Rebels, Bombers play for Little Brown JugMoose Lake-Willow River won 21-6 over rival Barnum last Friday night in Barnum. Photos by Dave Harwig.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
BARNUM – His eye paint smeared with sweat after the game, Jake Disterhaupt stood under the football field lights in his worn jersey, securely cradling the historic Little Brown Jug in his arms.
He did the same with the football throughout the evening.
The Willow River senior caught, ran and returned an interception for three touchdowns, pacing Moose Lake-Willow River to a 21-6 victory over rival Barnum last Friday night in Barnum. It was the first meeting between the neighboring schools since 2006, with the Rebels taking home the jug that has traveled between the two Carlton County towns since 1950.
“Every time we play Barnum in any sport, you know they are always going to come out swinging hard,” Disterhaupt said. “Honestly, we didn’t expect this much. Hats off to Barnum.”
It was Disterhaupt who capped an opening 13-play, 65-yard drive with a touchdown catch from quarterback Tony Adamczak and followed with a 3-yard score on a direct snap in their following march.
Leading 13-0, it looked to be another rout for the Rebels, a team that defeated its opponents in 2011 by an average of 34 points.
Still, Barnum was charging in the third quarter before Disterhaupt picked off a Zachary Carlson pass and raced 88 yards down the right sideline for the clinching score.
“Jake’s just there to make plays and is in the right spot at the right time,” said junior lineman Ezra Szczyrbak of his teammate who rushed for 2,276 yards and 40 scores in being named last season’s Duluth News Tribune Player of the Year. “He’s a great athlete; a great kid, too.”
“It was a little bit of backbreaker,” added first-year Barnum Coach Brian Robertson. “But we played four quarters. It was kind of the goal.”
Perhaps that’s because ML-WR is 72-7 since 2006, having now won 47 straight consecutive regular season games, including 34 at home and 33 on the road en route to two Prep Bowls appearances in three years.
“All the credit goes to Barnum for making that a good ball game,” said Rebels Coach Dave Louzek. “They were ready for us and weren’t intimidated by the numbers of kids we had on the field.”
Louzek praised the Bombers’ defensive line for creating problems in the Rebels’ run-first offense that mustered only 209 yards total.
ML-WR’s Michael Pender had 102 yards on 21 attempts, while Disterhaupt – who has been offered a scholarship to the University of North Dakota – was held to nine yards under his average per play last year.
“They have a great line, they surprised us,” said Disterhaupt, who rushed for 90 yards on 18 carries last week. “They held us in check the whole game. There wasn’t one point where we thought we had it.”
Barnum scored with just over four minutes remaining in the final quarter when backup quarterback Brandon Newman found running back Danny Warpula on an 18-yard touchdown lob to the end zone.
“The kids picked their heads up and got one on the scoreboard, and I was proud of that,” Robertson said. “The effort was always there.”
Robertson played a part in Stephen-Argyle’s 9-Man state championship in 1999 and has been an assistant in Barnum for five years.
Warpula said nothing has changed on the field, especially last week.
“I think we can build a lot of this and get better,” said the Barnum senior. “I think this gets us going. And we still have seven more games. [Moose Lake-Willow River] is tough, fast and physical and we kept their starting pads on.”
That’s something many teams can’t say.