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

By Irishdew
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Rebels eliminated in Class 7AA state tournament


November 14, 2019

Faith Manty

Quarterback Mason Olson #12 hands off to senior running back Logan Privette #17 in the Class AA state tournament quarterfinal against Paynesville in North Branch.

North Branch High School was the site on Friday, November 8, of the Class 7AA state football tournament quarterfinal game against the Paynesville Bulldogs with a 30-degree temperature and the wind blowing. Moose Lake Willow River was playing in its 15th state tournament and 13th in the last 14 years. Going into the game, MLWR was ranked fourth in the state and Paynesville was third.

"It was a great start to the game for us," Coach Dave Louzek said. "We put a nice drive together, only for it to end with a turnover...then another drive and another fumble and we kind of went off the rails from there." Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in their 56-8 loss to the Bulldogs.

The Rebels started out the game with a 80-yard drive, but fumbled with four minutes left in the first quarter. Bulldogs got the ball and senior Daltin Christinsen took it in for six. The two-point conversion failed and Rebels got the ball back on the 45-yard line. They fumbled on the second down. With two minutes left in the first quarter, Bulldog quarterback Grady Fuchs ran a keeper for twenty yards and six more. Bulldogs led 12-0 to end the first quarter. Rebels' workhorse running back, Blake Juhl, left the game with an injury to his foot. He did not play at all in the second half of the game. Paynesville's defensive line was huge–322, 305, 290, 280 pounds–making it difficult for the Rebels.

In the second quarter, with 3:52 left until half-time, Logan Orvedahl scored a touchdown that was called back because of a Rebels' personal foul. On second down with eight to go, the Bulldogs intercepted a MLWR pass. The Bulldogs scored 20 more points in the second quarter. Quarterback Fuchs ran in two keepers and Levi Bast had a 51-yard pass for six. At the half it was 32-0 Paynesville. MLWR turned the ball over seven times, six times in the first half.

Paynesville scored three more touchdowns in the third quarter for a score of 56-0.

In the fourth quarter, with the clock on running time, Rebel Jordan Fjosne ran it into the end zone for six and Eli Werner got the two-point conversion. The game ended, Paynesville 56 and MLWR 8.

Werner rushed for 142 yards for the Rebels. Ethan Burton led in tackles and Werner, at safety, was second. Rebels finished the season 8-3.

Paynesville (10-1) has 16 seniors and will be playing in their third straight state tournament against Minneapolis North, ranked first in the state, in the semi-finals on Thursday, November 14, at 2:00 p.m. at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Paynesville coach and Activities Director, Max Meagher, said, "I feel bad for Moose Lake Willow River because the score doesn't indicate how quality of a football program they are. Everything went wrong for them, and we've been on the wrong end of that, too. This time, the turnovers happened in our favor."

"We'll use this game as motivation for the next year," said Louzek. "We had a great group of seniors. They set the foundation. The top goals for our program is to have fun and become a family, and this group of seniors set that foundation. This was one of the funnest teams I've ever been around, on and off the field, including the ninth graders. Everyone was part of the team."

On the bright side, MLWR has eight seniors, only three of which are starters, so they should be good again next year. The coaches, Louzek, Andy Dahl, Wes Cummins, Kevin Szczyrbak, Scott Battaglia, James Bohaty, Will Carlson, and Bo Moffett are to be commended for the work with these young men and all the fun and excitement they generated in the communities of Moose Lake and Willow River.


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