SEMISTATE UPDATE: Rebels run out of steam against Arrows
MINNEAPOLIS — Having won five football games in a row, including four on the brink of elimination, Moose Lake-Willow River was riding a whirlwind of a turnaround and sat one win shy of a fourth Prep Bowl appearance.
Then came along Tyl Woelber and Pipestone Area.
Woelber showed exactly why he is of interest to Division I schools, as the ultra-athletic senior gave a new meaning to "doing everything" in the Arrows’ 28-6 victory over the Rebels in a Class AA state semifinal Friday afternoon at the Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
“There’s nothing the kid can’t do,” said Pipestone coach Clay Anderson of Woelber, who caught touchdowns of 28 and 71 yards and even tossed a left-handed score to teammate Garrett Ploeger of 64 yards, all in the second quarter. “He’s a phenomenal athlete. He’s one of our sparks — a huge spark.”
The 6-foot, 170-pounder may not look like much, but watch him run, jump, pass and kick — yes, he’s the Arrows’ punter and kicker as well — and you’ll surely think otherwise.
Anderson noted that Woelber, a state triple and high jumper, leapt 6 feet, 7 inches last spring. That was good enough to catch the interest of the University of Minnesota, as Anderson said Woelber may trade in his football pads and run track and field for the Golden Gophers.
“At this level, teams have those special players,” ML-WR coach Dave Louzek said. “And in big games, they come out.”
Woelber, however, who accounted for 188 total yards, deflected praise toward his teammates.
“I get the glamor, but they’re the ones that really make it happen,” said Woelber, speaking in the Vikings’ press conference room afterward. “I do a lot, but it’s because of them. The chemistry we all have is awesome.”
The sixth-ranked Arrows (12-1) now face No. 1 Caledonia (12-0), the state’s two-time defending champs and winners of 40 straight, in next Friday’s Prep Bowl again at U.S. Bank. The Warriors are seeking their eighth title in the last 11 years.
The Rebels (7-6) know Caledonia all-too-well, losing to the juggernauts in the 2011 and 2012 finals. ML-WR also fell in the 2009 Prep Bowl and was just one win from another try.
The never-quitting Rebels, led by junior Trent Juhl’s 136 rushing yards on 24 carries and lone TD to start the scoring in the first quarter before Pipestone did the rest, just fell short.
“In a game like this where you have two great teams, momentum is everything,” said Louzek, whose Rebels started 2-5 before their wild 34-day win streak started. “They hit a couple of big plays, got a hold of the momentum and kept it.”