eight of the nine holds were called in the first half.

Rebel Trent Juhl, with 185 yards on 23 carries, grew his ground gaining for the third game in a row. Juhl had two fourth-down conversions and a 12-yard TD run. Colton Little had 89 yards on just six carries as he broke free for a 57-yard touchdown sprint. Anakin Oswald, with 70 yards on 14 carries, contributed three fourth-down conversions and three touchdowns on successive runs of one, two and 20 yards. Jeremiah Weidendorf had a 34-yard TD run.

The defense put one TD on the board. Adam Dragicevich punched a ball out to cause a fumble as Barnum drove to the four-yard line. Ryan Barrett recovered and raced away with a 95-yard scoop-and-score TD. Other MLWR defensive leaders were Dakota Fredrick, with two QB sacks, Aidan Szczyrbak with one sack and Little with one pass interception.

Ian Coil went 2-for-4 passing for 21 yards. Dragicevich had one 12-yard first-down catch. Little caught one pass for nine yards. The PAT twosome of Danny Lilya and Carter Johnson went 4-for-5 with Quinn Casey blocking one attempt.

Casey also had three tackles-for-loss. Jordan Sieckert had two QB sacks. Jared Haley had one QB sack.

Junior co-captain and quarterback, Tyler Nynas, led Barnum with 47 yards rushing on nine carries. Nynas kept at it with keeps, draws and option-sweeps throughout the game. Nynas went 5-for-12 passing for 68 yards, including one interception. Kyle Kielty had one 29-yard first-down reception. Blaze Hurst caught two for 25 yards. Jared Haley had one catch for nine yards.

It was Nynas who energized and spearheaded a 16-play, 61-yard drive in the fourth quarter. Nynas ran for two of the three first-downs during the drive and he made one first-down pitch to Anthony Robinson. Nynas spun and twisted with extra efforts for about nine yards to set up his fourth-down, one-yard TD plunge. Nynas was stopped on the two-point try, but Barnum had avoided a shut-out for 33-6 at 10:50 of the fourth quarter.

Dan Lingle

Bomber Anthony Robinson tries to snake around the Rebels defense.

The former bitter rivals showed mutual consideration and respect with the game all but over and MLWR leading 46-6 with 53 seconds left to play. The Rebels, with 12 consecutive wins and having not lost to Barnum since 1998, appropriately attempted to lessen a lot of old animosities as a certain piece of crockery did not make an appearance.

The Bombers displayed outstanding sportsmanship and courtesy by cooperating to allow Bo Moffett the thrill of his football career. There was no trick, but rather quite a treat as the junior running back went on a jaunt around the right side to join the brotherhood of Rebels’ scorers with a two-point conversion.

The 5-5 Rebels will likely have a tough task at hand as they take on last year’s Section 7AA champion, 8-1 Royalton. The championship showdown is back at Esko at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 2.


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