Rebels roll by EskomosA fullback in junior high and lineman in high school, Moose Lake senior Jake Christopherson has blocked for nearly every play of his football career. Technically, his statistics page isn’t the largest – unless he’s paving the way for teammate Jake Disterhaupt.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
A fullback in junior high and lineman in high school, Moose Lake senior Jake Christopherson has blocked for nearly every play of his football career. Technically, his statistics page isn’t the largest – unless he’s paving the way for teammate Jake Disterhaupt.
“That’s fun,” said Christopherson, a 6-foot-1, 255-pound offensive and defensive lineman who has been clearing out defenders for the team’s star running back since seventh grade. “It’s not the most glamorous spot, but it’s got to be done. You’ll get done with your block, look up and see him 50 yards down the field. You then realize you have done your job.”
Christopherson & Co. did their job Friday night, as Disterhaupt ran for 135 yards on five carries and scored three touchdowns en route to carrying second state-ranked Moose Lake-Willow River past Esko 42-20 in Great Polar Alliance Blue Conference contest in Willow River.
Disterhaupt, an elusive 6-foot-1, 192-pound runner with strength, shiftiness and field-stretching speed, took the opening kickoff 93 yards down the right sideline just 16 seconds into the long-living rivalry game.
The Willow River senior later sprinted 60 yards down the left sideline for another score, and on the following drive – in highlight-reel fashion – began left, eluded a number of defenders, swung to his right and darted 65 yards downfield for a third touchdown.
“We run that sweep to the left and right, where we are pulling our guards and tackles,” Disterhaupt said, always crediting his large linemen up front. “If a team can’t stop that play, we’ll run it the whole game.”
Disterhaupt led the area in rushing yardage and touchdowns a season ago. Traveling to various football camps and tryouts this summer, he was clocked running the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. Along with his running back duties, Disterhaupt is also a defensive back. He’s deadly returning kicks, as displayed on the opening kickoff Friday.
“He’s the fastest and most physical kid on the field that will either outrun everybody or lower his shoulder and go,” said 14th-year Rebels Coach Dave Louzek. “This season, he’s scored on offense, defense and special teams. With the ball in his hands, he’s able to make plays.”
Noting he was pleased all around, Louzek used Disterhaupt in only one series in the second half last week, as ML-WR (3-0) led 35-6 by halftime and coasted to their 49th straight regular season win and 35th on their home field.
Michael Pender finished with 108 yards rushing and two scores, while Christopherson added an 11-yard interception return for a touchdown and Ben Moonen hit a 19-yard field goal. Overall, ML-WR ran for 333 yards on almost 10 yards an attempt.
“They’re a very good ball club, very explosive,” said 23rd-year Esko Coach Bill Hudspith of the Rebels. “We let them get outside, didn’t wrap up or tackle and had a crucial interception. [ML-WR] will probably be in the state playoffs. But we just have to get better at our own game.”
Hudspith liked the way his Eskomos (2-1) challenged the juggernaut Rebels. More of a gun-slinging squad, Esko rushed for 294 yards, guided by Riley Mudek’s 160 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Brandt Hintsala also ran for a score in the final quarter.
“We just have to work hard this week, the rest of the season and look forward from this,” said Mudek, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior. “We battled [ML-WR], but they’re pretty good, though. They scored 21 points in the first quarter. That’s probably the state championship team right there.”
Both teams will return to the field Friday, as Esko will host Two Harbors at 4 p.m. in Esko and ML-WR welcomes Eveleth-Gilbert at 7 p.m. in Willow River, hoping to extend their winning streak.
“Playing Esko is always a lot of fun because they know what they’re doing,” Disterhaupt said, “but the true Rebel team came out in the first half.”
Blockers in line.