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New-look Lakers to open against Shanley Deacons in new Cichy Stadium

A Laker defender takes down a Fargo Shanley ball carrier during last year?s matchup at Mollberg Field. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)

There will be more unveiled than just Shanley's new Sid Cichy Stadium Friday -- the Detroit Lakes football team will be debuting quite a few new players in the Lakers' season opener, as well.

The Deacons already have one game underneath their belt, after opening their season with a 28-19 loss to Grand Forks Red River last week.

Meanwhile, the Lakers have had two scrimmages -- the Red and White game and Saturday's six-team scrimmage in DL -- and are ready to roll out with a host of first-time players.

"Usually the biggest jump for teams is from game one to two, so Shanley has a bit of an advantage already playing one game," said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher. "We've jumped well between our two scrimmages, but it's not like real game action."

The two teams are not strangers to each other after a meeting at Mollberg Field last October, where the Lakers defeated the Deacons 23-16.

The game was close throughout, with then-senior slot back Aaron Gnoinsky keying the win with an 81-yard run in the third quarter.

While Shanley returns a host of players from last year, the Lakers enter quite green, with only three starters back on offense and two on defense.

"They have almost all their skill people back," Motschenbacher said. "Their quarterback (Myles Montplaisir) is a playmaker, and they just have an exceptional offensive team back."

Montplaisir finished last year's game against the Lakers with 102 yards on a 9-20 night, for one touchdown and two interceptions.

The Deacons employ top speed on defense and have many players who play both ways.

The questions on the Lakers team will start to be answered come 7 p.m. Friday -- and there are a lot of them.

Sophomore quarterback Joe Mollberg will be taking his first meaningful snaps, along with his backfield mates, running backs Logan and Nate Baker and Alex Mason.

"We have very few players with game experience, so it will be an eye opener for a lot of them," Motschenbacher said. "But I'm confident our kids will come in and compete. We have a good chance of being a good team in time."

Three of the five offensive linemen do return, including Pat Williams, Paul Voeltz and Justin Holm.

"We'll try and run the ball, but if we can't, we may spread it out and pass it around," Motschenbacher said.

The DL coach is pleased with the progress of the defense, which returns Holm and linebacker Alex Feldt.

The Deacons will also be playing in Cichy Stadium for the first time, which has the top-grade field turf.

The field is Shanley's first one in 74 years and is named after the longtime Shanley coach, who led the Deacons to 16 state titles in 30 years.

"They will be excited to open their new stadium up," Motschenbacher said. "We'll need to go out and match their emotions."