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Laker senior Casey Paskey (26) was a vital playmaker on the offense this season. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

Football: The 2013 campaign led to 2nd straight state playoffs

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That state tradition is once again being built by the Detroit Lakes football team, after the Lakers earned their second-straight berth into the Class 4A playoffs this past season.

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The 2012 and 2013 group of seniors will be looked upon as the igniter to another potential run to the state playoffs, after the Lakers were a combined 19-3 over the course of the last two seasons.

The current run includes two Heart O’Lakes Conference championships, a pair of Section 8-4 A titles and two trips to the state playoffs, where DL unfortunately lost in the quarterfinals both times.

“The table has been set for future teams by the last two groups of seniors,” said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher.

“They showed the younger players what it takes and the hard work ethic needed, not just during the season, but during the offseason, as well.”

The Lakers began the 2013 season with a furious start, by outscoring their opponents by a 180-59 margin, as they bolted off to a 5-0 start.

But injuries to a pair of main defenders in seniors Brandon Dahring at linebacker and Josh Weber on the defensive line, did take a toll on the defense.

“Brandon is one of our best defenders and losing Josh for most of the year definitely took away from our defense,” Motschenbacher said.

“But then again, it allowed some other guys to step up in their place.”

DL suffered its only loss of the regular season to Perham 14-0 under some unique circumstances, when the game was postponed to Saturday afternoon, after a quarter was played Friday night due to lightning.

But DL still earned a share of the HOL title and the top seed in the Section 8-4 A playoffs, where the fireworks were just about to begin.

An amazing comeback in the section semifinals on Mollberg Field over Albany sparked the Lakers, as they held onto a 43-29 victory over Thief River Falls in the finals.

That led to a very tough matchup with DeLaSalle in the state quarterfinals, which ultimately ended DL’s season with a 42-7 loss.

“I was pleased with the season, we had a fast start and toward the end of the season, we had a better team,” Motschenbacher said. “We were in every game, but just couldn’t pull it out against Perham.

“Early in the year, the defense carried us, then we started to get our rhythm on offense a little later.”

The end of the 2013 season also marks the end of senior Michael Herzog’s run as a Laker.

He ends his prep career as one of the most prolific scorers and rushers in DL history, while leaving Mollberg Field as DL’s all-time leading scorer.

Herzog’s 326 points demolishes Todd Steinmetz’ 278 mark, while the Laker senior also leaves as DLHS’ second all-time leading rusher with 3,158 yards, only trailing Corey Brogren’s 3,933 yards.

Herzog also proved to be a workhorse during his tenure, by toting the ball 601 times, which is also a Laker all-time record.

“He will be the first to tell you that he couldn’t have done it alone,” Motschenbacher said.

“But he worked extremely hard to get where he is.”

Herzog’s rushing attempts were lightened from his junior campaign, where he had 299 carries, compared to his 2013 number of 196.

That was because senior running back Jarett Nosal was so effective, rushing for 1,041 yards on 127 carries.

Herzog finished with a team-high 1,216 yards on 196 carries.

The duo also was a touchdown-producing machine, as Herzog plunged past the pylons 20 times, while Nosal had 10 rushing TDs.

“Jarett had just a tremendous season,” Motschenbacher said. “The two fed off each other very well, but it really came down to the guys up front.”

The offensive line had the ability to control games and open big holes for their 1,000-yard rushers.

If they needed four yards for a first down, more than likely they would pick up five or six.

“We were able to be consistent on the offensive line and they played solid all season,” Motschenbacher said.

The Lakers also featured good perimeter playmakers on the outside, as junior wideout Ryan Cihak broke out later in the season and finished with a second team-high nine grabs for 116 yards and a touchdown, which came in the section finals.

Senior Casey Paskey also was a vital cog in the Laker offensive machine. He finished with a team-high 16 catches for 248 yards and a touchdown.

“Casey was a very important part of the offense,” Motschenbacher said. “He was a key blocker down field, while being a leader in the secondary on defense and had just a fantastic season.”

Junior Sam Champa also was key in the secondary and led the team with a half a dozen interceptions, while being a main component on special teams with his 50.6 yards per kickoff average.

“We had solid special teams and Sam’s kickoffs usually pinned opponents inside their 25 yard line, those are hidden yards,” the DL coach said.

“Luke Payne also was big with extra-point kicks, missing only two (30-32).”

Senior Kirby Siewert was also a mainstay on the defensive line and created havoc for the opponents’ offense.

“This was a team where everyone contributed in some way,” Motschenbacher said. “Either in practice or running the scout team, everyone had their hand in the success.”

