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Laker defensive back TJ Manning knocks down and nearly intercepts a Duluth East pass during the first half of Wednesday night's game in Duluth. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)

Late comeback lifts Lakers over Duluth East

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

For the first 47:26 of Wednesday's football game, Duluth East led the entire way over the visiting Detroit Lakes Lakers.

But it was those last 34 seconds which mattered to the Lakers most, as they clung onto a 21-20 victory, which was preserved after a missed 45-yard field goal by the Greyhound's Henry Roningen.

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DL gained the No. 6 seed in the Section 8-4A playoffs, where they will travel to No. 3 Sauk Rapids-Rice (6-2) Tuesday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

The Lakers looked down and out as time was ticking off in their season finale, before running back Nate Baker caught a screen in the left flat, turned the corner, cut across the field and finally was tackled on the Duluth East one yard line with under a minute to go.

"I have to credit the offensive line for breaking me free and after the first cut, I got an outside block by Pat Williams and I just kept cutting back," Baker said of his game-breaking run. "I thought I was in there, but we got it in a couple plays later."

Sophomore quarterback Joe Mollberg punched the tying touchdown in with 34 seconds remaining, setting up the crucial extra-point try.

Instead of pushing for overtime, Laker head coach Flint Motschenbacher decided to go for two and the win.

"We have been struggling with our kicking game, so the consensus was to go for two points," Motschenbacher said.

The risk paid off as Mollberg made a good play-action and hit receiver Jon Gilson who cleared the line and notched the two-pointer.

"We wanted to run the ball in on the two-point conversion just to show that we could," said senior offensive and defensive lineman Justin Holm. "But we lined up in our two tight end set and it's the best (two-point conversion) we've converted this year."

The Lakers had to climb out of a 13-0 hole in some wet and cold conditions, as the Greyhounds were marching up and down the field in the first half on the rushing of Andre Dee, who had 90 yards on the ground in the first two quarters.

But the igniter to DL's rally came on special teams, as Holm bulled over a blocker and blocked a Greyhound punt, and then recovered it to set up DL on the Duluth East 21.

"(Teammate) Alex Feldt said go and get it, so I lined up on the left side where there was no end," Holm said of his tide-turning blocked punt. "I just went right through their guy, blocked the punt and looked down and saw the ball."

Five plays later, Mollberg hit wide receiver Tanner Duncan on second and goal from the four.

"We've been looking for something like that and that was it," Motschenbacher said of Holm's blocked punt. "The kids just kept battling all night."

The Greyhounds scored on their second series on a Tanner Murray 23-yard pass from Zach Farmer, then again on another pass play to Jim Danielson from one yard out.

But the extra-point kick on the second touchdown was blocked, which proved to be crucial later in the game.

The Lakers shutdown Duluth East's rushing game in the second half, as Dee had only 25 yards on the ground and DL limited the home team to just five first downs.

The Lakers used a time-consuming 11-play, 47-yard drive after a Greyhound punt to come within 20-19 on a Mason three-yard TD.

But the extra-point kick was blocked to keep the score tied 13-13.

After a Laker's fumble on their own 37 late in the fourth quarter, Duluth East took advantage for a go-ahead series on a Dee one-yard plunge for the 20-13 lead.

The Lakers looked in dire straits after a 10-yard sack by Nathan Pratt to force a third and 20, before Baker struck gold with the big 74-yard pickup.

"We had another screen earlier which could have gone big, but we missed the block," Motschenbacher said. "We didn't miss the block on that one."

The Laker's rushing game only picked up 91 total yards to Duluth East's 183, but Mollberg threw for 118 yards on an 8-18 evening.

Duluth East held DL's leading receiver Josh Stalberger in check with one grab for three yards, but Duncan broke free for four catches and a touchdown.

"Josh gets a lot of attention and Tanner is a solid wide receiver," Motschenbacher said. "We are confident in all of our wide receivers."

The win boosts the Lakers to 3-5, but more importantly gives a dose of confidence for the playoffs.

"It's a huge win and now we have a lot more momentum and confidence in ourselves," Baker added.

Laker results

Detroit Lakes at Duluth East, Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Lakers 21, Greyhounds 20

Detroit Lakes - 0 7 0 14 -- 21

Duluth East - 7 6 0 7 -- 20

DE - Tanner Murray 23-yard pass from Zach Farmer; Henry Roningen kick. 3:08, 1st quarter.

DE - Jim Danielson 1-yard pass from Farmer; kick blocked. 6:20, 2nd.

DL - Tanner Duncan 4-yard pass from Joe Mollberg; Steven Labine kick. 20.6, 2nd.

DL - Alex Mason 3-yard run; kick blocked. 9:39, 4th.

DE - Farmer 1-yard run; Roningen kick. 3:00, 4th.

DL - Mollberg 1-yard run; Jon Gilson catch from Mollberg. :34, 4th.

