Moose Lake-Willow River Rebels continue tradition of playing remarkable footballYou can always tell where the Moose Lake-Willow River football team has recently played. Just look for the trail of wreckage they leave behind.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
You can always tell where the Moose Lake-Willow River football team has recently played.
Just look for the trail of wreckage they leave behind.
Heading into Wednesday’s season finale against Esko, the Rebels have scored 48 or more points in every one of their games – scoring 50 or more points five times and cracking 60 twice.
They’ve done it to bigger schools as well as smaller ones. They hung 48 points on Virginia in the season opener, and followed that up with a 59-6 win against Rush City the next week.
They stepped up two classes Sept. 23 and thrashed Denfeld 53-6 – in Duluth.
The Rebels have played two games that could be classified as “games of the year” – and neither one was close.
Against Great Polar White Conference opponent Deer River Sept. 30, the Rebels emerged 60-14 winners. Last Thursday night against a powerful Braham team, the Rebels won 48-21.
How good have the Rebels been, aside from the scores?
Well, they average 448 yards per game – on the ground. It’s not like they need to throw.
Running back Jake Disterhaupt ran for 280 yards against Braham last week, on only 14 carries. He had touchdowns of 6, 76, 51 and 8 yards and spearheaded an attack that rang up 501 yards on the ground.
Chris Gassert rushed for 140 yards and Josh Cisar added 81 more. It’s like a broken record, and that’s just the way Rebel Coach Dave Louzek likes it.
That three-headed monster has rushed for 2,400 yards – one and a third miles – with still one regular season game and a playoff run to follow.
The program is now producing some good college players as well. A number of former Rebels are playing community college football and school legend Nate Zuk is now playing for Bob Nielson’s national Division II powerhouse at UMD, joined this year by lineman Austin Lanoue.
As good as they’ve been, though, the Rebels still can’t crack the top spot in the Minnesota Associated Press rankings in Class AA.
That honor goes to defending state champion Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, which is leading the Gopher Valley Conference with a 6-0 record. Operating under the theory that the champs are top until they’re beaten, the ranking is certainly understandable.
Their offense hasn’t been as lethal as the Rebels – they’ve been held to under 40 points four times – but Waterville has outscored opponents 266-51 and has two shutouts.
By contrast, the Rebels have outscored opponents 357-69, also with two shutouts.
Louzek likes to talk about tradition, which is understandable. He also likes to talk about players taking their turns moving the team forward.
And forward. And forward.
One and a third miles of forward, in fact.
You would be hard pressed to find a better Class AA football program in Minnesota than what you’ll see on Friday nights in Moose Lake and Willow River. Enjoy the efforts of those young men while you can.
It may well be another fun November for the Rebels, Waterville or no.