Detroit Lakes 2013 Season stats: 9-2

Lakers 35, Fargo North 20

Lakers 40, Crookston 6

Lakers 29, Thief River Falls 21

Lakers 48, Staples-Motley 6

Lakers 28, East Grand Forks 6

Lakers 14, Park Rapids 7

Perham 14, Detroit Lakes 0

Lakers 18, Pequot Lakes 7

Section playoffs:

Lakers 29, Albany 28 (semi’s)

Lakers 43, Thief River Falls 29 (Championship)

Class 4A state playoffs: DeLaSalle 42, Detroit Lakes 7 (Quarterfinals)

Lakers 291, Opponents 186

Detroit Lakes  -102  76 56   57 - 291

Opp               -24     59    34 69 - 186 

SCORING

Michael Herzog - 122 points (20 rushing touchdowns, 1 2-point reception)

Jarett Nosal - 60 points (10 rushing TD)

Luke Payne - 30 points (30-32 PAT kicks)

Casey Paskey - 20 points (1 rushing, 1 kickoff return, 1 receiving touchdowns, 1 2-point conversion pass)

Christian Hedstrom - 18 points (2 rush, 1 receiving TD)

Michael Herrmann - 8 points (1 receiving TD, 2-point conversion pass)

Ryan Cihak - 8 points (1 receiving touchdown, 1 2-point pass)

Sam Champa - 6 points (1 kickoff return)

Brandon Dahring - 6 points (1 INT. return)

Josh Bollig - 6 points (1 rushing TD)

Forrest Schleske - 6 points (1 rushing TD)

Andrew Dahl - 1 points (1-1 PAT kick)

                                   DL             Opp First Downs                137       112

By Rushing                 110        79

By passing                  21         28

By penalty                   6          5

Net Yards Rushing      2670     2277

    No. rushes             400       435                               

    Yards gained               2842         2508

    Yards lost              172       231

    Yards per rush avg.  6.7        5.2

Net Yards Passing       745       780                   

     No. passes             140           143

    Completed              48         56

    Incomplete              84         74

Had intercepted           8              13

    Interception yards    216       153

Total Offensive Plays    572       683

TOTAL NET YARDS       3415     3057

Kickoffs                      53         37

    Yards                   2620     1275

    Ave. kickoff            49.4      34.4

Kickoffs Returned         26         42

    Yards                    483       674

    Ave. return            18.6      16.0

Punts                        32          -

    Yards                   1004        -

    Avg. punt              31.4         -

Fumbles                     23         24

    Fumbles lost            9         10

Penalties                    50         58

    Yards                    426       413

Individual Rushing

                          NR    YG   YL   Net

Michael Herzog      196     1303   87    1216

Jarett Nosal          127     1116   75    1041

Christian Hedstrom 19    155  12   143

Forrest Schleske     17    93    0    93

Rayn Jacobson        5     62    3    59

Parker Jackson       10    58    0    58

Casey Paskey          8     41    4    37

Sam Champa          6     28    0    28

Brandon Dahring     2      8    0     8

Nick Aguilar            3      6    0     6

Dylan Bremseth      3      7    3     4

Rayn Jacobson        2      3    0     3

Josh Bollig             2      1    5   (-4)

Ryan Cihak             1      0    7   (-7)

Individual Passing

                       No Comp Inc Int  Yds  TD

Herzog             135 47  80  8  714  4

Hedstrom           5    1   4   0   31   1

Pass Receiving

                             No.  Yds.   TD

Casey Paskey            16   248    1

Ryan Cihak                9   116    1

Nosal                       7   117    1

Christian Hedstrom     6   114    1

Michael Herrmann      5   107    1

Champa                    4    29     0

Kickoffs                              No.  Yds.  Ave.

Champa                   52    2630    50.6

Andrew Dahl              1    49     49

Kickoffs Returned                              No.  Yds.  Ave.

Champa                   12   253  21.1

Paskey                     8   220  27.5

Herrmann                 2    15    7.5

Cihak                       1    13    13

Dylan Bremseth         1     2      2

Punts                              No.  Yds.  Ave.

Paskey                    26   823  31.7

Boyd Bradbury           5   146  29.2

Carter Schwan           1    35    35

Pass Interceptions

                                No.      Yds.

Champa                       6       123

Ryan Cihak                   3         3

Dahring                        1        83

Kirby Siewert                 1         7

Paskey                         1         0

Hedstrom                     1         0

Sacks

                                No.   Yds. lost

Forrest Schleske           3.5       27

Kirby Siewert               3.5       20

Luke Eggebraaten          2        15

Bobby Welty                 2        14

Ty Heinecke                  1         4

Bremseth                     1         3

Sam Voz                      .5         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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