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Football Preview - Lakers look to stay on top of HOL

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Some added pages were flipped through in the Detroit Lakes offensive playbook last Friday in the Lakers' latest victory, but one thing remained the same -- tough defense.

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The Lakers have allowed just 13 points in their first three games, while limiting opposing offenses to just 204 yards per game.

But it's looking like the offense is starting to catch up to the dominating defensive play and that is only a good thing for the Class 4A No. 7 ranked Lakers, who are 3-0 for the first time in several years.

"The offensive line is more comfortable in what they are doing and they are settling in," said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher. "But we are still looking for consistency."

The Lakers opened up the passing game a bit in their 24-6 win in Thief River Falls Friday, as junior quarterback Michael Herzog threw for a season-high 157 yards.

He is now 14-34 for 301 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions on the season, while rushing for 217 yards on 59 carries.

"Those will get better," Motschenbacher said of the offensive numbers. "We have missed on a couple of big plays, but the offense is improving."

The offensive line -- led by senior Tyler Gebhart, junior Josh Weber, senior B.J. Johnson and senior center Andrew Brown -- has given Herzog good time in the pocket, while also controlling the line of scrimmage for a good push in the rushing game.

But once again the DL defense, which is coached by defensive coordinator Rob Nielsen, gave the spark which allowed the Lakers to pull away from the Prowlers for another Heart O'Lakes Conference win.

With time expiring in the first half and DL clinging to a 6-0 lead, sophomore secondary player Sam Champa picked off a floater thrown in the middle of the field, then sprinted 60 yards to put the Lakers up 12-0 with 17.6 seconds left to halftime.

That momentum resulted in DL controlling the second half on its way to a 24-6 victory.

With the Laker front line defensive attack playing well, Motschenbacher said the coaches are trying to develop solid depth to go behind them.

"We have been mixing in younger kids during the game and it's allowing us to develop that depth," the DL coach said. "The defense has been playing a good brand of team defense, everyone is doing their job and there haven't been any breakdowns.

"It's been a good overall team effort and the players have been tackling well."

The Lakers will look to improve to 4-0 and 3-0 in the conference when they visit winless Staples-Motley Friday.

The Cardinals have struggled defensively, allowing 116 points in their three games, while producing just 24 of their own.

But Motschenbacher sees a physical Staples-Motley team.

"They have some good looking athletes on the team, they are just struggling with their consistency," Motschenbacher said. It's a point Motschenbacher wants to relay to his team, that consistency is important.

"It's time for us to put an entire game together, we are no longer a young and inexperienced team," the DL coach said.

The Lakers are tied with East Grand Forks for the lead in the HOL North Conference, while there are four 3-0 teams in Section 8-4A, including No. 3 ranked Rocori, Fergus Falls and East Grand Forks.

Kickoff Friday will be at 7 p.m.

Laker stats

The 2012 Detroit Lakes football stats: Record 3-0.

Detroit Lakes 22, Hermantown 7

Detroit Lakes 21, Pequot Lakes 0

Detroit Lakes 24, Thief River Falls 6

Lakers 67, Opponents 13

Opponents - 7 0 0 6 -- 13

Detroit Lakes - 14 19 14 20 -- 67

Scoring:

Michael Herzog: 30 points (5 rushing touchdowns).

Stephen Erb: 12 points (1 rushing, 1 receiving touchdown).

Sam Champa: 9 points (1 interception return touchdown, 3-4 PAT kicks).

Derek Long: 6 points (1 receiving touchdown).

Kirk McLeod: 6 points (1 receiving touchdown).

A.J. Matter: 4 points (2 2-point conversions catches).

DL Opp

First Downs 27 30

By Rushing 20 17

By passing 5 10

By penalty 2 3

Net Yards Rushing 454 368

No. rushes 116 96

Yards gained 554 415

Yards lost 100 47

Yards per rush avg. 3.9 3.8

Net Yards Passing 301 244

No. passes 34 70

Completed 14 23

Incomplete 17 43

Had intercepted 3 4

Interception yards 101 2

Total Offensive Plays 166 189

TOTAL NET YARDS 755 612

Kickoffs 13 5

Yards 571 209

Ave. kickoff 43.9 41.8

Kickoffs Returned 3 8

Yards 43 109

Ave. return 14.3 13.6

Fumbles 7 8

Fumbles lost 1 3

Penalties 21 16

Yards 180 118

* * *

Individual Rushing

DL --

Player NR YG YL Net

Michael Herzog 59 298 81 217

Jarret Nosal 48 202 15 187

Stephen Erb 4 29 0 29

Casey Paskey 2 23 0 23

Brandon Dahring 2 2 2 0

Dylan Bremseth 1 0 2 (-2)

* * *

Individual Passing

Player No Comp Inc Int Yds TD

DL --

Herzog 34 14 17 3 301 3

* * *

Pass Receiving

Player No. Yds. TD

DL --

Derek Long 5 143 1

Kirk McLeod 6 120 1

Stephen Erb 1 17 1

Brandon Dahring 2 21 0

* * *

Kickoffs

Player No. Yds. Ave.

DL --

Sam Champa 9 361 40.1

Christian Tigges 4 210 52.5

* * *

Kickoffs Returned

Player No. Yds. Ave.

DL --

Erb 2 40 20

McLeod 1 3 3

* * *

Pass Interceptions

Player No. Yds.

DL -

Champa 1 60

Bremseth 1 41

Erb 2 0

* * *

Sacks

Player No. Yds. lost

DL -

Brandon Johnson 1 13

Nick Groth 1 5.

Heart O'Lakes Northern Conference standings (conf.-overall)

Detroit Lakes 2-0 3-0

East Grand Forks 2-0 3-0

Perham 1-0 3-0

Crookston 1-1 2-1

Thief River Falls 0-1 1-2

Pequot Lakes 0-2 1-2

Park Rapids 0-2 0-3

HOL stat leaders (top 3)

Passing (comp-att-yds-td-ints): Alex Ziegler (Roseau) 31-51-541-7-1; Redmond (PL) 26-71-431-4-5; Jordan Hein (Perh) 26-50-400-4-2.

Rushing (att-yds-td): Josh Edlund (Crk) 64-764-11; Keedon Sweetney (Warroad) 74-533-7; Ryan Boushee (EGF) 58-434-4.

Receiving (rec-yds-td): Parker Busse (10-114-0; Trevor Johnson (Ros) 9-164-1; Tyler Tappe (PL) 9-130-1.

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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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