Rebels running attack sends Lakers to fifth defeat
Detroit Lakes was unable to capitalize on opportunities at key moments of the game and the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Rebels pounded their way to a 35-21 victory over the Lakers on Homecoming Night in Glyndon Friday.
“At least we were better on the penalties part and we cleaned up the mental part, but then again, there’s not a big difference in these games,” said DL head coach Josh Omang. “We didn’t score before half and those two fumbles. We can’t have those mistakes.We still haven’t played a complete game. The kids know that and we talk about that. Hopefully, people aren’t too down about it. We’re getting closer. We just have to put it together and play a good game in all three phases.”
The Rebels went to halftime leading 14-6 after holding off four Laker attempts to score from the eight-yard line in the final minute.
Jackson Haire completed a pass to Logan Pratt but the play was out of bounds. After two more incompletions, DL had three seconds on fourth down but Haire’s pass was picked off in the back of the end zone by Nathan Brown to preserve the lead.
“Those little things, we’ve got to make those plays and that’s part of learning how to do it,” said Omang.
One vast improvement for DL was avoiding penalty flags. DL was only penalized three times for 20 yards after coming out of last week’s loss to Pequot Lakes with 18 penalties.
Both teams traded big passing plays for touchdowns in the opening quarter.
Sophomore Aiden Leach gave D-G-F a 7-0 lead on the Rebels’ first drive connecting with Carter Kohler from 33-yards out. Taylor Irwin booted the PAT and was 5-5 on attempts in the game.
DL answered with two minutes remaining in the quarter when Haire hit Tanner Doppler on a 52-yard bomb. A failed kick kept the Rebels up by one point 7-6.
Steven Taves scored on a fourth down, one-yard run to cap a nine-play, 63-yard drive at 3:27 of the second quarter for a 14-6 lead.
“Our offensive line took it upon themselves and they moved kids and I was able to just run through the holes,” said Taves.
Taves had a monster game behind the guys up front rushing 31 times for 230 yards and three touchdowns.
DL’s inability to get a key score before the halftime horn inside the 10 was a key momentum shifter heading to halftime and D-G-F took advantage early in the third quarter.
The Rebels had no reason to change their attack and Laker defenders saw little more than Taves and Kohler rushing the remainder of the game.
D-G-F has found success by simplifying their offense through six weeks of the season.
“We tried a couple things early in the year that didn’t work out so the last couple games we’ve gone back to our base plays and just concentrated on those plays letting the big guys not think so much and just come out and play football,” said D-G-F head coach Anthony Soderberg.
The Rebels took the second half kickoff and drove 57 yards on seven plays with Kohler and Taves leading to a second touchdown from Taves from the six at 9:02 for a 21-6 lead.
The Lakers came right back with a 70-yard drive of their own on eight plays, getting a 47-yard run from Cameron Erb on the first play to get to the Rebel 30-yard line. Ben Nordmark scored from the two to tighten up the game 21-14.
DL simply had no answer for the Rebel blockers and rushing game. Kohler scored on an 11-yard run at 3:17 of the third quarter to polish off a 59-yard drive to double up the Lakers 28-14.
Needing a score on their final drive of the quarter, DL got a great kick return of 31 yards from Reed Mace and Erb got loose for 20 yards into Rebel territory. The drive halted abruptly on the next play after the Rebels picked up an Isaiah Thompson fumble.
D-G-F ran out the quarter and went up big when Taves scampered 15 yards to the end zone for a 35-14 lead.
The Lakers had time with 11:45 on the clock and moved quickly down the field. Haire converted a big fourth-and-five to get to the Rebel 27. Erb scored three plays later from the 18-yard line to put a flicker of hope in the Laker faithful trailing 35-21 after freshman Braeden Wimmer’s point-after kick with nine minutes on the clock.
The Rebels ran Taves and Kohler to take nearly five minutes off the scoreboard before giving the ball up on downs at the DL 33.
The penalty and turnover bug that has plagued the Lakers this season both appeared on the most important drive of the second half.
Haire found a leaping Doppler for a big gain of 33 yards but a motion flag brought the play back and destroyed comeback momentum. D-G-F’s Brady Seegert did more than that when he pounced on a bad exchange on a handoff to take the ball away and seal the win.
D-G-F ran the clock to 13 seconds and gave DL the ball on their own three with 13 ticks remaining.
Sophomore quarterback Aiden Leach nipped any chance of DL getting the ball with time on a swerving run to convert a third-and-nine in the red zone. Leach played a solid game and had plenty of help from his senior star in Taves and fellow sophomore Kohler in the backfield.
“Aiden Leach has done a tremendous job stepping up and he’s looking real good,” said Soderberg. “It’s a week-by-week thing and we’ll see how it goes. He’s impressing the seniors.”
“He’s a sophomore and he really stepped up last week and showed he’s capable of handling the spot this week,” said Taves.
The Rebels surpassed 400 total yards, gaining 345 on the ground. Kohler rushed 14 times for 97 yards and a score.
Erb had his best game of the season gaining 132 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown.
Nordmark was held to 14 yards, but played much of the game on the defensive line rather than in the backfield.
Haire was 7-17 passing for 127 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
Brady Morris had a night defensively making eight tackles to go with eight assists.
D-G-F improved to 4-2 overall and face Perham (5-1) at home next week. The Yellowjackets pounded East Grand Forks on the road 45-12.
The Lakers return home 1-5 overall to face 2-4 East Grand Forks Friday, Oct. 13 in a must-win, if only for a confidence boost.
“It’s a challenge to keep believing and it’s easy to give up and easy to doubt, but that’s what it’s going to be in real life too,” said Omang.
This season has been fraught with hard lessons for Laker gridders and they will open the playoffs in a couple weeks on the road.
“We’re going to be on the road and that’s what we deserve,” Omang said. “That’s okay, sometimes you need each other a little more on the road and I like that.”
DL is two games away from an entirely different season in the postseason and have the tools and talent to finish games. Omang is still waiting for his team to play a full four quarters of solid football.
East Grand Forks and a road game to finish up the regular season at 1-5 Thief River Falls are the last two chances to right the ship.
- Other 8AAAA games Friday night: Fergus Falls (5-1) won their fifth game in a row pounding Thief River Falls in Fergus 42-0. St. Cloud Apollo (3-3) jumbled the playoff scenario with a 26-24 road victory at Willmar (3-3) in double overtime. Rocori moved to 6-0 winning 30-14 at Big Lake. Little Falls defeated Foley at home 22-14 to move to 2-4.
The Lakers will likely play at Willmar or Apollo in the opening round of the playoffs. Rocori and Fergus Falls will both likely have the first round bye.
DL 6 0 8 7 - 21
DGF 7 7 14 7 - 35
DGF - Leach 33 pass to Kohler (Irwin kick)
DL - Haire 52 pass to Doppler (Kick failed)
DGF - Taves 1 run (Irwin kick)
DGF - Taves 6 run (Irwin kick)
DL - Nordmark 2 run (Haire to Doppler)
DGF - Kohler 11 run (Irwin kick)
DGF - Taves 15 run (Irwin kick)
DL - Erb 18 run (Wimmer kick)