Football Roundup: Linemen lead Rebels' rush past Eskomos

WILLOW RIVER--If there were an Achilles heel for the Moose Lake-Willow River football program this fall, it could have been the lineman. Not nearly as massive in size, nor as experienced as seasons past, Rebels Coach Dave Louzek watched his offen...

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ML-WR senior David Moonen runs to daylight past Esko defenders in Friday’s game in Willow River. The Rebels downed the Eskomos 38-28. Jamie Lund/

WILLOW RIVER-If there were an Achilles heel for the Moose Lake-Willow River football program this fall, it could have been the lineman.

Not nearly as massive in size, nor as experienced as seasons past, Rebels Coach Dave Louzek watched his offensive and defensive lines hold their own last week.

ML-WR (1-1) ran for 295 yards and turned several Esko turnovers into points, as the Rebels edged the Eskomos 38-28 in a Great Polar White Conference prep football shootout last Friday evening at Willow River.

Slippery senior running back David Moonen marked 114 of those yards on 18 carries, scoring five touchdowns, but credited no one but his teammates up front afterward.

“We don’t get anywhere without our line - they’re dang good,” said Moonen of his lane-clearing offensive mates Jeremiah Chavez, Frankie White, Josh Butterfield and Charlie Adamczak. “I get the glory, I get the numbers on the board, but they’re the ones that got me there.”


One of those Rebels’ drives started when sophomore Bryceton Butkiewicz stripped the ball defensively and recovered the fumble in the second quarter, leading to a 90-yard, 22-play, near 11-minute touchdown march to go up 12-0 on an Adamczak TD catch via senior Brad Fossum.

“We’re still pretty young on the line of scrimmage, but that’s good experience,” said Louzek. “Just getting that mentality of keeping the ball and grinding the clock is something we are still learning, but that was a good drive.”

“Something must be going right,” added Butkiewicz, a sophomore, who rushed for 95 yards on only eight tries.

Winless yet athletic Esko (0-2) tried to come back. After trailing 12-0 at halftime, they darted ahead briefly 14-12 when junior Jaxson Turner tore down the left sideline on the third quarter’s opening play for a 34-yard touchdown, shortly before his 5-yard score on the next possession.

The very next play, however, Moonen sprung for his longest run, a 53-yard TD, and ML-WR never looked back.

Turner finished with three scores and a bundle of yards, but it wasn’t enough for the Eskomos, ridden by mistakes.

“We’re getting better,” Esko Coach Bill Hudspith said. “But obviously, we need to clean it up if we want to win.”  

Winning 46 straight home games, the Rebels look fine.


“Our lines dictate success,” said Louzek of his guys in the trench. “We pat them on the back as much as we can.”


Carlton (0-2) couldn't keep up with Onamia and the host Bulldogs were beaten 64-44 in a Great Northern Conference 9-man point-piling affair last Friday in Carlton. Dom Bennett was busy, rushing for 143 yards on 30 carries, including two touchdowns, while he caught a 51-yard score, had a blocked punt, forced fumble and a team-best 13 tackles for the Bulldogs.

Cloquet (2-0) continued its winning ways and buried the Broncos 45-0 in a Sea-Range Conference shutout last Friday in International Falls. Cloquet's Zach Gerlach gashed the hosts for four touchdowns, including a 9-yard run to open the scoring, a 43-yard dash to close the first half and a 75-yard kickoff return to begin the third quarter. Gerlach also caught a 67-yard scoring toss from Nate Weets for the Lumberjacks, which have now outscored their opponents 75-8 this fall.

Cromwell-Wright (2-0) was again effective on offense, as the Cardinals cruised past Northome-Kelliher 34-14 in a Great Northern Conference 9-man victory last Friday in Cromwell. The Cardinals - now outscoring their foes 70-14 - were led by sophomore quarterback Zion Smith, who nailed four scoring passes in the opening half, including two each to Austin Pfisthner and Brandon Fairbanks.

South Ridge (2-0) ran by Northeast Range 28-14 last Friday in another Big North Conference 9-man win at Babbitt. The Panthers were again productive behind running backs Reid Clark - 104 yards on 20 carries - and Zach Johnson, 83 yards on 11 attempts. Clark also had double-digit tackles to go with his three TDs, plus another via Lane Maranell.

Wrenshall (2-0) was even better this week, whipping Lake of the Woods 56-18 in a Great Northern Conference 9-man win last Friday in Wrenshall. While Dakota Spry sprinted for 266 yards on 19 carries, including two touchdowns, teammate Caleb O'Connor counted for 175 yards on 13 tries, three TDs and a receiving score from Luke Vine, who also rushed for 104 of the Wrens' 589 total yards. Wrenshall has continued to obliterate its opponents, outscoring them now 97-18.

FDLTCC (1-1) had a bye week and - with a 16-13 win over Minnesota West Community College as their only victory - will play today,Thursday, Sept. 11, at Vermilion Community College in Ely.



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Esko senior Aaron Olson eludes a Rebel defender in Friday’s 38-28 win. Jamie Lund/

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