Pine City fell in another close game on Wednesday night in Willow River 22-6. The story of this game will look similar to several of Pine City's games this season where they played tough, were in it for the majority of the game, but came up just short.
Moose Lake-Willow River started with the football and marched down the field. They had the ball inside Pine City's 10 yard line but the Dragons recovered a fumble to keep the Rebels out of the endzone. One Pine City's first offensive possession of the game, the Dragons gave up a safety to go down 2-0.
That score would remain throughout the entire first half as Pine City forced another fumble and George Ausmus intercepted a pass to keep the Rebels scoreless offensively. Ausmus along with JJ Preston, Vinny David, and several other Dragons played strong defensive games to keep the Rebels in check. With about four minutes left to go in the third quarter Blake Juhl scored for the Rebels to give them a 8-0 lead. Pine City was not able to score on their next offensive possession and allowed Juhl to score again with 8:10 left to go in the fourth quarter. The Rebels added the two point conversion to increase their lead to 16-0.
Pine City knew they were still in the game and had a chance to come back but they needed to score and score quickly. Konnor Jusczak came out throwing the football and found Tryston West on back to back thirty yard passes to put Pine City to the 1-yard line in a great position to score. A great play call from the Pine City coaching staff put Jusczak in the spread formation on first and goal at the one and the senior quarterback carried it in himself on the QB draw to give the Dragons their lone score of the game.
Pine City was inches away from recovering the ensuing onside kick that would've kept them in the game, but the Rebels recovered and were able to march it down to put an end to the game. Jordan Fjosne scored with about a minute left to ice the game for the Rebels.
Moose Lake-Willow River finished the season at 6-2 on the season and will sit atop Section 7AA and will likely see a first round bye in the playoffs.
Pine City ends the year 2-6 and 5th in Section 5AAA in QRF rankings. Pine City will travel to Milaca in the first round of the playoffs.