Tornadoes serve Pumpkin Bowl to Rebels, pass the paddle too

The Champlin Park Rebels blew onto Goodrich Field Friday night and took the wind out of the Anoka Tornadoes’ sails, winning the game 42-17 and taking home the Pumpkin Bowl and the Battle for the Paddle trophies as a result.

Tornado running back Moe Strong escapes a tackle. Photo by Sue Austreng
Tornado running back Moe Strong escapes a tackle. Photo by Sue Austreng

The wounded Tornadoes (three captains are currently on the disabled list as well as a number of other players) fought with great spirit, but the Rebels had no mercy.

“We made a number of mistakes that put us in a very bad position,” said Tornado head coach Jeff Buerkle after the game. “Champlin didn’t surprise us with what they did, but we were not able to stop them.”

Champlin Park came out strong and fast. Just two minutes into the game, the Rebels scored their first touchdown. By halftime, Champlin Park had entered the end zone four times and scored four extra points.

Anoka’s only response was a field goal and the first quarter ended 28-3 in the Rebels’ favor.

The Tornadoes scored their only touchdowns late in the game, never entering the end zone until the game’s fourth quarter.

“Going into the Pumpkin Bowl, we knew Champlin had a very good (game) with big fast players,” Buerkle said. “They have a great quarterback and probably the best running back that we have faced this year. Unfortunately when you play a team that good you have very little room for mistakes or missed tackles.”

Friday’s game was Buerkle’s 100th game of his Tornado football coaching career. While a win would have been nice, the head coach expressed his gratitude at being a part of the Anoka football team.

“Being a part of the Anoka football team is a great honor,” he said. “I do believe that we have some of the best parents and fans in the conference. They support our players and program through the good times and the tough times. As a coach that is so important and I know our players feel the same way.”

Next up, the Tornadoes head over to Blaine tomorrow (Wednesday) for a pre-MEA weekend game.

“We will prepare by studying film, scouting reports and going back to working on the fundamental things that we are not doing well,” Buerkle said after the Champlin Park game as he anticipated the Blaine game. “I have always been impressed with how our players work hard even in the face of the adversity we have been faced with this year.”

“We have great kids that work hard everyday.”

Notes from the sidelines

Other Oct. 12 Northwest Suburban and North Suburban Conference games played out like this:

Andover 28, Park Center 6

Blaine 38, Centennial 9

Coon Rapids 19, Maple Grove 49

St. Francis 41, Fridley 33

Spring Lake Park 20, Chisago 13


Sue Austreng is at
[email protected]

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