Lakers to host Staples-Motley for Homecoming
BY BRIAN WIERIMA
The Detroit Lakes football team looks to extend their Heart O’Lakes Conference winning streak to 11 games, when winless Staples-Motley visits for the Lakers’ Homecoming tilt Friday.
The Lakers took a big step last Friday in defending their 2012 HOL championship with a hard-fought 29-21 victory over visiting Thief River Falls, a game which could prove to be an eye-opener for the undefeated DL team.
“We didn’t play well up front, but those are correctable problems,” said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher.
“We just had flat-out mistakes and we are working on becoming smarter football players.”
The midseason point will come against a struggling Staples-Motley team, which is 0-3 and has been shut out twice this year, while being outscored by a 123-33 margin.
But it’s not the Cardinals the Lakers will be focusing on Friday in front of the Homecoming crowd, it will be themselves.
“We just want to get better as a team each week, that’s our main concern,” Motschenbacher said.
“I’ve seen good improvement, but we need to focus on eliminating our mistakes and play more disciplined.”
The Lakers had the opportunity for the first time to really open up their offense against the Prowlers, which were intent on stopping the rushing attack.
Senior quarterback Michael Herzog took some steps forward as a pocket passer by going 5-10 for 162 yards for one touchdown, but had two interceptions.
On the season, the quarterback is 14-29 for 263 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
But the payoff for the DL offense is still their potent rushing attack, where Herzog and senior running back Jarett Nosal are each averaging 100 yards per game.
Nosal has a slight edge with 306 yards on 32 carries (9.6 ypc), while Herzog comes in with 303 yards on 38 attempts (7.9 ypc).
Herzog also has been DL’s drive capper, with 11 rushing touchdowns already this season.
But downfield weapons are starting to emerge, with senior Casey Paskey leading the way with five catches for 94 yards, while each of Nosal and junior Christian Hedstrom have received Herzog’s touchdown receptions.
Senior Michael Herrmann also made some plays against Thief River Falls, by hauling in three first down passes for 44 total yards.
“I feel we have a lot of things we can do if defenses are trying to stop our run,” Motschenbacher said.
The defense also has been opportunistic by causing eight turnovers, for a plus-four turnover ratio.
Thus far, the Lakers have outscored their opponents by a hefty 104-47 margin, proving the defense has had a bend, but don’t break mentality, after giving up 5.2 yards per rush and a total of 881 yards for a 293 yards per game average.
The Lakers’ depth is also being tested on defense, with the loss of one of their better defenders in senior linebacker Brandon Dahring, who injured his knee.
But several younger players, such as junior Parker Jackson, have stepped up to the challenge and had a solid performance against a hard-nosed TRF team.
Special teams also have been an integral part of setting up positive field position for the Lakers, with Paskey averaging 44.8 yards per punt, while junior Sam Champa has a booming kickoff average of 51.4 yards.
Senior Luke Payne also has been solid on extra-point kicks, going 10-12 in that category.
The Lakers will kickoff their Homecoming game at 7 p.m.