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Class 4A Quarterfinals: Lakers and Islanders similar teams

Laker QB Michael Herzog (9) leaps over a Thief River Falls would-be tackler during the Section 8-4A championship game. Brian Basham/DL NEWSPAPERS

There will be plenty of big-play ability, smashing lines and a lot of motivation seething from each side of the St. Cloud State University Husky Field come Saturday evening.

The Class 4A state quarterfinal game pits two very similar teams, in that each possess a pair of potent runners in the backfield and each have massive, athletic fronts with the ability to push defenses on their backs.

The Section 8-4A Detroit Lakes Lakers and Section 6-4A DeLaSalle Islanders will face off on the SCSU field at 8 p.m. Saturday.

It’s familiar territory for both, after each lost in the state quarterfinals last year, put together 9-1 seasons in 2013, while both being ranked in the Class 4A top 10 for much of the season.

In other words, the Lakers and Islanders have showed consistency over the last two years, as their paths to a hopeful trip to the Metrodome and semifinals intersect on Husky Field.

“We are excited about getting another opportunity in the state,” said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher. “There was plenty of motivation for the kids to get back to this point, they accomplished one of their goals.”

The Lakers lost a heartbreaking four-overtime state quarterfinal to Princeton 34-31 on the same SCSU field, while the Islanders fell to Becker 21-14 in the quarterfinals, as well.

As far as momentum goes, every team in the state playoffs has it, now the games will determine which team makes the least mistakes.

“The two teams are similar in many ways, in that we are both big up front,” said DeLaSalle head coach Sean McMenomy. “Whoever wins the line of scrimmage battle, will probably win the game.

“That’s where state games are won.”

At the conclusion of the regular season, DeLaSalle finished No. 6 in the A.P. polls, while the Lakers were No. 9. In the QRF rankings, the Islanders were No. 3 and the Lakers No. 12, which is determined by many aspects, including strength of schedule, wins/losses, among other things.

Both teams’ offenses are led by backfield playmakers at quarterback and running back.

In their 43-29 Section 8-4A championship game over Thief River Falls last Saturday, each of the seniors, quarterback Michael Herzog and running back Jarett Nosal eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark.

It’s the first time a pair of Lakers have each gone over 1,000 yards since 2002, when Garrett Raboin and Tim Serviss both did it.

Incidentally, the Lakers lost to Mankato West in the state semifinals that season, after the 2001 season when DL won the Class 4A state championship, when Raboin and Serviss each eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time.

The dynamic duo of Herzog and Nosal have caused plenty of headaches for opposing defenses.

Herzog, who is a three-year starter at quarterback and the all-time DLHS leading scorer, has posted 1,109 yards on 170 carries (6.5 ypc), while Nosal hits the homerun a bit more with 1,025 yards on 118 carries (8.7 ypc).

“We’ll have to play very disciplined defense and control the line of scrimmage,” McMenomy said.

“We can’t make mistakes, or those two can make you pay. (Herzog) is a stud running the ball and we’ll have to make sure we make the tackle on both of those guys.”

But the Laker defense will be posed with the same challenge, with junior Islander quarterback Billy Hart and senior running back Chris Williams each eating up yards.

Hart is a dual-threat quarterback, as well, with the ability to stretch the field to some big wide receivers.

“Billy Hart runs the show,” McMenomy said. “He is usually one of the fastest guys on the field, and that says a lot because there are usually many burners on the field.”

Hart, whose father is a former Navy S.E.A.L., compliments Williams’ bruising style of rushing.

Hart stands at 6-0, 180, with speed to go with it, while Williams is more of a compact runner at 5-8, 190 pounds.

“Williams grew up playing receiver, so he still can run good routes,” the DeLaSalle coach said. “But he is like a sawed-off shotgun with his running style.”

Passing is a prevalent tool to the Islander offensive attack, with a versatile wide-receiving crew, led by senior Cornell King.

“Hart loves to throw the ball deep and with our 6-2, 6-3 wide receivers, he puts it up where they can get the ball,” McMenomy said.

The offensive line is anchored by Rutgers and University of Pittsburgh recruit junior Drayton Carlberg, who also plays on the defensive line, as well.

“We go about 270-280 pounds across the line,” McMenomy said. “They are big and can move well.

“But we also know DL is big across the board, as well, so I’m expecting some Sumo wrestling to go on Saturday.”

 Motschenbacher said the Lakers haven’t faced a running quarterback this season and Hart certainly fits that bill.

“Their QB is more dangerous when he scrambles or there is a broken play,” Motschenbacher said. “And their running back runs the ball hard, it’s very close to what we do offensively.”

The Lakers prescribed the perfect game on how to beat a potent offense in their Section 8-4A championship win over Thief River Falls.

The Lakers held possession of the ball over the Prowlers, thanks to picking up 22 first downs, 18 by rushing.

DL was able to find success through its offensive line picking up yards on first and second downs, to force short third-down plays.

Long drives were successfully capped in the end zone and it’s a formula the Lakers will look to duplicate against the Islanders.

“The key is if we can control the ball and hit some big plays here and there,” Motschenbacher said.

