Moose Lake/Willow River & Barnum football excited to bring back Little Brown Jug rivalry

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Week one of Friday night football kicks off this week and for Barnum and Moose Lake/Willow River this season-opener will be a special rivalry one.

The two will play for the Little Brown Jug trophy, one the programs haven’t battled for since 2019. The first game between the Moose Lake/Willow River co-op and Barnum took place in 1984, but the Jug dates back to the era of the Moose Lake Lakers.

“This will be my first Little Brown Jug game as a head coach, so it’s tough to know exactly what to expect,” Barnum head coach Bob Minkkinen said. “The Rebels are a really tough, well-coached football program and they’ve had a long, long history of success. But our kids have been working really hard and they’ve been building up for the last few years. Our kids are really excited about the challenge they have on friday night.”

“It’s been a big game for everybody for years and we’re just excited to get back to it. Haven’t played them since my eighth grade year, so I’m excited to get a fair shot at it,” Barnum quarterback Hayden Charboneau said.

Ten minutes down the road in Moose Lake is where the trophy has been for the past two decades, with the Rebels winning every contest of the intermittent rivalry since 1998.

These players are excited for the opportunity to make their mark on the over 50 year old tradition.

“Oh, this is obviously a big rivalry. The Little Brown Jug will be the first time in a long time it’s competitive, I believe,” Rebels’ senior running back/middle linebacker Jaxsyn Schmidt said.

“This rivalry has gone a long ways back. Our coaches have played for the Little Brown Jug, I mean my brother did. I’m very excited to play for this game. I’ve never played Barnum as a varsity player so I’m very excited,” said Rebels’ senior fullback/linebacker Dawson Mortensen.

“I know the community is going to show up. We’ve had this Little Brown Jug for 20-plus years so they’re really hungry to get it back in their possession and finally engrave their name on the Little Brown Jug,” Rebels’ senior defensive end/tight end Nolan Nelson said.

Kickoff between the Rebels and Bombers Friday is set for 7 p.m. at Barnum High School.