Lakers survive Prowlers to stay undefeated
DETROIT LAKES - Two interceptions and two fumble recoveries were eventually turned into 14 points for the Detroit Lakes football team, which ultimately were the swing points in a 29-21 victory over visiting Thief River Falls Friday.
The Heart O’Lakes Conference matchup of the two undefeated teams went down to the wire, as the Prowlers (2-1) pushed the Lakers (3-0) to the brink, before DL clinched the win on TRF’s final drive late in the fourth quarter.
“The turnovers were game changers,” said senior wideout and cornerback Casey Paskey. “But we came out slow tonight, I don’t if we were just too overconfident, but I know we are going to be coming out strong and hard next week against Staples-Motley.”
Paskey helped put the exclamation point on the close victory after the Prowlers pulled to within one point 22-21 on junior quarterback Zeb Nelson’s third touchdown pass of the game on a 30-yard go-route to senior wide receiver Peter Samuelson, who hauled in his second TD grab of the night.
But the Lakers denied the Prowlers the lead, after senior Josh Weber buried junior TyJuan Brown in the TRF backfield on the ensuing two-point conversion play.
The Lakers promptly answered, with senior quarterback Michael Herzog finding a wide open Paskey down the field on third and seven for a 45-yard pickup, but more importantly moving the chains and eating up the clock.
“Casey had a good game and I thought we passed the ball well, it was just we killed ourselves with penalties, you can’t do that in close games like that,” said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher.
Two plays later, Herzog went around left end and made a diving lunge over the pylons, which was combined by Luke Payne’s extra-point kick to put DL up 29-21.
The Prowlers had 2:31 left on the clock, but were forced to start on their own 15 after a botched kickoff return.
But Nelson kept to the air, picking up gains of 17, 11 and 13 yards, before throwing up a desperate fourth and 10 pass, in which was picked off by junior secondary player Sam Champa, his second interception of the game.
The Prowlers moved the ball well between the 20’s, as senior fullback Ian Lund gained 103 yards on 23 carries.
In fact, Thief River Falls outgained the Lakers on the ground 260-173, with senior Jarett Nosal leading DL with 84 yards on 15 attempts.
“The defense bent some, but really didn’t break,” Motschenbacher said. “Their two touchdown passes came on jump balls and to their credit, they out jumped us and made the plays.
“I was impressed with Thief River Falls, they played physical and played well.”
The Lakers scored the lone touchdown in the third quarter to go up 22-15, after trailing 15-14 at halftime.
The possession started with a fumble recovery by Weber on the TRF 36 and capped on an end-around rush by Herzog from six yards out. It was Herzog’s 10th rushing TD of the season.
The Lakers stopped a Prowler scoring drive due to a recovered fumble, as well, with senior defensive tackle Kirby Siewert pouncing on the loose ball, which halted an eight-play drive which delved deep into Laker territory to the DL 11.
After a Laker punt pushed the Prowlers back to their own 45, Nelson threw an interception to Champa, who returned it to the TRF 34.
A Nosal 29-yard run was immediately followed by a Herzog five-yard dive for the 14-8 advantage.
The Lakers actually found themselves down for the first time all season when TRF put together the first scoring drive, which came on the first play of the second quarter. The series was set up by senior Alex Finseth’s interception of Herzog, who ran it back to the Laker 10.
Nelson hit Samuelson on a fade into the end zone, as the 6-2 receiver went up and came down with the six-point catch.
But it was short-lived, as Herzog set up Nosal with a nice screen, as the senior back found the open lanes all the way for a 73-yard touchdown and tie the game 8-8 after Paskey hauled in a two-point conversion pass.
TRF answered the Lakers’ score, which was set up by Brown’s 58-yard run and capped on another fade into the end zone, this time to 6-foot-1 Jacob Joppru.
“We knew they were going to come at us and they won those jump balls,” Motschenbacher said. “But we found a way to win the game and that’s what counts. It’s fun to be in a game like that, although you don’t want to be in games like that. The kids did learn from those situations, though.”
Herzog was able to stretch the field more, by going 5-10 for 162 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Senior Michael Herrmann was a chain-mover as he led DL in receptions with three for 44 yards. All three catches converted first downs for DL.
The Lakers will host Staples-Motley Friday for DL’s Homecoming game, with gametime at 7 p.m.
Thief River Falls at Detroit Lakes, Friday, Sept. 13.
Prowlers 0 15 0 6 – 21
Lakers 0 14 8 7 – 29
TRF: Peter Samuelson 10-yard pass from Zeb Nelson; Nathanael Holecek run. 11:53, 2nd quarter.
DL: Jarett Nosal 73-yard pass from Michael Herzog; Casey Paskey pass from Herzog. 10:30, 2nd.
DL: Herzog 5-yard run; kick failed. 3:28, 2nd.
TRF: Jacob Joppru 12-yard pass from Nelson. Dominic Kruse kick. :32, 2nd.
DL: Herzog 6-yard run; Michael Herrmann pass from Herzog. 7:34, 3rd.
TRF: Samuelson 30-yard pass from Nelson. Run failed. 4:18, 4th.
DL: Herzog 20-yard run; Luke Payne kick. 2:37, 4th.
Rushing (att-yds gained-yds lost-net) – DL: Jarett Nosal 15-86-2-84; Michael Herzog 15-74-5-69; Christian Hedstrom 3-27-6-21; Casey Paskey 2-1-2-(-1). TOTAL: 35-188-15-173…TRF: Ian Lund 23-106-3-103; TyJuan Brown 5-66-10-56; Alex Finseth 5-53-0-53; Nathanael Holecek 7-45-0-45; Zeb Nelson 7-25-22-3. TOTAL: 52-295-35-260.
Passing (att-comp-inc-int-yds-td) – DL: Herzog 10-5-4-2-162-1…TRF: Nelson 15-6-7-2-93-3.
Receiving (rec-yds-td) – DL: Micahel Herrmann 3-44-0; Nosal 1-73-1; Paskey 1-45-0…TRF: Peter Samuelson 2-40-2; Turner Storm 2-24-0; Jacob Joppru 1-12-1; Finseth 1-17-0.