Patrick Reusse: Foley final king of Rum River

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 5, 2007 - 10:14 PM

The Rum River already has disbanded for football, but Foley has ruled over its former members in the last year before they join a new conference.

MORA, MINN. - The Rum River starts at Lake Mille Lacs and meanders for 148 miles before connecting with the Mississippi River at Anoka. The Rum has been enough of a landmark in east-central Minnesota that an athletic conference carried its name for more than 60 years.

The last vestiges of this historic conference are being played out this fall on high school football fields in Mora, Milaca, Foley and Zimmerman.

Mora and Milaca are original members.

"There are people who say it goes back to the '30s," said Gary Gauffin, Mora's athletic director. "I went through our records, though, and the earliest I can confirm the Rum River Conference is 1945."

Foley joined the Rum River in the fall of 1969. Zimmerman, a product of Elk River's division into three high schools, is a short-termer that helped fill schedules in the dwindling Rum River.

"Actually, the Rum River is already gone," Gauffin said. "We're all independents in football this fall. But we're probably going to have each team offer some nominations, so the deserving kids can get all-conference recognition. We can use the Rum River connection that way."

Foley was 5-0 when it came to Mora on Friday night. The Falcons already had victories over Milaca and Zimmerman, so they were looking for a sweep of opponents from the pseudo-Rum River.

Foley has membership in the wide-ranging West Central Conference in all other sports for this school year.

"We're going back to where we came from," said Darien DeRocher, retired after service as a Foley football coach and athletic director. "We were in the West Central before we switched to the Rum River in '69."

The State High School League also ordered the West Central to accept Mora and Milaca for 2008-09. Come next fall, that conference will have two divisions and 18 teams, sprawling from Mora to Montevideo.

Speaking of sprawl, there's a lesson to be learned in the urban variety when you look at the history of the Rum River Conference. For more than 20 years after World War II, it was a seven-team conference: Mora, Milaca, Elk River, Cambridge, Princeton, Braham and Ogilvie.

Today, Elk River has three high schools and a population of more than 22,000. Ogilvie, a village located halfway between Milaca and Mora, has a population of 478.

Foley was unbeaten in the regular season a year ago, and then ran into powerful Becker in the section final. Becker has been bounced upward to Class 4A, leaving Foley with realistic expectations of reaching the Dome (for the Class 3A semis) for the first time since 2000.

The unbeaten Falcons gave 2-3 Mora some early life by fumbling a punt. The Mustangs recovered on Foley's 17, and quarterback Ben Besser ran it in three plays later for a 6-0 lead.

It seems as if most every team with an athletic quarterback is putting him in a shotgun formation, more to take advantage of running ability than passing. That's the case with Besser.

Foley also has one of those quarterbacks in Bryce Gapinski, but it has him behind center in a traditional offensive set. From there, the Falcons run and run some more, and then Gapinski steps back and throws a lefthanded dart.

His first pass went deep to Tim Phonvidone for 59 yards and a touchdown. His second was a slant that Eric Herm took 64 yards for a touchdown.

Two-for-two, 123 yards and two touchdowns. Tom Brady would be jealous of that quarterback rating.

  • related content

  • End of an era

    Friday October 5, 2007

    Foley, Mora and Milaca, three traditional members of the disbanded Rum River Conference, will be moving to the expansive 18-team...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Tennessee 7:25 PM
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 117 FINAL
San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 97 FINAL
Portland 104
Houston 115 FINAL
Denver 111
Indiana 100 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 62 FINAL
Auburn 80
New Mexico St 55 FINAL
Baylor 66
San Diego St 62 FINAL
Cincinnati 71
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
Incarnate Word 82 FINAL
Grand Canyon 80
Northeastern 58 FINAL
Cal Poly 60
Central Arkansas 55 FINAL
New Mexico 76
Howard 45 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Portland 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 56 FINAL
Oregon 79
Grambling St 38 FINAL
Washington 86
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 42 FINAL
San Francisco 60


question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters