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Laker's six picks lead to blowout of Grand Rapids -- Defense dominates as Oistad throws for trio of TDs

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The Detroit Lakes defense made yet another leap of improvement Friday night and yet a bigger one turning the ball over.

Six interceptions by the Lakers set up a romp over visiting Grand Rapids Friday by the score of 48-0 to bob DL above the .500 mark at 2-1.

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The Laker offense, in turn, was very opportunistic with what the defense gave it -- scoring three touchdowns off DL's first trio of interceptions for a 21-0 lead.

Of the six picks by DL, four turned into six points.

"We just were reading the steps of the receivers and were able to watch the quarterback and where he was going to throw the ball," said senior secondary player Aaron Gnoinsky, who had two interceptions in the game. "Then we just were breaking on the ball. The pressure by the D-line was great and that also helped the secondary."

The Laker's defense also stymied an opponent from any points inside, after driving down to DL's five-yard line for the third consecutive week.

Trailing 28-0, Grand Rapids was knocking on the door at the DL five. On third and goal, pressure by defensive end Brock Johnson and linebacker Alex Feldt forced Thunderhawk quarterback Adam Geisler to release the ball earlier than he wanted to.

Gnoinsky was there to finish what Feldt and Johnson started, grabbing his second pick of the game -- and taking away the Thunderhawk's best opportunity to gain any sort of points.

"Anytime you get six interceptions, the kids are properly dropping back and reading the (opponents)," said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher. "It's a whole process, too, all 11 players did their job. All it comes down to is making plays."

The DL defense made plenty of those, as the late second quarter drive to the Laker five would be by far the deepest penetration by Grand Rapids.

After that drive, the Thunderhawks made it no deeper than their own 34 yard line -- and that came on the very last play of the game.

"The biggest key for the defense so far has been chemistry," Gnoinsky said. "After the first game (a loss to East Mankato), that really hit us. After that we worked hard as a team."

Grand Rapids had a total of 152 offensive yards to DL's 362, which came from an effective balance attack on the ground and through the air.

Starting position played a huge key in DL's offensive rhythm: The Lakers scored their first three touchdowns starting on Grand Rapids 43 twice and the other on the 39 -- all set up on interceptions by T.J. Manning, Gnoinsky and Andy Pedersen, who also had two interceptions in the game.

Manning started the pick-a-thon on the Thunderhawk's first series after he stepped in front of the slot receiver and returned it to the Grand Rapids' 43.

DL clicked off six plays, with senior fullback Dustin Rietsema carrying the ball four times for 24 yards, the final a five-yard dive for a 7-0 lead, after a Steven Labine kick.

Gnoinsky was next, his interception coming on an excellent diving catch near the DL sideline, once again on the Grand Rapids' 43.

Gnoinsky was rewarded for his efforts, as he capped the drive on a 16-yard pass by quarterback Reed Oistad, who hit the slotback running a seam route and splitting the safeties right in two for six more points.

Pedersen was the next thief to steal a pass from Geisler -- who finished the game with six completions and six interceptions -- setting DL up on the Thunderhawk 39.

On the very next play, Oistad hit freshman wideout Joe Mollberg on a quick seam pass for a 39-yard TD score and a 21-0 margin.

In all, DL picked off Geisler five times in the first half, while three of the final six plays in the first quarter, resulted in touchdowns for the Lakers.

Another interception by Pedersen in the second quarter started a 13-play, 82-yard drive, which picked up four first downs, including a converted fourth-and-two, where Oistad dove for a new set of downs.

The biggest play in the march came on an Oistad 39-yard run to the Grand Rapids' 28, and he finished it off with a one-yard dive on third and goal six plays later.

Oistad hit Rietsema on a 19-yard boot play for his third TD aerial strike of the game.

Logan Baker gained his first varsity touchdown on a one-yard rush in the third, while Nate Baker tore off a 41-yard TD scamper down the left sideline for his career end zone find in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.

Rietsema led DL rushers with 84 yards, while Oistad finished with 67 yards rushing and 112 passing, with three TD's on a 6-7 night.

Labine was 5-5 on his PAT kicks, while the last one ended on a fumbled snap.

