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Senior running back Dustin Rietsema (17) finds some running room against Duluth East Wednesday night at Mollberg Field.

Lakers overwhelmed by No. 7 Duluth East

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Lakers overwhelmed by No. 7 Duluth East
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

It's a good time to move on to the playoffs for the Detroit Lakes football team, and forget the regular season finale.

The No. 7 Class 4A-ranked Duluth East Greyhounds clinched the North Country Conference for the first time since 2005 with a crushing 51-8 defeat of the Lakers Wednesday on Mollberg Field.

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It's a loss which can be forgotten, since the Lakers only have five short days to prepare for the Section 8-4A playoffs, which start Tuesday at home.

The 5-3 DL squad earned the No. 3 seed and will host No. 6 seeded Sartell Tuesday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

"(Duluth East) was just too physical, we couldn't match up against them offensively or defensively," said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher. "We caught a good team on a good night."

Duluth East's massive offensive line was able to control the line of scrimmage, especially on the interior, where senior quarterback Skyler Murray found plenty of running room up the middle to pace the Greyhound rushing attack.

The Duluth East ground game picked up 416 yards, while the aerial attack went for 103, for a total of 519 total yards against the Lakers.

Murray made a living running through wide lanes between the tackles, opened by the big line of center Jamie Perala-Dewey (6-2, 200) and tackles Hal Spot (6-2, 285) and Phil Norman (6-5, 270).

The Greyhound quarterback racked up 199 yards on 14 carries for a lofty average of 14.2 yards per carry, and four scoring on runs of 31, 14, five and 13 yards.

"Our offensive line is just so huge, so I have to give them all the credit," Murray said. "I just ran straight between the tackles. They were executing their blocks well the entire game."

The Greyhounds came in dominating their first seven opponents, outscoring them by a margin of 270-59, to bring in a 7-0 record.

"We came in needing almost a perfect performance, with no mistakes and match their scoring," Motschenbacher said. "We just couldn't match up with them physically, and they were a better team."

The Lakers' first three drives looked as if DL was going to make it a close contest, by answering Duluth East's first score of the game left in the first quarter.

Senior fullback Dustin Rietsema keyed the 63-yard drive with a 56-yard run through the middle of the defense and down the left sideline to the Greyhound four.

Rietsema capped the drive with a plunge into the end zone on third and goal.

The Lakers effectively moved the ball by spreading out the East defense, which included quarterback Reed Oistad going to sophomore wideout Josh Stalberger for a couple of connections, netting 69 yards.

But the Greyhounds continued to pound the ball, picking up big chunks of yardage up the middle, as Murray tore off runs of 26 and 23 yards to set up his second touchdown of the first quarter. That came on a 14-yard off-tackle run and a 15-8 lead.

"Our six guys up front are the strength of our team the last two years," said Duluth East head coach Joe Hietala. "Skyler likes to run the ball, and our blocking coaches have done a great job teaching our linemen how to recognize their blocking."

The Lakers were poised to strike for the tying drive, as Oisted opened the march from their own 36 and promptly hit Stalberger for a 39-yard pickup.

The Lakers drove to the East 13, before a Greyhound defensive end blew up a pitch play from Oistad to Rietsema, snagging the ball right out of the DL fullback's arms for the interception, to kill yet another Laker red zone opportunity.

DL has been suffering from the red zone inefficiency, as they came up dry twice inside the Wahpeton 20 yard line the week before.

That change of momentum built to even a higher pitch, as Duluth tore off big chunks of yardage to score eight plays later.

The Greyhounds had pickups of 10 or more yards on five different plays, which were capped on Murray's third touchdown from five yards out, putting the score at 23-8.

"I saw that as a big turning point of the game," Murray said of the interception. "It was big we scored after the turnover."

The shell-shocked Lakers were hit one more time with a Greyhound touchdown in the first half, this one coming after a punt and a five-play drive -- keyed by a 30-yard run by Murray and capped by his fourth and final score from 13 yards out, to up the ante to 37-8.

Murray collected 184 yards in the first half, as he added a 19-yard touchdown throw to Travis Larson in the third quarter.

DL was held to 141 yards on the ground, while Oistad was held to a season-low eight yards rushing and 73 passing.

Rietsema had his second-straight 100-yard rushing game, with 103 on 15 carries.

The regular season ends with DL at 5-3, while Duluth East brought home the conference banner.

"It's pretty special winning the conference, it's a piece of history," Hietala said.

Sartell a familiar playoff foe for DL

For the fifth time in the last decade, the Lakers will face Sartell in the Section 8-4A playoffs.

Thus far, the Sabres hold the upper hand with a 3-1 record versus DL, including a win over the Lakers in last year's Section championship game.

