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Bombers get a win for the century

Barnum bests Rebels for first time since 1998

Local football fans got a treat Friday when Barnum defeated Moose Lake/Willow River for the first time since 1998. It wasn't easy, but the Barnum defense got it done during a second overtime, stopping the Rebels at the 5-yard line to pull out a 28-22 victory.

The brown jug finally made its way back to Barnum.

"It was a lot of fun and a good game between two good teams," said Barnum coach Rob Minkkinen. "I was proud of how resilient our team was all game long. There were a few times where they could have folded, but instead they stood their ground and finished the game against a well-coached and very good team."

The game was a slugfest with neither team giving any ground, and both teams playing hard-nosed, hard-hitting football. The game was tied at 8-8 at halftime.

"We knew Barnum was a well-coached and very good team," said Rebels coach Dave Louzek. "We always want to play better teams so we can find out what we need to work on, and this was a great way to start the season, despite the loss."

Barnum gained a 16-8 lead in the third quarter, but that changed late in the game when the Rebels were able to make a big defensive play that helped send the game to overtime.

"Despite being down late, the guys held things together and we forced a bad punt which led to a touchdown," Louzek said. "We then got the 2-point conversion and that sent it to overtime and gave us a chance."

The game-tying play came on fourth down when Rebel quarterback Adam Neumann found running back Kaden Robbins for the score. The Rebels tacked on the 2-point conversion to tie the game.

"That was a big play, and our kids kept fighting," Louzek said.

Both teams scored in the first overtime and both were unsuccessful on their conversion attempts. In the second overtime, Barnum went first and senior quarterback Hayden Charboneau connected on an 8-yard pass to Eli Gilbertson. One play later, Charboneau scored the go-ahead touchdown, making it 28-22 after not converting on the extra point.

"After we got the lead, our defense came up big," Minkkinen said. "Our defense was able to stuff them a couple times on the run, and then on fourth down their final pass fell incomplete."

Once the Bombers were able to secure the win, the hometown fans celebrated a victory over the powerhouse Rebels for the first time in 25 years.

"There were a lot of fans that were surrounding the field and they were all pretty excited," Minkkinen said. "There were a ton of alumni who were there supporting the team and they all talked about how they lost a tight game to the Rebels, or they never had a chance because Moose Lake/Willow River was so good. That is a real good football team over there and I am proud of how both teams played."

Charboneau figured in all the scoring for Barnum as he passed three touchdowns and ran for another. The quarterback was 13-of-17 in the passing department, good for 150 yards. Carlos Beckstrand caught a pair of touchdown passes and Landen Oetterer also caught a pass for a touchdown.

On the Rebels side of the ball, quarterback Adam Neumann was also impressive as he threw three touchdown passes with two going to Robbins and one to Nolan Nelson. Neumann was 5-of-13, good for 92 passing yards.

Unofficially, the Rebels gained a total of 326 total yards while the Bombers had 252 total yards. ML/WR rushed for 234 yards and Barnum had 102 yards on the ground. Barnum passed for 150 yards and the Rebels had 92 passing yards.

Jaxsyn Schmidt led the Rebels on the ground with 161 yards on 21 rushing attempts. Robbins led ML/WR in receiving with three catches for 83 yards.

Defensively, the Bombers had big games from their two inside linebackers Cole Laitinen and Caden Sheff. Laitinen finished with 21 tackles while Sheff had 19 tackles in the game.

Barnum will be back at home Friday night taking on Chisholm. The Rebels will open their home season in Willow River Friday against Aitkin.

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