Motschenbacher was happy with how the DL offense came out fast to score on its three possessions.

"The offense made adjustments fast, where we didn't have any three-and-outs in the game," he added.

The Thunderhawks drop to 0-3, while DL is 2-0 in the North Country Conference.

DL makes its first trip on the road, as they head to face Duluth Central Friday, with the kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.

Laker results

Grand Rapids at Detroit Lakes, Friday, Sept. 12.

Lakers 48, Thunderhawks 0

Grand Rapids - 0 0 0 0 -- 0

Detroit Lakes - 21 7 14 6 -- 48

DL - Dustin Rietsema 5-yard run; Steven Labine kick. 6:30, 1st quarter.

DL - Aaron Gnoinsky 16-yard pass from Reed Oistad; Labine kick. 1:54, 1st.

DL - Joe Mollberg 39-yard pass from Oistad; Labine kick. :57, 1st.

DL - Oistad 1-yard run; Labine kick. 3:10, 2nd.

DL - Rietsema 19-yard pass from Oistad; Labine kick. 7:05, 3rd.

DL - Logan Baker 1-yard run; Labine kick. 3:44, 3rd.

DL - Nate Baker 41-yard run; kick failed. 2:54, 4th.

DL GR

First Downs 13 9

By Rushing 10 4

By passing 1 5

By penalty 1 0

Net Yards Rushing 250 67

No. rushes 42 19

Yards gained 265 75

Yards lost 15 8

Net Yards Passing 112 85

No. passes 9 23

Completed 6 6

Incomplete 2 11

Had intercepted 1 6

Interception yards 45 0

Total Offensive Plays 51 46

TOTAL NET YARDS 362 152

Kickoffs 8 1

Yards 389 31

Ave. kickoff 48.6 31

Kickoffs Returned 0 7

Yards 0 122

Ave. return 0 17.4

Fumbles 3 1

Fumbles lost 1 1

Penalties 3 7

Yards 25 60

* * *

Individual Rushing

DL --

Player NR YG YL Net

Dustin?Rietsema 13 84 0 84

Reed Oistad 10 71 4 67

Nate Baker 1 41 0 41

Logan Baker 8 33 4 29

Max Knoll 2 17 0 17

Aaron Gnoinsky 4 12 2 10

Joe Mollberg 2 7 0 7

Connor Hedstrom 2 0 5 (-5)

Grand Rapids -

Alex Kepler 11 39 6 33

Shay Anderson 2 15 0 15

Dustin Miller 1 9 0 9

Adam Geisler 1 6 0 6

Tyler Kemppainen 2 5 0 5

Shain Powers 1 1 0 1

Micky Mendoza 1 0 2 (-2)

* * *

Individual Passing

Player No Comp Inc Int Yds TD

DL --

Reed Oistad 7 6 1 0 112 3

Mollberg 2 0 1 1 0 0

Grand Rapids -

Geisler 15 6 4 5 85 0

Matt?Dorholt 8 0 7 1 0 0

* * *

Pass Receiving

Player No. Yds. TD

DL --

Josh Stalberger 2 29 0

Mollberg 1 39 1

Rietsema 1 19 1

Gnoinsky 1 16 1

Max Knoll 1 9 0

Grand Rapids -

Dustin Britter 2 33 0

Shain Powers 1 18 0

Austin Merritt 1 18 0

Tyler Kemppainen 1 11 0

Anderson 1 4 0

* * *

Kickoffs

Player No. Yds. Ave.

DL --

Brock Johnson 7 349 49.9

Edgar Negron 1 40 40

Grand Rapids -

Spencer Meyer 1 31 31

* * *

Kickoffs Returned

Player No. Yds. Ave.

DL --

None

Grand Rapids -

Anderson 5 90 18

Jordan Lewandowski 1 19 19

Kemppainen 1 13 13

* * *

Pass Interceptions

Player No. Yds.

DL -

Andy Pedersen 2 11

Gnoinsky 2 0

Josh Tweeton 1 18

T.J. Manning 1 16

Grand Rapids -

Powers 1 0

* * *

Sacks

Player No. Yds. lost

DL -

None

Grand?Rapids -

None.

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