Laker football gets physical in season opening victory (Revised)
(Fargo, N.D.) It took a half of surviving the simmering heat, but when the sun went down, the Detroit Lakes football team started to roll.
The Lakers used a dominating second half to down home team Fargo North 35-20 Friday in DL’s season opener.
“We were playing a lot of people in the first half because it was so hot, but we eventually started to wear them out in the second half,” said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher.
One of the reasons the Spartans started to run on empty in the fourth quarter – where the Lakers scored 21 points - was due to DL’s massive offensive line, which blew open holes for senior running back Jarett Nosal and senior quarterback Michael Herzog.
Nosal had three rushes of 35-plus yards and five runs of 10 or more, which keyed his 171 rushing yards on just 12 carries for a lofty 14.25 yards per rush.
Herzog added 19 carries for 81 yards, while passing for 54 yards by going 7-15 and one touchdown.
“It was all due to blocking,” Nosal said. “Our line was just blasting everyone off the line of scrimmage. By the fourth quarter, (Fargo North) was worn down. ”
The was apparent, as DL scored three times in the final quarter and more importantly, answered both of the Spartans’ touchdowns in the frame.
Fargo North pulled to within one score on senior quarterback Avery Thompson’s 25-yard TD strike to junior receiver Mike Boutain. That was coupled along with a two-point conversion on a pass to senior Ty Sanford to make it a one possession game at 28-20.
The Lakers answered promptly, putting together a 54-yard drive after a failed onside kick attempt by the Spartans with 3:21 left in the game.
Nosal and Herzog did all the damage, using huge holes created by the physical play of the offensive line.
Nosal had runs of 13 and 33 yards, the latter bringing the ball to the 10 yards line, where Herzog capped it with a rush up the middle untouched to put DL back up by two possessions 35-20.
Senior kicker Luke Payne converted his fifth consecutive extra-point, as well.
On Fargo North’s ensuing series, Laker secondary player Luke Eggebraaten put an exclamation point on the game with a bone-rattling hit on a Spartan receiver, who was turning up the field, but instead was laid out flat.
Eggebraaten even recovered the fumble to put the game away.
“He was saying all game he was looking for a big hit like that,” Nosal said. “He was sniffing for blood. That’s the type of team we want to become, more physical.”
The fourth quarter started with the Lakers keeping their drive mostly on the ground, as senior Casey Paskey returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards to the DL 49.
The offensive line took care of the rest, as Nosal went 13 yards around left end on the first play, followed by four straight Herzog carries which netted 23 yards to set his team on the Fargo North 15.
On third and seven, Herzog rolled left untouched and found a wide open Christian Hedstrom to put DL up 21-12.
After an eight-yard punt by Fargo North to give DL ideal field position at the Spartan 38 on the next possession, Nosal ripped off a 38-yard run. The drive ended with Herzog diving into the end zone on the next play for the 28-12 advantage.
The Lakers trailed 6-0 after the first quarter, but took a 7-6 advantage with a six-play, 60-yard drive, highlighted by a pair of 12 and 13-yard rushes by Nosal and capped by a zigzagging run by Herzog through the Spartan defense for a 21-yard TD run.
DL is coming off a 10-1 2012 season, with the majority of their team returning, including one of their biggest offensive lines in quite some time.
“Hopefully we will be much more of a physical team this year,” Motschenbacher said. “We left some passes out there tonight and we’ll work on that. But I’m proud of the guys for the way they kept on working through the game.”
Special teams also played a big part for the Lakers, including Paskey’s kickoff return to the Fargo North’s 49 to set up DL’s first touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
But Paskey also put his punting skills on display, netting 129 yards on three punts for an average of 43 yards per attempt. He pinned the Spartans inside the 20 twice, as well.
“Casey is a good punter and those are hidden yards, but important yards,” Motschenbacher included.
Fargo North was also hindered repeatedly by illegal formation penalties, as the Spartans racked up 11 infractions for 75 yards. DL had five penalties for 40 yards.
The Lakes will host Crookston for their season opener Friday, with a 7 p.m. start slated at Mollberg Field.
Detroit Lakes at Fargo North, Friday, Aug. 30.
Lakers 0 7 7 21 – 35
Spartans 6 0 0 14 – 20
FN: Seth Brenneman 10-yard run; kick failed. 55.9, 1st quarter.
DL: Michael Herzog 21-yard run; Luke Payne kick. 6:39, 2nd.
DL: Herzog 7-yard run; Payne kick. 6:24, 3rd.
FN: Willy Roman 12-yard pass from Avery Thompson; run failed. 11:09, 4th.
DL: Christian Hedstrom 17-yard pass from Herzog; Payne kick. 7:55, 4th.
DL: Herzog 4-yard run; Payne kick. 6:26, 4th.
FN: Mike Boutain 25-yard pass from Thompson; Ty Sanford pass from Thompson. 3:26, 4th.
DL: Herzog 10-yard run; Payne kick. 1:25, 4th.
Rushing (att-yds-yds lost-net): Jarett Nosal 12-175-4-171; Michael Herzog 19-96-15-81; Casey Paskey 1-10-0-10. TOTAL: 32-281-19-262.
Passing (att-comp-inc-int-yds-td): Herzog 15-7-8-0-54-1.
Receiving (rec-yds-td): Paskey 3-10-0; Sam Champa 2-16-0; Nosal 1-11-0; Christian Hedstrom 1-17-1.