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North Dakota power is Lakers' first opponent

NATHAN BAKER gets loose in the open field during Saturday's scrimmage on Mollberg Field.

With the start of the 2010 school season on the horizon, there will be an easing-in period for students as they prepare for their studies in the classroom.

But for the Detroit Lakes football team, there will be no easing into anything, as they will be forced into taking a rugged test out of the gates.

The North Dakota Class 2A reigning champions, Shanley will be coming to town Friday -- packing a loaded, potent lineup.

The Deacons didn't have much turnover from their talented 2009 lineup, with quarterback Myles Montplaisir back, as well as a big offensive line in front of him.

The Lakers opened with the Deacons on their home field last year,, which resulted in a close 35-26 loss to Shanley.

But DL will be much different than the team displayed in the 2009 opener -- not with new players, but with the experience they will be bringing in this time around.

"We are a little more experienced and we'll have to be ready to meet their energy right away Friday," said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher. "We've had two great weeks of practice and we'll need it ,because our schedule is challenging each week."

The Lakers' inexperience showed early in last year's meeting against Shanley, which resulted in a quick 14-0 deficit.

After the Deacons went down the field with a hurry-up offense, the ensuing kickoff ended with Shanley pouncing on a fumble and driving it into the end zone.

But the Lakers showed their resiliency, making a valiant comeback to shave the lead down to 21-20.

Logan Baker rushed for 175 yards on 14 carries in the tilt, with most of the yardage coming on runs of 61 and 55 yards in the first half.

The Lakers will also have some seasoning back at the quarterback position, with junior Joe Mollberg returning after starting the majority of the games last season.

"He's been making some good plays in practice and he's also struggled at times," Motschenbacher said. "But he'll be ready to go."

Like last season, Shanley will have an upper hand after starting their season early and already playing a game -- a victory over newly-formed Fargo Davies.

With Montplaisir back in the mix for the Deacons, the offense will be a potent one to handle.

"(Montplaisir) is a tremendous talent, he's smart, can run the football and can pass," Motschenbacher said. "He's the total package."

The Lakers also return the bulk of their playmakers in their leading rusher, junior Alex Mason and leading pass catcher, senior Josh Stalberger.

The defense will have its hands full versus Shanley, but should be up to task by Friday, as well.

"The defense played well in our scrimmage Saturday," the DL coach said. "I was pleased with their effort. We are working at being more physical, too, and emphasizing coming off the ball quicker."

Start time is 7 p.m. at Mollberg Field.

The Lakers also received good news that they have added another home game, with Fargo Davies coming to town Friday, Sept. 24.

The game was originally scheduled to be played in Fargo, but Davies had a scheduling conflict, since they don't have a home field yet.

That will give the Lakers a total of five home games and three road games for the regular season.

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