Sartell has struggled a bit this season in a tough Central Lakes Conference, earning the sixth seed.

"They return a lot of players from last year's section championship team, and despite the season not turning out like they probably expected it to be, they will be a very well coached team and ready to play," Motschenbacher said. "We'll be ready, too. Even though we lost our last two games, we did some good things in them.

"The Duluth East game was a good game heading into the playoffs, because we found out how hard and physical we'll have to play."

The section top seed is Fergus Falls, with an undefeated record. The Otters will face the victor between No. 4 Rocori and No. 5 St. Cloud Apollo, while No. 2 Sauk Rapids-Rice and No. 7 Little Falls will face the DL-Sartell winner.

"It doesn't matter this year what seed you are in the section," Motschenbacher said. "This is a wide open section and on any given night, any team will be able to win."

The semifinals will be at the high seeds Saturday, beginning at 7 p.m., while the championship game is Saturday at St. John's University, starting at 11 a.m.

Laker results

Duluth East at Detroit Lakes, Wednesday, Oct. 15.

Greyhounds 51, Lakers 8

Duluth East - 15 22 14 0 -- 51

Detroit Lakes - 8 0 0 0 -- 8

DE - Skyler Murray 31-yard run; Murray run. 6:46, 1st quarter.

DL - Dustin Rietsema 1-yard run; Josh Stalberger pass from Reed Oistad. 4:09, 1st.

DE - Murray 14-yard run; Matt Cooper kick. 31.4, 1st.

DE - Murray 5-yard run; Connor Kolodge run; 7:01, 2nd.

DE - Erik Neilsen 9-yard run; Henry Roningen kick. 4:01, 2nd.

DE - Murray 13-yard run; Roningen kick. 1:16, 2nd.

DE - Travis Larson 19-yard pass from Murray; Roningen kick.

DE - Neilsen 25-yard run; Roningen kick. 2:13, 3rd.

DL DE

First Downs 9 16

By Rushing 5 13

By passing 3 3

By penalty 1 0

Net Yards Rushing 141 416

No. rushes 34 43

Yards gained 149 440

Yards lost 11 24

Net Yards Passing 91 103

No. passes 17 7

Completed 4 6

Incomplete 10 1

Had intercepted 3 0

Interception yards 0 0

Total Offensive Plays 51 50

TOTAL NET YARDS 229 519

Kickoffs 2 8

Yards 76 354

Ave. kickoff 38 44.3

Kickoffs Returned 7 1

Yards 96 7

Ave. return 13.7 7

Fumbles 0 4

Fumbles lost 0 0

Penalties 2 7

Yards 20 55

* * *

Individual Rushing

DL --

Player NR YG YL Net

Dustin Rietsema 15 103 0 103

Brett Provo 1 12 0 12

Reed Oistad 7 13 5 8

Joe Mollberg 4 14 6 8

Nate Baker 1 3 0 3

Alex Feldt 1 3 0 3

Aaron Gnoinsky 1 1 0 1

Duluth East -

Skyler Murray 14 210 11 199

Connor Kolodge 13 113 2 111

Erik Neilsen 8 71 0 71

Travis Larson 1 19 0 19

Nick Toscano 3 12 0 12

Evan Rollo 1 9 0 9

Andrew Florestano 1 6 0 6

Henry Roningren 1 0 0 0

Zach Farmer 1 0 11 (-11)

* * *

Individual Passing

Player No Comp Inc Int Yds TD

DL --

Oistad 10 3 6 1 73 0

Mollberg 7 1 4 2 18 0

Duluth East -

Murray 7 6 1 0 103 1

* * *

Pass Receiving

Player No. Yds. TD

DL --

Josh Stalberger 2 69 0

Mark Labat 1 18 0

Connor McLeod 1 4 0

Duluth East -

Travis Larson 2 26 1

Kolodge 2 16 0

Jon Tisak 1 34 0

Max Medlin 1 26 0

* * *

Kickoffs

Player No. Yds. Ave.

DL --

Brock Johnson 2 76 38

Duluth East -

Toscano 8 354 44.3

* * *

Kickoffs Returned

Player No. Yds. Ave.

DL --

Gnoinsky 2 34 17

Max Knoll 2 30 15

McLeod 1 15 15

Rietsema 1 11 11

Edgar Negron 1 6 6

Duluth East -

Evan Rollo 1 7 7

* * *

Pass Interceptions

Player No. Yds.

DL -

None

Duluth East -

Kolodge 1 0

Buma Foncham 1 0

Medlin 1 0

* * *

Sacks

Player No. Yds. lost

DL -

None

Duluth East -

Ben Hillmanm 1 5.

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