“We just have to be solid all the way around and limit our mistakes.”

Stretching the field has been coming more and more for DL, with junior wide receiver Ryan Cihak breaking out during the playoffs.

His 28-yard diving TD reception was a highlight Saturday against TRF, as he has been the leading the receiver in each of the Lakers’ two section playoff wins.

But the path to the Class 4A semifinals inside the Metrodome will more than likely go through the trenches.

“Whoever can win in the trenches, will probably win,” McMenomy added.

Kickoff is at 8 p.m. with the semifinal game being Friday, Nov. 15, at 4:30 p.m. against the winner of Kasson-Mantorville and the Academy of Holy Angels.

Detroit Lakes 2013 Season stats: 9-1

Lakers 35, Fargo North 20

Lakers 40, Crookston 6

Lakers 29, Thief River Falls 21

Lakers 48, Staples-Motley 6

Lakers 28, East Grand Forks 6

Lakers 14, Park Rapids 7

Perham 14, Detroit Lakes 0

Lakers 18, Pequot Lakes 7

Section playoffs:

Lakers 29, Albany 28 (semi’s)

Lakers 43, Thief River Falls 29 (Championship)

Lakers 284, Opponents 144

Detroit Lakes  -95          76  56   57 - 284

Opp               -18          45    20 61 - 144 


Michael Herzog - 116 points (19 rushing touchdowns, 1 2-point reception)

Jarett Nosal - 60 points (10 rushing TD)

Luke Payne - 29 points (29-31 PAT kicks)

Casey Paskey - 20 points (1 rushing, 1 kickoff return, 1 receiving touchdowns, 1 2-point conversion pass)

Christian Hedstrom - 18 points (2 rush, 1 receiving TD)

Michael Herrmann - 8 points (1 receiving TD, 2-point conversion pass)

Ryan Cihak - 8 points (1 receiving touchdown, 1 2-point pass)

Sam Champa - 6 points (1 kickoff return)

Brandon Dahring - 6 points (1 INT. return)

Josh Bollig - 6 points (1 rushing TD)

Forrest Schleske - 6 points (1 rushing TD)

Andrew Dahl - 1 points (1-1 PAT kick)

                                     DL             Opp

First Downs                   126        100

By Rushing                    100         68

By passing                     21         27

By penalty                      5           5

Net Yards Rushing            2516       1974

No. rushes                    357        430

Yards gained                 2657       2198

Yards lost                     141        224

Yards per rush avg.            7.0         5.1

Net Yards Passing             722        747

No. passes                    121        135

Completed                     44         55

Incomplete                    72         68

Had intercepted                5          12

Interception yards             216         75

Total Offensive Plays          504        622

TOTAL NET YARDS            3238       2721

Kickoffs                        51         31

Yards                         2585       1245

Ave. kickoff                    50.7       40.2

Kickoffs Returned              22         40

Yards                          448        644

Ave. return                    20.4       16.1

Punts                          27          -

Yards                          879          -

Avg. punt                      32.6         -

Fumbles                       20         23

Fumbles lost                   9           9

Penalties                      45         52

Yards                          381        368

Individual Rushing

                           NR     YG    YL    Net

Michael Herzog          170   1173  64   1109

Jarett Nosal              118   1092  67   1025

Christian Hedstrom       17    151   12   139

Forrest Schleske          17     93    0     93

Rayn Jacobson            5      62    3     59

Parker Jackson            8      50    0     50

Casey Paskey              6      32    4     28

Sam Champa             4      18    0     18

Brandon Dahring          2      8     0     8

Nick Aguilar               3      6     0     6

Dylan Bremseth           3      7     3     4

Rayn Jacobson            2      3     0     3

Josh Bollig                2      1     5    (-4)

Ryan Cihak                1      0     7    (-7)

Individual Passing

                       No  Comp Inc  Int   Yds  TD

Herzog               116  43  68  5   691  4

Hedstrom              5    1    4   0   31   1

Pass Receiving

                              No.   Yds.    TD 

Casey Paskey                15   236     1

Ryan Cihak                   8    116     1

Michael Herrmann           5    107     1

Nosal                        5    106     1

Christian Hedstrom           6    114     1

Champa                      4     29     0


                             No.   Yds.   Ave.

Champa                     50   2536    50.7

Andrew Dahl                 1     49      49

Kickoffs Returned

                             No.   Yds.   Ave.

Champa                      9    220   24.4

Paskey                       8    220   27.5

Herrmann                    2     15    7.5

Cihak                         1     13     13


                             No.   Yds.   Ave.

Paskey                       21   698   33.2

Boyd Bradbury                5    146   29.2

Carter Schwan                1     35     35

Pass Interceptions

                                 No.       Yds.

Champa                         6        123

Ryan Cihak                      3         3

Dahring                          1         83

Kirby Siewert                    1         7

Paskey                           1         0


                                 No.    Yds. lost

Forrest Schleske                3.5        27

Kirby Siewert                    3.5        20

Luke Eggebraaten                2         15

Bobby Welty                     2         14

Ty Heinecke                     1         4

Sam Voz                         .5          6

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