Korby’s Corner: Rebels ready for revengeFor the third time in four years, Coach Dave Louzek will sport his illustrious khakis in Prep Bowl XXXI when ML-WR meets Caledonia Friday at 1 p.m. at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Both Class AA teams are, without question, the best in the state.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Pacing the sidelines every football game August through November, Moose Lake-Willow River Coach Dave Louzek wears his khaki shorts well after they go out of season.
On the other hand, his Rebels rarely go out of season.
For the third time in four years, Louzek will sport his illustrious khakis in Prep Bowl XXXI when ML-WR meets Caledonia Friday at 1 p.m. at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Both Class AA teams are, without question, the best in the state.
Top-ranked Caledonia – a school of 300 students in the southwest corner of Minnesota – has won four of the past five state titles, including a 27-0 shutout over the Rebels in last year’s final. The Warriors (12-0) haven’t lost a game since 2009.
The second-rated Rebels have been in a class of their own in northern Minnesota for years, having made seven straight state trips, while hanging on to torrid winning streaks, such as 53 consecutive regular season wins, 39 at home and 35 on the road.
As storied and rich as both programs are, Caledonia has had its way with ML-WR over the years. In addition to their blanking last fall, the Warriors waxed the Rebels 44-13 in the state semifinals in 2008, en route to winning the state crown.
Still, the Rebels haven’t given up the quest to win their program’s first-ever state championship. Also a 2009 Prep Bowl loser to Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, the ML-WR players made it their goal to return to the finals this fall and meet back with Caledonia.
Cheering for the Caledonia Warriors while waiting to play in the Metrodome last Thursday, the Rebels watched them slip past BOLD, while the Rebels took care of Jackson County Central.
And so the pair of powerhouses will meet again Friday.
It’s the Warriors’ defense against the Rebels’ speed; Caledonia’s title defense versus ML-WR’s revenge. Black and Gold will cover one side, and a sea of Blue and Red the other.
Like always when the two teams tangle, it will be small school Minnesota high school football in its finest moments.
Having been at last year’s finale, I’m expecting the Rebels to recover from last season’s shutout. ML-WR always morphs into postseason mode, but watching lately, you can tell they want it.
And personally, although a journalist, I want it for them.
I’ve been to practices. They practice hard. I’ve been to games. They play hard. Yet most of all, everyone – fans, coaches and opponents – will say they play with ultimate class.
If they win, they shake your hand. If they lose, they shake your hand. They’re not flashy, but rather modest. They won’t run up the score, yet, finish the game with their competitor in mind.
You can bet on Friday they’ll have Caledonia in mind. And if they win their school’s first state title, they’ll be first in line to shake hands.