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Lakers recover well after 0-2 start

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sports Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

After suffering an 0-2 start, the Detroit Lakes football team did the best thing it could do in those circumstances -- win the next seven games in a row.

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The two losses the Lakers were hit with were on the different end of the spectrum, the first being a 23-21 loss to Shanley on the game's last play, while the second being a 49-7 throttling in Bismarck, N.D.

"I was actually pleased with how we played against a quality team like Shanley in that first game," said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher. "We did everything we had to do, we just came up a play short."

After the beating in Bismarck, which was keyed by a wind-aided first quarter and a huge offensive line by the North Dakota team, the Lakers didn't feel the sting of defeat until the Section 8-4A semifinals in a 34-13 loss to Alexandria.

The three teams which beat DL currently have a combined record of 25-5, with Shanley (10-0) and Bismarck (8-2) each having played in the state semifinals this past weekend, while Alexandria (7-3) vying for a state berth after playing Sauk Rapids-Rice in the section championship game Saturday.

"They guys kept upbeat after the Bismarck game and played an outstanding game against Grand Rapids the next week," Motschenbacher said.

The Lakers stumped a then-state ranked Grand Rapids team 27-6, while holding in check a high-flying Thunderhawk passing attack.

From there, DL outscored their opponents by a 231-87, usually keyed by a quit start in the first half. The Lakers outscored their opponents in 10 games 118-35 in the first quarter and 93-68 in the second.

The rushing attack was established first, mostly coming on the legs of junior quarterback Joe Mollberg and junior fullback Alex Mason.

The duo formed a formidable one-two punch which could attack both the perimeter and middle of the defensive line.

Mollberg finished with a team-leading 1,032 yards on 176 carries (5.7 ypc), while Mason was second with 673 yards.

Mason didn't lose one yard during the season after 119 carries, as well.

"We zig-zagged on offense early on, defenses either gave us the middle with our fullback or sometimes we could hit the perimeter or turn to our passing game."

Mollberg started to ignite the aerial attack and finished with 1,015 yards, while completing 53-103, with six interceptions and seven touchdowns.

The junior QB finished with a rating of 84.405, while completing 51.5 percent of his passes for 9.854 yards per completion.

Mollberg's 124 points, in the form of 20 rushing touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversion runs, ranks him second all-time on the single-season scoring list, tied with Chris Fossen in 1988 and behind Todd Steinmetz of 1996 and Tim Serviss of 2002 with 138 points each.

"He just got more experience and the game slowed down for him," Motschenbacher said of his two-year starting QB. "He was able to start calling plays at the line of scrimmage, too, and that makes a big difference for the offense.

"I still think there's a ways to go for Joe, so he can get even better."

Mollberg's big target for the season was senior wideout Josh Stalberger, who hauled in 25 receptions for 423 yards and three touchdowns.

"Those two have been together now for two years and Josh stepped up his game this year," Motschenbacher included. "Defenses were aware of him and if people committed to the run, Josh was 1-on-1. If defenses play on the backside, that would benefit our rushing game."

There were also a bevy of weapons on the Laker offense in the form of junior Brian Labat, who had only six catches, but for 229 yards for a hefty 38.7 yards per catch.

Slotbacks Logan and Nate Baker also provided good perimeter speed around the ends, thus keeping defenses honest on not committing to the middle to stop Mason.

"Brian had a tremendous season on both offense and defense as a linebacker," the DL coach said. "We'll be looking for big things from him next year."

The DL defense also was a progression of improvement as a unit.

The defense forced 21 turnovers, including 14 interceptions -- with Rick Hutchinson picking off four and Erik Larson three.

"I thought our defense, as a whole, just got better and better each week," Motschenbacher said. "Alexandria was just a step ahead of us physically in the semifinal game."

Motschenbacher also gave credit to his senior class for good leadership and is looking to the junior and sophomores to carry a hard work ethic into the offseason.

"We'll need to get a little bigger, a little stronger and a little faster," he said. "Our goal this year was to give ourselves a chance in the section championship game and we fell a little short. But overall, it was a good season, with a good showing by our seniors."

Laker results

Detroit Lakes 2010 season stats: 7-3.

Shanley 23, Lakers 21

Bismarck 49, Lakers 7

Lakers 27, Grand Rapids 6

Lakers 38, Fargo Davies 2

Lakers 34, Duluth Central 17

Lakers 28, Grand Forks Red River 14

Lakers 39, Thief River Falls 22

Lakers 55, Duluth East 32

Lakers 37, St. Cloud Apollo 0 (playoffs)

Alexandria 34, Lakers 13 (playoffs).

