DL and TRF know each other well
After surviving a near upset Saturday against the No. 5 Albany Huskies, the Section 8-4A top-seeded Detroit Lakes football team is preparing for the next step of returning to the Class 4A state playoffs.
That next step will have to go through No. 2 Thief River Falls, which ran through No. 6 Rocori 44-16 Saturday.
The Section 8-4A championship will be a rematch between the Prowlers (7-2) and Detroit Lakes (8-1), after the Lakers defeated TRF 29-21 Sept. 13, on Mollberg Field.
But the roots go a little deeper between the two teams and rekindles a rivalry which thrived in the 1990’s, when the two teams met in a couple of section title games inside the Fargodome, the last being 1994.
Times have changed, though, as the title championship will be at Concordia College in Moorhead Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. with two teams geared up to make the state tournament.
The Lakers will be seeking their 13th state playoff appearance, while the Prowlers are in search of their third.
Last year, the Lakers claimed the Section 8-4A title for the first time in 10 years and after their 29-28 comeback victory over Albany, they are ready to start another potential state streak.
“We have a different team (after Albany), we know we can do it now,” said senior wideout and secondary player Casey Paskey. “We’ll be ready.”
The Prowlers rolled an overmatched Rocori, while piling up 30 points in the first half alone and forcing five interceptions.
The TRF rushing attack is balanced, with TyJuan Brown and Ian Lund anchoring the backfield, while Zeb Nelson has shown consistency in the passing game.
“They are a very good team and they’ve improved since the last time we played them,” said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher. “They can run the ball well and use play action off that. We’ll have to play some disciplined defense.”
The Lakers trailed to the Prowlers 15-14 at halftime during their Sept. 13 game, but senior quarterback Michael Herzog scored two touchdowns in the second half, while the DL defense stymied the Prowler offense to one score to seal the 29-21 victory.
Senior running back Jarett Nosal led the Lakers in rushing with 84 yards and scored on a 73-yard screen pass from Herzog in the first half.
Herzog added 69 yards rushing, while Lund paced TRF with 103 yards on 23 carries.
Since then, Brown has been used more in the rushing attack, as he picked up a game-high 114 yards on 14 carries against Rocori.
The Lakers have their effective one-two punch on the ground, as well, with Herzog at 955 yards on 141 carries and Nosal sitting at 879 yards on 101 carries for a lofty 8.7 yards per carry average.
Herzog found success against the Albany defense with the read option, as the Huskies were focused on stopping Nosal’s perimeter runs.
That allowed the DL quarterback to blow through big holes created by the Laker physical offensive line in the tune of a season-high 239 rushing yards on 31 carries.
Nosal still rushed for 58 yards on 15 attempts.
“Against Thief River Falls, it could be Jarett or any five other guys who could go off,” Herzog said. “We kind of went away from the things we did last year, which got us to the state tournament, but we went back to it (versus Albany).”
But just like in any other playoff team for any team, limiting mistakes is a must, because usually the squad which makes the least, wins the game.
“We need to be sharp in all facets of the game and limit our turnovers,” Motschenbacher said. “The last couple of games, we have been more disciplined in limiting our penalties and taking care of the ball.”