Section Champs: Moose Lake/Willow River wins 17th 7AA title, Esko claims 3rd straight 7AAA crown

State Bound: Moose Lake/Willow River & Esko football defend section titles

State Bound: Moose Lake/Willow River & Esko football defend section titles

On Thursday the Moose Lake/Willow River football team earned their 17th section title, while Esko football claimed their third straight Section 7AAA crown.

In the Section 7AA title game held at Esko School Fields, second-seeded Moose Lake/Willow River upset previously undefeated, top-seeded Barnum (10-1) in a 13-0 shutout. In doing so the the Rebels reclaimed their Little Brown Jug rivalry trophy, which they lost to the Bombers in their first game of the season marking their only loss on the season.

Sophomore Micah Thompson scored both touchdowns for the Rebels, one in the first and one in fourth quarter. This marks the Rebels’ (10-1) 17th section title in program history.

“Great game, obviously. Any time defense can shut out the other team, Barnum 10-0. We had a couple of injuries to a couple of seniors going into this game and had to rely on some 10th graders and kids that haven’t started at all all season. To be a champion, you’ve got to step up and play, and they did,” Rebels’ head coach Dave Louzek said.

They are now off to state for the sixth time since 2017.

In the Section 7AAA title game held at Malosky Stadium, top-seeded Esko downed second seeded Pequot Lakes 34-14. Esko led at halftime 19-7. They now enter their third straight state tournament with a perfect record, sitting 10-0.

The Minnesota State High School football tournament kicks off November 9.