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Bombers, Rebels move toward rematch after playoff openers

Two local teams entered the Section 7AA football playoffs as the top two seeds Tuesday night. Barnum entered the tournament with an undefeated record and as the top seed, while next-door-neighbor Moose Lake/Willow River is the No. 2 seed with only one blemish on their record, and that was to Barnum in the season opener.

Barnum (9-0) played at home against No. 8 seed Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin and the Bombers proved worthy of the top seed by beating the Titans handily, 56-7.

Moose Lake/Willow River took down No. 7 seed Hinckley-Finlayson, 40-19.

For Barnum, Carlos Beckstrand got the Bombers on the board on their opening drive of the game on a short run around end, and from that point on it was all Barnum.

On their second drive, Bombers quarterback Hayden Charboneau found Beckstrand open down the middle of the field and 56 yards later Beckstrand was standing in the end zone on the way to a 14-0 lead.

After a Titans score, Barnum’s Beckstrand added another touchdown giving him three scores before the first quarter ended.

By the time the first half ended, Barnum led by a score of 44-7. The win moves Barnum into the semifinals against Aitkin, the No. 4 seed, which defeated No. 5 seed Crosby-Ironton, 22-18.

Meanwhile, Moose Lake/Willow River (8-1) easily dispatched the Jaguars in Willow River. After falling behind 6-0 after the Jaguars scored on their opening drive, the Rebels bounced back on their first drive of the game on a touchdown by Jaxsyn Schmidt to gain a 7-6 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Rebels recovered the kick as Levi Mikrot scooped the ball on the Jags’ 16-yard line and on the very next play Schmidt loped into the end zone, making it 14-6, and the Rebels never looked back.

Micah Thompson tacked on a 34-yard touchdown jaunt early in the first quarter to make it 21-6 with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. The Rebels added another score, and by halftime were up 28-6.

From that point on the Rebels continued to pull away, and now move into the semifinals. They will play 2 p.m. Saturday in Willow River against No. 3 Mesabi East, a 58-34 winner over No. 6 International Falls.

Barnum defeated Moose Lake/Willow River on Sept. 1 for the first time since 1998. 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.