Lakers 299, Opponents 199

Opponents - 35 68 35 61 -- 165

Detroit Lakes - 118 93 50 38 -- 299

Scoring

Joe Mollberg (124 points) - 20 rushing touchdowns, 2 2-point conversion rush.

Alex Mason (54 points) - 9 rushing touchdowns.

Steven Labine (32 points) - 29-38 PAT kicks; 1 field goal.

Logan Baker (20 points) - 3 rushing touchdowns, 1 2-point conversion run.

Josh Stalberger (18 point) - 3 receiving touchdowns.

Brian Labat (12 points) - 2 receiving touchdowns.

Nate Baker (12 points) - 1 rushing and 1 receiving touchdown.

Connor McLeod (6 points) - 1 rushing touchdown.

Luke Patton (6 points) - 1 interception return.

Rick Hutchinson (6 points) - 1 receiving touchdown.

Jon Gilson (6 points) - 1 rushing touchdown.

Team Safety (2 points).

Nate Bausman (1 point) - 1-1 PAT kicks.

DL Opp

First Downs 125 125

By Rushing 92 93

By passing 27 27

By penalty 6 5

Net Yards Rushing 2324 2032

Avg. per rush 5.7 5.1

No. rushes 406 399

Yards gained 2449 2254

Yards lost 125 222

Net Yards Passing 1020 873

No. passes 105 169

Completed 54 73

Incomplete 45 82

Had intercepted 6 14

Interception yards 142 41

Total Offensive Plays 574 621 TOTAL NET YARDS 3344 2905

Kickoffs 55 40

Yards 2177 1580

Ave. kickoff 39.6 39.5

Kickoffs Returned 29 49

Yards 395 617

Ave. return 13.6 12.6

Fumbles 23 18

Fumbles lost 11 7

Penalties 48 54

Yards 328 348

* * *

Individual Rushing

DL --

Player NR YG YL Net

Joe Mollberg 176 1091 59 1032

Alex Mason 119 673 0 673

Logan Baker 28 196 14 182

Brian Labat 16 156 1 155

Nate Baker 19 100 20 80

Connor McLeod 2 59 0 59

Casey Fonder 14 59 4 55

Jon Gilson 7 49 0 49

Jake Hoganson 8 25 0 25

Nick Griffith 2 14 4 10

Taylor Magnuson 3 12 0 12

Connor Hedstrom 2 6 0 6

Michael Herzog 1 3 0 3

Stephen Erb 1 2 0 2

Brandon Gilbert 1 0 0 0

Noah Kitzman 1 0 0 0

Bryce Dutton 1 0 5 (-5)

Kirk McLeod 5 4 7 (-3)

* * *

Individual Passing

Player No Comp Inc Int Yds TD

DL --

Mollberg 103 53 44 6 1015 7

Labat 1 1 0 0 5 0

K. McLeod 1 0 1 0 0 0

* * *

Pass Receiving

Player No. Yds. TD

DL --

Josh Stalberger 25 423 3

Rick Hutchinson 7 137 1

Mason 7 56 0

Brian Labat 6 229 2

N. Baker 5 116 1

Tanner Twigg 3 20 0

L. Baker 2 39 0

* * *

Kickoffs

Player No. Yds. Ave.

DL --

Steven Labine 34 1362 40.1

Nate Bausman 21 815 38.8

* * *

Kickoffs Returned

Player No. Yds. Ave.

DL --

N. Baker 8 126 15.8

Connor McLeod 6 73 12.2

L. Baker 6 91 15.2

Hutchinson 3 31 10.3

Hedstrom 2 14 7

Labat 1 20 20

Magnuson 1 18 18

Derek Long 1 15 15

Tanner Twigg 1 7 7

* * *

Pass Interceptions

Player No. Yds.

DL -

Hutchinson 4 27

Erik Larson 3 0

McLeod 2 15

Labat 2 49

Jordan Manning 1 28

Luke Patton 1 23

Fonder 1 0

* * *

Sacks

Player No. Yds. lost

DL -

Gilson 3 25

L. Baker 1 14

Chris Nelson 1 10

Jake Hoganson 1 8

Josh Eggebraaten 1 8

Mason 1 8

Luke Patton 1 6

Casey Vanata 1 3.

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