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Good luck, Lakers: Finally getting to see state game

Growing up, I've gotten blessed with a lot of cool opportunities.

I got to go watch the girls' basketball team go to state, twice. Seeing local kids play in places like the Target Center is pretty awesome, but one experience I never got to witness was our football team going to state.

After winning in 2001, and a dud state appearance in 2004, our football team has been kept out of the state tournament year after year, and I've been patiently waiting for the opportunity to get to see it, and this year (my senior year) is finally the year!

Thursday I was sitting in school minding my own business when I remembered the section championship was at 8 that night. I kind of panicked because I had no ride there, and everyone who was going already had plans. I texted my friend Darrin and asked him if he wanted to go, and he said yes. So I found a ride last minute, and went to Fargo to watch the Lakers play Rocori.

It was weird for me when I got to the dome, because I haven't actually watched a Laker football game the entire year, and I wasn't expecting to see the kind of talent I saw. I grew up playing football with these kids, and considering we were 2-6 in eighth grade, the level of improvement was indescribable. It definitely made me wish I kept playing football.

Anyway, I guess I wasn't really expecting DL to win, but the first play of the game was like a 50 yard pass from quarterback Michael Herzog, and I had a feeling I may have misjudged them.

The Lakers came out on fire, scoring four touchdowns in the first half for a 29-0 lead.

The second half was a totally different story though. The Lakers kept their 29 point lead until around 5:00 left in the 3rd quarter when Rocori quarterback Mack Mueller finally found an open target in the end zone for their first score of the game.

Rocori slowly started gaining momentum after that. They scored another touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter to make the score 29-14. There was about 6:00 left in the game and I turned to Darrin and jokingly said, "Wow dude, what if they actually came back?" Darrin responded with a straight face: "Anything is possible, dude."

The defense kind of collapsed after that, letting another touchdown in making it 29-20 (they missed the extra point).

The Lakers got the ball back, and weren't able to keep it too long before Rocori got it back with a little under two minutes left. Rocori had about 60 yards to get a touchdown, and right away QB Mueller stepped back and launched a perfect pass over the middle of the field for a 60-yard touchdown. The two point conversion was also good, making the score 29-28.

It all came down to the onside kick. It was close, but the Lakers recovered. Now all they had to do was run the clock out. They got lucky because Rocori ran out of time outs, and there was enough time to let the clock run out, by about two seconds. If Rocori would have gotten the ball back, they very well might have won.

The Lakers won the game, but the whole place was so shocked that they almost lost, it was almost quiet. I'm pretty pumped I'm going to get to watch my fellow classmates bring pride back to the high school by playing in the state tourney for the first time in eight years. I want to wish them luck, as I'll be there cheering them on in St. Cloud on Saturday when they take on Princeton.

Jonah Bowe is a senior at Detroit Lakes High School.