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Lakers outlast Pequot Lakes to finish regular season at 7-1

Detroit Lakes 18  Pequot Lakes 7

PEQUOT LAKES -  A fast and furious start by the Detroit Lakes football team, quickly turned into a stagnant game for the Lakers, but senior running back Jarett Nosal made sure it didn’t stay that way in DL’s 18-7 road victory in Pequot Lakes Wednesday.

After senior Casey Paskey opened the Heart O’Lakes Conference regular season finale tilt by bursting out of the gates for a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the Lakers fell back into a slump which resulted in six scoreless quarters by the DL offense, including a 14-0 loss to Perham last week.

But that didn’t last long into the third quarter, with Nosal kickstarting the DL offensive machine with touchdown runs of 46 and 55 yards in the second half to pace the Lakers to an 18-7 win.

The victory ensures the Lakers a No. 1 seed in the Section 8-4A playoffs, which in turn, will give DL a first-round bye Tuesday and a home playoff game Saturday for the semifinals.

Much like his teammates through the first half, Nosal was spinning his wheels on the muddy Patriot field, gaining just 24 yards on the ground on eight carries in the first two quarters of play.

The Patriots scored on their first possession of the third quarter, after sophomore quarterback C.J. Borleis keyed the drive with a 62-yard scramble to the DL five yard line.

Senior running back Tyler Tappe capped it with a one-yard plunge to put Pequot Lakes up 7-6.

The Lakers looked like they were in trouble after being forced to punt on a three-and-out series, with visions of last week’s 14-0 shutout to Perham began glancing back.

But the defense buckled down, forcing their own three-and-out series, which was more than a spark for Nosal.

After a one-yard gain on second and 12, Nosal busted out for a 24-yard run off right end and immediately followed that up with a 46-yard touchdown scamper to put DL back up 12-7.

His next two of four carries of the game came with very positive results and the other half, pretty precarious ones.

A 22-yard gain on DL’s next possession was followed up by a strip by a Patriot defender and a lost fumble.

But the Lakers defense came up with one of their three interceptions on the very next play by Paskey, handing the ball back to the DL offense.

A fumbled exchange by senior quarterback Michael Herzog and Nosal was readily pounced on by the Pats, with the rollercoaster of possessions continuing.

That rolled over into the fourth quarter, where Pequot Lakes was forced to punt again.

It didn’t take long for Nosal to make amends, as he followed up Herzog’s 14-yard veer option rush, with a 55-yard touchdown sprint, thus giving DL a nice cushion of 18-7.

Nosal finished the game with 148 yards on 18 carries, while Herzog finished with 11 carried for 61 yards.

The Lakers defense also came up big with four turnovers, including interceptions by Paskey, and two by Sam Champa.

Pequot Lakes put plenty of pressure on the DL defense in the first quarter, snapping 26 plays, but scoring no points and only getting as deep as to the Laker 35, in the process.

DL had three lost fumbles out of seven, which has more than hindered their ability to score on a consistent basis, with the offense producing just two touchdowns in the last eight quarters.

Borleis threw for 101 yards by passing 6-12, but was picked off those three times.

Herzog was 4-9 for 47 yards and no interceptions.

The Lakers now have two opening kickoffs taken back for touchdowns this season, with the other one by Champa against East Grand Forks.

The win puts DL and Park Rapids into a first-place tie for the HOL North championship, with both teams at 5-1 in the conference.

Park Rapids beat Perham Wednesday 7-0, while the Lakers hold a victory over the Panthers already this season, as well.

All the Section 8-4A teams played Wednesday, with the Lakers holding the top QRF ranking with 55.9 points and a 7-1 record.

They are followed by Thief River Falls at 6-2, Little Falls 4-4, Fergus Falls 3-5, Albany 3-5 and Rocori 2-6.

If the QRF rankings remain as they are here, the first-round games will pit Rocori at Little Falls and Albany at Fergus Falls.

DL and TRF will gain first-round byes, with the Lakers awaiting on the lowest seed which wins and TRF the other winner in the semifinals, which are Saturday at the high seeds.

Detroit Lakes at Pequot Lakes, Wednesday, Oct. 16

Lakers     6  0  6  6 – 18

Patriots   0  0  7  0  -  7  

Rushing (att-yds gained-yds lost-net) – DL: Jarett Nosal 18-154-6-148; Michael Herzog 11-70-9-61; Christian Hedstrom 1-0-2-(-2). TOTAL: 30-224-17-207…PL: C.J. Borleis 13-107-21-86; Tyler Tappe 18-85-4-81; Justin Mackenthun 9-11-2-9; Travis Jacobson 1-0-4(-4). TOTAL: 41-203-31-172

Passing (att-comp-inc-int-yds-td) – DL: Herzog 9-4-5-0-47-0…PL: Borleis 12-6-3-3-101-0

Receiving (rec-yds-td) – DL: Ryan Cihak 2-15-0; Casey Paskey 1-24-0; Nosal 1-8-0…PL: Tappe 3-80-0; Mackenthun 2-7-0; Jacobson 1-14-0

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