White Bear Lake’s abbreviated 2020 football season came to an end Tuesday night with a lopsided loss to the Champlin Park Rebels in Champlin.
The Rebels marched to touchdowns on their first two possessions and went on to vanquish the Bears 34-8.
With the first-round playoff exit, the Bears finished the pandemic-shortened schedule with a 2-4 record.
The Bears averted a shutout with 58 seconds left as Branden Berwald scored on a three-yard run and threw to Alex Lockwood for the points-after.
Shawn Shipman, Champlin’s 6-foot, 200-pound back, dominated the game, barging for 195 yards and two touchdowns, behind an offensive line that continuously pushed back a smaller Bears defensive front.
The Rebels (3-3) took a 14-0 lead, staying on the ground except for one short pass, in drives culminated by Shipman’s six-yard run in the first period and Cade Fitzgerald’s seven-yard run early in the second.
They made it 20-0 by going to the air in the last two minutes of the half as Fitzgerald hit Edmund Ocansey deep twice, for 40 yards and then 26 for the touchdown.
The Bears had drives that reached the Rebel 19 on their first possession and the 20 late in the second quarter, but could not advance farther.
Champlin’s lead increased to 34-0 on two more TD runs, by Shipman (four yards) in the third period and DJ Myles (29 yards) in the fourth.
The Bears season was completed during the pandemic with the exception of one scheduled game, against East Ridge, that was postponed and then canceled.
Bears coach Ryan Bartlett said that getting the season played at all — it was delayed six weeks and shortened by two — was the most important thing.
He told the Star-Tribune that his post-game statement to the team was: “No one is really going to remember anything about this year except that you made it through. That’s what 2020 was about: adversity and how you responded to it.”