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

By Dewhouse
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Rebels head back to State


November 8, 2018

Jennifer Szczyrbak

The Moose Lake-Willow River Rebels defeated the Royalton Royals to secure the 7AA Championship title.

Last Thursday the MLWR Rebels took on the Royalton Royals in the section 7AA championship game. The Royals were looking for revenge with this game being a repeat of last year's championship game but the Rebels came out victorious again earning their 12th State tournament berth in the last 13 years.

Starting out the game was the Rebels kicking off to the Royals 35 yard line. The Rebels defense then stiffed Royalton and forced them to punt on a three and out. The punt was downed at the Rebel 37 yard line and MLWR started their first drive. They picked up a couple first downs running the ball but ended up punting it into a touchback. Rebel Adam Olson almost downed it at the one yard line but couldn't quite get to it. The Rebels stopped Royalton again and gained possession with the first quarter winding down.

The Rebels put together a nice drive with a combination of first down runs by brothers Trent and Blake Juhl plus senior Anakin Oswald. Trent had a nice 15-yard run to get them to the one yard line where they let the first quarter clock run out. Right away in the second quarter Anakin Oswald punched in the one yard touchdown run. Trent Juhl picked up the two point conversion. With 11 minutes left in the first half, the Rebels kicked off with a rough kick only making it to the Royalton 38 yard line. Royalton was penalized for five yards on the first play but then QB Suska made it up with a 10 yard scramble to make it third and five. However, Rebel Safety Tema Glushgov picked off a pass attempt to give MLWR the ball at their own 25 yard line. The rest of the first half consisted of failed drives and punts, with Royalton eventually taking a knee to finish out the half of football.

The Rebels started with the ball second half. Anakin Oswald and Blake Juhl both picked up first downs, and Trent Juhl also added in some yards to get the Rebels to the Royalton 28 yard line. Sophomore QB Mason Olson then threw the ball up to his favorite receiver Brady Watrin in the endzone, but Royalton snagged it, with Skriwa getting the pick for the Royals.

The Royals seemed to get some momentum from this play and began to drive down the field with Gottwalt catching a couple passes. However the Rebels defense quickly snuffed the flame while being led by Senior Captain Aidan Szczrybak and his crucial strip sack which Rebel Brody Hoffman recovered. The Rebels offense could not keep it going though and were forced to punt again. The Rebels then in turn forced Royalton to punt and got the ball all the way back at their own 20 yard line. The shotgun snap went over QB Mason Olson's head, and he recovered it all the way back on the five yard line to end the third quarter.

The Rebels started the fourth quarter with second and 25, five yards away from their own end zone and possibly a safety. They ended up punting from the back of the endzone and Royalton returned it to the Rebel 26 yard line. The Royals looked determined to score and tried everything. #49 A. Block got his first carry of the game and was knocking kids off him left and right on a physical 15 yard rush. Eventually J. Smieja trucked in a one-yard score. Two point conversion failed to make it 8-6 Rebels lead with 8:44 left in the quarter.

Jennnifer Szczyrbak

Aidan Szczyrbak (#77) tackling the ball carrier in the back field with 3 sacks and 7 1/2 tackles to help the Rebels secure their 12th Section Championship in 13 years.

Rebel Jeremiah Weidendorf had a big kickoff return getting it to the Royals 47 yard line and the Juhl brothers got to work on the ground. They drove all the way down the field with great runs by both Blake and Trent before the older brother Trent got a four-yard score. He also picked up the two point conversion to put the Rebels ahead by 10 with 1:50 left in the game. Royalton got the ball and looked like they might score before the Rebels stopped them with Aidan Szczyrbak capping off his great game with two QB sacks on second and fourth down. To finish out the game Senior Bo Moffett rumbled down the field a 60-yard run for his first ever varsity touchdown. Carter Johnson missed the extra point to make a final score of 22-6 Rebels win!

Leading the Rebels on offense was Trent Juhl with 132 yards and a touchdown joined by Anakin Oswald and Blake Juhl who each had 60 yards plus Oswald added a touchdown. On defense Senior D-Lineman Aidan Szczyrbak was fired up all game finishing with seven tackles, six of them for a loss plus three sacks and an assist. Royalton QB G. Suska went six for 15 with 106 yards and a pick, receiver Z. Gottwalt caught three of those passes for 60 yards. The Rebels now move up to #5 on the Class AA rankings and advance to play Barnesville on Friday, November 9, in Brainerd. Make the long trip and come support your Rebels in the first round of the State tournament.


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