Posted at: 08/29/2013 6:37 PM
Updated at: 08/30/2013 2:42 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
Willow River, Minn. - It looks to be an exciting matchup and a rare one at that. Hermantown and Moose Lake-Willow River haven't played each other since 2005. They are also in different classes. Both coaches say that they have great respect for the opposing team and its football tradition.
"Their (ML/WR) best 11 can play with anybody and so, it is going to be a good physical game and we have a lot of respect for the Rebels as their program certainly is state-caliber every year," says Hermantown Head Coach Daryl Illikainen.
"They (Hermantown) have a good football tradition and they like to run the ball and are very physical and a lot like us," says ML/WR Head Coach Dave Louzek.
"You have to be physical with Moose Lake. We told our front five that this needs to be their game where they step up physically," says Illikainen.
"They (Hermantown) will capitalize on any mistakes that our kids might make, so I think that is the real key. Our kids taking a deep breath and handling the pressure of being in a big game," says Louzek.
The Rebels are coming off another state tournament season, where they were the runner-up to Caledonia. But, 18 starters from that Rebels team have graduated. The Hawks are still filling in some gaps as well.
Hermantown faces Moose Lake/Willow River Thursday night at 7:00 pm in Willow River.