Star running back Isaiah Thompson of the No. 5-4A Detroit Lakes Lakers left Thursday night’s game with a knee injury in the second quarter of a 55-14 victory over Fergus Falls at Otter Stadium.
Thompson will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the damage, if any. He was on crutches on the sideline in the second half and is doubtful to play in the season finale at home against Perham Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Early in the second quarter, the Lakers faced third-and-13 at its own 30-yard line and quarterback Max Gunderson handed the ball to Thompson on a draw play up the middle. Thompson was hit while his leg was wrapped up with another Otter defender and he was down on the field in pain before being helped to the sideline.
The Lakers were stopped on an offensive drive for the first time in the game on the play.
DL took an early lead on a Gunderson one-yard touchdown run to cap the opening drive of the game. Gunderson fumbled the exchange with Thompson in wet conditions but picked up the ball and scored. Braeden Wimmer’s first of seven extra point kicks gave DL a 7-0 lead. A 35-yard reception from Gunderson to Gabe Hanninen on fourth down was the key play to get into scoring position.
The Fergus Falls defense stuffed 10 men in the box to try to contain the Laker rushing attack to little avail.
“We’ve been working on that and we’re going to make people pay for that,” said DL head coach Josh Omang. “We certainly have a bunch of stuff to do that. They made some plays even though it was wet and raining, but we still took some shots and I think we were good on those.”
DL was nearly perfect when passing in the game and used the aerial attack for two of the eight touchdowns.
The Lakers scored twice more in the first quarter, a six-yard Thompson run and a 38-yard run by Hanninen. The latter score was the culmination of a two-play, 90-yard drive. Thompson got DL out of the shadow of its goal line with a 52-yard burst that Hanninen polished off on the next snap for a 21-0 lead.
“I was happy with how we came out,” Omang said. “We did what we wanted to do. Obviously, the conditions weren’t great so we just got into double tight and started playing some old school football.”
DL led 35-0 after a Thompson 22-yard touchdown run and a Gunderson 34-yard connection to Reed Mace early in the second quarter followed by a flurry of scores late in the half.
Fergus Falls got on the scoreboard at the four-minute mark when Kaden Hartwell blocked a DL punt and scooped the ball into the end zone.
Filling in for Thompson, Caden Yliniemi answered right back with an 87-yard touchdown run.
Parker Jacobs responded with an 80-yard touchdown run for the Otters and Gunderson and Mace hooked up again from 38 yards with 90 seconds left to cap first half scoring with DL up big 48-14.
The Lakers had more than 400 total yards in the first half, 303 of it rushing.
Thompson left the game with 165 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. His career total is 356-3,743 - 190 yards shy of Corey Brogren’s all-time record of 3,933 yards.
Yliniemi rushed three times for 98 yards and a score.
Gunderson was 4-5 passing for 130 yards and two touchdowns to Mace, who made two grabs for 72 yards.
Hanninen ate up chunks of turf with two catches for 58 yards and 38 yards on one rushing attempt.
Fergus falls dropped to 3-4 overall. The Lakers are 7-0 heading into the short, MEA week. DL is 16-1 in the last 17 games and are undefeated in 15 regular season games during that stretch.
DL 21 27 7 0 - 55
FF 0 14 0 0 - 14
DL - Max Gunderson 1 run (Braeden Wimmer kick)
DL - Isaiah Thompson 6 run (Wimmer kick)
DL - Gabe Hanninen 38 run (Wimmer kick)
DL - Thompson 22 run (Wimmer kick)
DL - Reed Mace 34 pass from Gunderson (Wimmer kick)
FF - Kaden Hartwell punt block recovery (Andrew Starzl kick)
DL - Caden Yliniemi 87 run (Wimmer kick)
FF - Parker Jacobs 80 run (Starzl kick)
DL - Mace 38 pass from Gunderson (kick failed)
DL - Christian Solberg 6 run (Wimmer kick)