DL DE

First Downs 9 12

By Rushing 6 7

By passing 3 4

By penalty 0 1

Net Yards Rushing 91 183

No. rushes 33 41

Yards gained 109 201

Yards lost 18 18

Net Yards Passing 118 111

No. passes 18 15

Completed 8 10

Incomplete 10 5

Had intercepted 0 0

Interception yards 0 0

Total Offensive Plays 58 60

TOTAL NET YARDS 209 294

Kickoffs 4 4

Yards 143 161

Ave. kickoff 35.8 40.3

Kickoffs Returned 2 3

Yards 48 69

Ave. return 24 23

Fumbles 3 3

Fumbles lost 1 1

Penalties 6 3

Yards 55 20

* * *

Individual Rushing

DL --

Player NR YG YL Net

Alex Mason 14 48 2 46

Nate Baker 7 33 6 27

Joe Molleberg 11 24 10 14

Logan Baker 1 4 0 4

Duluth East -

Andre Dee 16 120 5 115

Evan Rollo 13 35 5 30

Zach Farmer 10 34 8 26

Henry Roningen 2 12 0 12

* * *

Individual Passing

Player No Comp Inc Int Yds TD

DL --

Mollberg 18 8 10 0 118 1

Duluth East -

Farmer 15 10 5 0 111 2

* * *

Pass Receiving

Player No. Yds. TD

DL --

Tanner Duncan 4 35 1

N. Baker 2 76 0

Brock Johnson 1 6 0

Josh Stalberger 1 1 0

Duluth East -

Jim Danielson 3 35 1

Tanner Murray 2 36 1

Rollo 2 17 0

Dee 1 8 0

Nick Carlson 1 8 0

Anders Ryden 1 6 0

* * *

Kickoffs

Player No. Yds. Ave.

DL --

Nate Bausman 3 108 36

Steven Labine 1 35 35

Duluth East -

Roningen 4 161 40.3

* * *

Kickoffs Returned

Player No. Yds. Ave.

DL --

N. Baker 1 30 30

L. Baker 1 18 18

Duluth East -

Dee 2 59 29.5

Rollo 1 10 10

* * *

Pass Interceptions

Player No. Yds.

DL -

None

Duluth East -

None

* * *

Sacks

Player No. Yds. lost

DL -

Josh Eggebraaten .5 5

Davis Johnson .5 5

Duluth East -

Nathan Pratt 1 10.

REGULAR SEASON STATS

Detroit Lakes 2009 season stats: 3-5.

Lakers 189, Opponents 205

Detroit Lakes - 27 65 33 51 13 -- 189

Opponents - 55 54 43 39 14-- 205

Scoring leaders

Alex Mason -- 54 points (9 rushing TD).

Josh Stalberger -- 42 points (7 receiving TD).

Joe Mollberg -- 24 points (4 rushing TD).

Brock Johnson -- 16 points (2 receiving TD, 2 PAT reception).

Logan Baker -- 12 points (2 rushing TD).

Nate Baker -- 12 points (1 rushing, 1 receiving TD).

Steven Labine -- 9 points (9-14 PAT kicks)

Tanner Duncan -- 6 points (1 receiving TD).

Connor McLeod -- 6 points (1 interception return)

Brian Labat -- 6 points (1 rushing TD).

Jon Gilson -- 2 points (1 receiving PAT conversion).

DL Opp

First Downs 87 107

By Rushing 50 74

By passing 34 29

By penalty 3 4

Net Yards Rushing 1181 1783

Avg. per rush 4.1 5.3

No. rushes 287 337

Yards gained 1282 1955

Yards lost 101 172

Net Yards Passing 1160 781

No. passes 147 118

Completed 63 67

Incomplete 75 42

Had intercepted 9 9

Interception yards 203 129

Total Offensive Plays 458 486

TOTAL NET YARDS 2341 2564

Kickoffs 36 37

Yards 1387 1581

Ave. kickoff 38.5 42.7

Kickoffs Returned 25 25

Yards 453 505

Ave. return 18.1 20.2

Fumbles 19 12

Fumbles lost 11 5

Penalties 50 42

Yards 355 315

* * *

Individual Rushing

DL --

Player NR YG YL Net

Alex Mason 103 514 4 510

Logan Baker 53 313 1 312

Joe Mollberg 87 282 71 211

Nate Baker 19 123 23 100

Brian Labat 6 50 1 49

Dominic McAllister 3 14 0 14

Casey Fonder 2 4 0 4

Edgar Negron 1 0 0 0

Steven Labine 1 0 1 (-1)

* * *

Individual Passing

Player No Comp Inc Int Yds TD

DL --

Mollberg 145 62 68 9 1133 11

Brock Johnson 2 1 1 0 27 1

* * *

Pass Receiving

Player No. Yds. TD

DL --

Josh Stalberger 26 573 7

Brock Johnson 11 214 2

Tanner Duncan 11 130 1

N. Baker 7 150 1

Mason 3 33 0

L. Baker 3 31 0

Labat 1 15 0

* * *

Kickoffs

Player No. Yds. Ave.

DL --

Nathan Bausman 27 1205 44.6

Steven Labine 8 182 22.8

* * *

Kickoffs Returned

Player No. Yds. Ave.

DL --

Nate Baker 10 176 17.6

Edgar Negron 4 58 14.5

Erik Larson 3 76 25.3

Connor McLeod 3 46 15.3

Logan Baker 2 45 22.5

Andy Pedersen 1 20 20

Jon Gilson 1 16 16

Rick Hutchinson 1 16 16

* * *

Pass Interceptions

Player No. Yds.

DL -

Andy Pedersen 3 26

McLeod 2 89

Alex Feldt 2 66

Tanner Duncan 1 31

Brian Labat 1 0

* * *

Sacks

Player No. Yds. lost

DL -

Davis Johnson 3 18

Justin Holm 1.5 18

Nathan DuChene 1 6

Andrew Johnson 1 3

Paul Voeltz 1 2

Mason 1 2

Josh Eggebraaten .5 5

Opponets -

Sacks 6 42.

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