Team Traditions: Rebels more than a number

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At Moose Lake/Willow River football players are more than just a number. They are every rebel that’s donned it before them.

In 2001 the Rebels made their first trip to the state tournament. A loss sent them packing, but not before a now 20-plus year traditions was born in that Metrodome locker room.

"I remember actually being around the conversation as we’re handing our equipment after we lost," Andy Dahl recalled, now the offensive coordinator for Rebels football. "Basically they were talking about how Al was number 60 and he was like, ‘I want that freshmen to be number 60 because I just want someone good to wear my number’."

Every year since then Moose Lake/Willow Rivers seniors have willed their numbers down to underclassmen.

"We remind these kids when you will it, it’s for them to remember who came before them," Aidan Szczyrbak said, and 2019 Rebels graduate.

Szczyrbak said he gave all he had to earn number 77 from Brennan Sylvester. His jersey was willed to him from Aidan’s brother Ezrah, who was honored to wear it for his predecessor.

"I think it speaks to the fact that Rebel football is a program that’s not about last names," Ezrah said. "This is not about the Szczyrbak brothers. Because you know what, I don’t have to turn on the film to know that JP, who is now wearing 77, is out there playing with such tenacity."

The Szczyrbak’s attributed this family culture all to Dave Louzek, head coach of Rebel football since 1999.