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DL’s aerial attack still in arsenal

Sam Champa (2) rambles down the field after an interception. He returned the ball 43 yards. LEE KENSINGER

After racking up 574 rushing yards in their first two games, the Detroit Lakes football team has not had the opportunity to go aerial as of yet.

With senior quarterback Michael Herzog blowing through some big holes Friday against Crookston, which eventually led to his four touchdowns and a 33-0 lead after the first quarter, the need — or want — of throwing the football did not exist.

And that’s not a bad thing.

“The players were ready to play and executed well,” said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher. “Scoring on the first play gave them confidence and really got things rolling.”

Herzog’s four rushes Friday all resulted in touchdowns, and a 38.25 yards per carry average, after he finished with 153 yards.

Senior running back Jarett Nosal, who led the way against Fargo North in the season opener with 171 yards on 12 carries, bolted for 51 yards on five attempts to up his season mark to 222 yards on 17 carries (13.04 ypc).

All that adds up to is a very potent rushing attack, fronted by a seriously large and talented offensive line, and not many opportunities for the need to pass.

Herzog has thrown the ball just 18 times, completing nine for 101 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.

But opponents shouldn’t get too comfy focusing on the run and loading the box with eight to nine players, because the threat of the pass is there.

“We want to pass and we can pass when we want to,” Herzog said after Friday’s game against Crookston. “It’s just, we haven’t had to yet.”

But when the time does arrive, the Lakers will be ready, as Herzog has plenty of weapons down the field in senior slot Casey Paskey and junior Sam Champa, along with wideouts Christian Hedstrom, Ryan Cihak and an assortment of others. 

“We can throw the ball, and we will, because we’ll need to work on it through the season,” Motschenbacher said. “It will be a big part of our offensive package.”

One facet of the game which has been key thus far is special teams.

Champa is helping set the tone by tilting field position in the favor of the Lakers, with an average of 51.5 yards on his kickoffs.

Paskey has boomed his punts to the tune of 43 yards per punt, while senior kicked Luke Payne is 9-11 on PAT kicks.

“The special teams have played well and have been working hard,” Motschenbacher said. “They cover well on kickoffs and punts. The odds go higher in our favor when opponents have longer to go.”

The Lakers’ next opponent is a traditional Heart O’Lakes Conference contender in Thief River Falls, which also brings in a 2-0 record.

They have outscored their opponents by a 62-12 margin, beating Roseau 36-12 and Pequot Lakes 26-12.

The Prowlers will be looking to snap DL’s HOL winning streak, which has reached eight games, including a 24-6 win over TRF last season.

“If we want to repeat as conference champions, we’ll need to play well against Thief River Falls,” Motschenbacher said. “They are your typical Thief River Falls team in that they are hard running, with a lot of misdirection. Their defense is aggressive and we’ll need to be disciplined on defense, as well.”

Each of DL, TRF and Perham are 1-0 in the conference, while Park Rapids hasn’t played an HOL game, yet.

Kickoff Friday is slated for 7 p.m. at Mollberg Field.

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