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Sam Champa looks for an opening against DeLaSalle Saturday night on the St. Cloud State University's Husky Field during the Class 4A state quarterfinals. PHOTO BY ADAM GRIM

DeLaSalle's Williams rushes for 6 touchdowns to end Lakers' season

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ST. CLOUD -  The start of the Class 4A state quarterfinals couldn’t have started out any better for the Detroit Lakes football team, as they were able to shoot out to a 7-0 lead after all three facets for the Lakers made key plays on DeLaSalle Saturday on St. Cloud State University’s Husky Field.

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But then the Lakers were introduced to senior Islander running back Chris Williams.

The shifty DeLaSalle running back Williams, who wears No. 28, put up numbers like another No. 28 does (hint: Adrian Peterson), by rushing for 271 yards on a workhorse-like 35 carries in the Islanders’ (10-1) 42-7 rout of the Lakers (9-2).  

Despite those numbers being impressive, it was Williams’ six touchdowns which stole the show.

“We knew going in, we were going to have a tough time stopping their running game,” said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher. “When they got it going, it was tough to stop. Williams is a great zone running back and was good at finding the hole.”

But the Lakers did have their opportunities to stake their claim to take an early lead, after the defense stopped the Islanders on third and 10 on the DL 49 to force a punt.

Instead, DeLaSalle attempted the fake punt, with punter Andrew Ajaluwa scurrying right. But the Laker special teams were up to the task and drug him down for no gain.

On DL’s first play from line of scrimmage, senior quarterback Michael Herzog took the option keeper and bustled down to the Islander 12 for a 39-yard pick-up.

On the next play, Herzog crossed the goal line for the Laker 7-0 lead after a Luke Payne extra-point kick.

The Lakers forced a punt on the Islanders’ next possession, but DeLaSalle regained possession on an interception by Isaac Hodge, who returned it to the DL 19.

Williams capped the drive with his first of six TDs from three yards out.

Even though the Islanders started ripping out yards to establish rhythm with their no-huddle offense, the Lakers still were moving the ball in the first quarter.

An explosive run by senior Jarett Nosal to the Islander 12 yard line, was nullified on a DL penalty. On DL’s next possession, a big completion by Herzog to senior slotback Casey Paskey inside the DeLaSalle 10 yard line, was dismissed on another Laker penalty.

“The penalties hurt and if we could have gotten off to a 14-0 lead, it could have changed the whole complexion of the game,” Motschenbacher said. “But you still have to give DeLaSalle a lot of credit, they are a heck of a team.”

The Islanders turned good field position into 14 second quarter points, which came on a pair of Williams’ touchdown runs of 11 and eight yards.

Williams controlled the Islanders’ possession in the second quarter by rushing the ball 12 times out of DeLaSalle’s 20 snapped plays from the line of scrimmage.

By then, the Islanders held a 20-7 halftime lead, with a whole bunch more of Williams coming in the second half.

The senior Islander, who was running effectively behind junior guard Drayton Carlberg – who has been offered by Rutgers and the University of Pittsburgh – touched the ball on all eight plays in the third quarter, which resulted in two more touchdown runs of 15 and six yards.

Both scoring series were set up by interceptions by Islander secondary players senior Cornell King and senior Alex Hempe.

Williams added one more touchdown in the fourth quarter from six yards out to end his night with the half a dozen scores.

Herzog churned out a team-high 107 yards on 26 carries, while the Islander defense was able to contain the perimeter runs of Nosal, who was limited to 16 yards on nine carries.

“We struggled with their physical play, which limited our rushing game,” Motschenbacher said.

The Islanders will face the Academy of Holy Angels in the semifinals, which beat Kasson-Mantorville 21-14.

With the second year in a row with his team finishing in the state playoffs, Motschenbacher credited his seniors for being the engine which drove the Lakers to a 19-3 record over the course of the last two seasons.

“The seniors on this year’s team were great leaders and they showed the younger kids how to do it and how to work in the offseason,” Motschenbacher said. “Now it’s up to the new leaders to continue it.”

Class 4A state quarterfinals at St. Cloud State University, Saturday, Nov. 10: Detroit Lakes vs. DeLaSalle

Lakers        7  0  0  0  - 7

Islanders    6 14 14 8 - 42

DL: Michael Herzog 12-yard run; Luke Payne kick. 9:20, 1st quarter

DLS: Chris Williams 3-yard run; kick failed. 5:05, 1st

DLS: Williams 11-yard run; Andrew Ajaluwa kick. 5:52, 2nd

DLS: Williams 8-yard run; Ajaluwa kick. 2:06, 2nd

DLS: Williams 15-yard run; Ajaluwa kick. 7:44, 3rd

DLS: Williams 6-yard kick. Ajaluwa kick. 5:56, 3rd

DLS: Williams 6-yard kick; Cornell King pass from Billy Hart. 6:44, 4th.

Rushing (att-yds-td) – DL: Michael Herzog 26-107-1; Jarett Nosal 9-16-0; Sam Champa 2-10-0; Casey Paskey 2-9-0; Parker Jackson 2-8-0; Christian Hedstrom 2-4-0. TOTAL: 43-154-1…DLS: Chris Williams 35-271-6; Cornell King 1-15-0; Billy Hart 9-8-0; Isaac Hodge 1-7-0; LeeVontae Cuff 1-3-0; Keenan Moore 1-0-0; Josh Weber 2-(-1)-0. TOTAL: 50-303-6.

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Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN. 
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