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Lakers move to new conference, section

There is plenty of change heading the way of the Detroit Lakes football team, which will bring new challenges and obstacles, but also a nice refreshing look to the season.

But the Lakers will be facing these new challenges with a solid, all-around good team.

"Our goal is to be good by playoff time and we have a great bunch of kids to work with this season," said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher. "They have put themselves in a position to be successful and they are a good example to the younger kids.

"But now, they need to get it done on the field."

The changes mostly come with DL's opponents, since they will open their new Heart O'Lakes Conference schedule, as well as play in a new section.

The Lakers' travel schedule has gone down dramatically, changing from road trips to Duluth to away games to East Grand Forks, Pequot Lakes and Park Rapids.

The HOL North Conference contains DL, Thief River Falls, Perham, Staples-Motley, Park Rapids, Crookston and East Grand Forks.

"We are excited to being part of the HOL North," Motschenbacher said. "It limits our travel and it will be a very good, competitive conference."

The Lakers also have been moved from Section 8-4A to Section 7-4A, which includes Bemidji, Duluth Denfeld, Grand Rapids, Hermantown and Hibbing.

Bemidji has won the section the last three years and brings back a heavy contingent of experience.

"It's not as deep as Section 8-4A, but the section will be very good nonetheless," Motschenbacher stated.

The Lakers enter 2011 with one of the sought after quarterbacks in the state in senior Joe Mollberg.

The DL quarterback is entering his third year as the starting signal caller and has been heavily recruited by each of North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota, as well as serious looks from the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.

But Mollberg's focus is still on the Red and White and any outside distractions won't pull his attention away from Laker wins.

"Joe has told me he is a Laker first and that's his main concern," Motschenbacher said. "He has worked hard to be where he is at and he has become a dual-threat quarterback.

"The big thing with him is he's is reacting and playing, which experience has been a big key to that."

The offense will be built around Mollberg's talents, which will be more explosive and more wide open to put pressure on defenses.

Mollberg has some serious threats down the field in senior Brian Labat, who can act as a big time receiver split wide or a rusher at running back.

Senior Rick Hutchinson will also be legitimate threat on the outside, with steady hands and high athletic ability for yards after the catch.

"We are expecting big things out of these guys," Motschenbacher said. "Brian is very versatile, he's a playmaker."

Junior Kirk McLeod will also see time split out wide and will be a reliable target from Mollberg's arm.

The Lakers can also hit a defense up front with sophomore fullback Michael Herzog, who possesses "tremendous speed".

The slots are also a weapon to be used in the offense, which includes juniors Taylor Magnuson, Stephen Erb and Labat.

"Our team speed should be improved from the last several years, as well," Motschenbacher said.

The offensive line returns only one in senior Josh Olson, who will anchor the unit. Depth is good, but experience is thin.

"We have nine kids there who are fighting for spots, but we need a couple of them to step it up," Motschenbacher said. "We have a good mix of size on the line, we just want a few to step up and win those positions."

Motschenbacher hopes to see an improved defense this season, with experience pretty shallow, as well.

Senior David Perry is the lone defensive lineman back at end, while Labat has been moved from linebacker to strong safety, where he can have more space to roam.

At linebacker, the Lakers will be young, but talented, in junior Reed Johnson, senior Casey Fonder and junior Nick Eckman.

"We're working hard on tackling and the fundamentals," the DL coach said.

The defensive backfield will have Labat, Herzog, Steven Labine, McLeod, Erb, junior Derek Long, Mollberg and junior Austin Eiter.

"This year, we're looking to play more people because everyone has worked hard to gain playing time," Motschenbacher said.

The Lakers will have five home games this season and will be on the road to East Grand Forks, Park Rapids and Pequot Lakes.

Detroit Lakes Schedule

9/1 7:00 PM Little Falls

9/9 7:00 PM @ Pequot Lakes

9/16 7:00 PM Thief River Falls

9/23 7:00 PM Staples-Motley

9/30 7:00 PM @ East Grand Forks

10/7 7:00 PM @ Park Rapids Area

10/7 7:00 PM @ Park Rapids Area

10/14 7:00 PM Perham

10/19 7:00 PM Crookston

Name Pos Grade

Aaron Marsh WR 12

AJ Matter WR 11

Alex Webber WR 10

Andrew Brown WR 11

Andy Harris WR 10

Austen Dickenson WR 11

Austin Eiter WR 11

Ben Ortiz WR 10

Ben Overvig WR 12

Bernard Brewer WR 10

Brandon Dahring WR 10

Brandon Johnson WR 11

Brian Labat WR 12

Brock Johnson WR 10

Calvin Nodsle WR 10

Cameron Fritz WR 11

Casey Beyer WR 10

Casey Fonder WR 12

Casey Paskey WR 10

Chandler Briard WR 10

Chase Saunders WR 10

Cody Borah WR 10

Cody Carlson WR 10

Cole Hegg WR 10

Darion Helland WR 11

Dennis Hisgun WR 10

Derek Long WR 11

Devin McDonald WR 11

Dylan Bremseth WR 10

Dylon Hanson WR 10

Hunter Schleske WR 11

Jackson Lyngaas WR 10

Jake Hoganson WR 12

Jarett Nosal WR 10

Jason Griego WR 11

Joe Mollberg QB 12

Jordan Stalberger WR 11

Josh Weber WR 10

Joshua Mickelson WR 11

Joshua Olson WR 12

Kirby Siewert WR 10

Kirk McLeod WR 11

Logan Moe WR 11

Luke Eggebraaten WR 10

Luke Hestdalen WR 12

Luke Morgan WR 12

Luke Patton WR 12

Michael Herzog WR 10

Mikel Renteria WR 10

Mitchel Thom WR 10

Nick Eckman WR 11

Nick Groth WR 11

Noah Kitzmann WR 11

Reed Johnson WR 11

Rick Hutchinson WR 11

Robert Welty WR 10

Sam Voz WR 10

Stephen Erb WR 11

Steven Labine WR 12

Taylor Magnuson WR 11

Tyler Gebhart WR 11

Zachary York WR 10

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.