ST. CLOUD — Dave Louzek worried his team scored too quickly.
His star running back ended that concern.
Junior Jake Disterhaupt scored on a 56-yard touchdown run with 1:36 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Moose Lake-Willow River Rebels a 26-20 Class 2A state quarterfinal victory over the Pierz Pioneers Friday at Husky Stadium in St. Cloud.
Disterhaupt scored from 13 yards out at the 4:45 mark of the fourth quarter to tie the back-and-forth contest at 20-20. That’s when Louzek started looking at the clock. To that point both team scored on all of its second half possessions.
“It was coming down to where you want to run more clock, but obviously in a game like this you’re not going to turn down a score,” said Louzek the head coach of the Rebels. “The eye was on the clock definitely. It would have been nice to run a little more clock off, but our defense stepped up on that next series with a three and out and forced the punt. I think that was the key to the game.”
Three plays after Pierz’s only punt of the second half, Disterhaupt broke off left tackle and sprinted past the Pierz defense for the game’s longest play and the game-winning score.
Disterhaupt finished with 218 yards on 24 carries for a 9.0 yards-per-carry average or half of what he was averaging heading into Friday’s game. His total gave him 2,000 for the season.
“Did you seem him run, though,” said Pierz head coach Leo Pohlkamp. “One time we should have had him for a seven yard loss. He sprinted up the sideline and gained 10 some yards. I was shouting, ‘where are all my 11 guys.’ He just out ran them. He’s a dandy. He really is. He was the difference in this game. For the most part we did a god job on him, but it’s like Adrian Peterson. You pound, pound, pound and then he goes for 50.”
ML-WR’s Chris Gassert added 104 yards and a touchdown and fullback Josh Cisar rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown. Those three accounted for all of the Rebels’ yards.
“I thought our offensive line played well,” said Louzek. “We haven’t faced a team like this all year. So I think we learned a lot and I think we’ll learn a lot more once we start watching film from this game. I think our offensive line played very well under the circumstances of playing a good team. We haven’t seen that all year. I was very happy that our offense was happy with three or four yards a play. We’re used to two-play scoring drives.”
Pierz opened the second half in usual fashion as it drove 64 yards on 11 plays in five minutes to claim 13-6 advantage. Josh Lanners scored from 2-yards out for his 19th TD of the season. The Rebels matched Pierz with its own 11-play, 74-yard scoring drive for a 13-12 lead.
Preston Weber’s 1-yard run on the Pioneers’ next possession concluded a marathon 17-play drive to land Pierz a 20-13 lead. Lanners finished the game with 111 yards on 22 carries. Weber rushed for eight yards, but threw for 121 yards and a touchdown on 12-of-19 passing.
“In the second half we had leads at times, which was good, but we couldn’t quite hold them,” said Pohlkamp. “We made them work for everything they got. I’m just as proud of these kids as if they won the state championship because they left it all on the feld. That’s all you can ask from a kid.”
At the beginning of the game the Rebels looked more like the Pioneers as they rattled off a 13-play, 80-yard opening drive that was capped off by Cisar’s 1-yard TD run.
The Pioneers benefited from Weber’s two first half interceptions. His first pick ended a Rebel drive that had matriculated to the Pierz 16. Pierz then turned in a 16-play drive that stalled at the Rebel 11. After a rare ML-WR three and out, Pierz took its next possession 53 yards on just four plays as Weber hit Lanners on a 21-yard pass and then Ben Boser for a 27-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 6-6.
Weber then ended the half with his second interception and eighth of the season.
“We had a great week of practice again, but we knew for a state tournament game we had to raise it another notch,” said Pohlkamp. “This guy averages 17 yards a carry. This guy’s at 12 yards. You have to darn near stop everyone on their team. We bent at times and other times we hung in there and got a few interceptions. We made them work for everything they got. With the score 26-20 this could have gone either way. It was a real valiant effort by our kids.”
ML-WR 6 0 7 13 — 26
Pierz 0 6 6 8 — 20
MLWR:Josh Cisar 1 run (kick failed) 7:11
Prz-Ben Boser 27 pass from Preston Weber (kick blocked) 53.2
Prz-Josh Lanners 2 run (kick failed) 7:18
MLWR-Chris Gassert 2 run (B.J. Young kick) 4:05
Prz-Weber 1 run (Lanners run) 8:52
MLWR-Jake Disterhaupt 13 run (Young kick) 4:45
MLWR-Disterhaupt 56 run (kick failed) 1:36
Rushes-yards: Prz 42-170, MLWR 56-392
Pass comp-att-int-yards: Prz 12-19-1-120, MLWR 0-2-2-0
Total offense: Prz 61-290, MLWR 56-392
Rushing: Prz-Josh Lanners 22-111, Tyler Millner 6-10, Nathan Tomala 10-41, Preston Weber 4-8; MLWR-Ghris Gasert , Josh Cisar , Jake Disterhaupt
Passing: Prz-Weber 12-19-120; MLWR-Tony Adamczak 0-2-0
Receiving: Prz-Logan Meyer 2-20, Ben Boser 2-40, Millner 5-27, Trent Davis 1-11, Lanners 2-22
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.