Detroit Lakes scores four unanswered touchdowns to hand Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton its first loss of the season
A 28-point second quarter for the Lakers was enough to turn their fortunes and knock off the Rebels of DGF.
Midway through the second quarter, it looked like Detroit Lakes was sliding down the same slippery slope they went down two weeks earlier in Barnesville. But a long Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton touchdown woke up the Lakers as they erased a 15-point deficit to knock off the undefeated Rebels.
Detroit Lakes' (5-3) 42-29 victory over DGF (7-1) couldn't have come at a better time as the regular season ended at Mollberg Field on Wednesday night. The Lakers scored four unanswered touchdowns to upset Class AAA's third-ranked Rebels, according to the MN AP poll.
"We put a lot of work into this week, and this one feels good," junior wide receiver Charlie Kalina said. "We stayed focused and stayed sharp. We have great coaches and great relationships with everyone here."
Trailing 22-8 with under nine minutes left in the first half, Lakers' junior Ethan Carrier broke off a 29-yard touchdown run to pull within eight points. On the Rebels' next offensive play, quarterback Owen Leach found Jordan Summers in the busted Detroit Lakes secondary to regain a two-touchdown lead.
"Coming into this game, we talked about playing football the way we can play football," Lakers' head coach Reed Hefta said. "We haven't been there just yet this season. There were a lot of things that were sloppy early in this game, but as the game went on, we finally put ourselves in a situation to play Laker football. We did our job, and we trusted each other. After that deep pass, we knew we had to come together right then and work as a team to get this done."
Senior linebacker Gavin Smith was in the DGF backfield all night, and he got to Leach for a strip-sack with 4:33 left in the first half. Senior linebacker Markus Lyman picked up the loose ball and ran it 20-yard for a touchdown.
"A turnover like that is so important because it gives us more opportunities to score, which is big against a team like DGF," Hefta said. "We need plays like that to win games like this."
Detroit Lakes clawed back within a point on a touchdown pass from Bradly Swiers to Ty Jones with 38 seconds left in the half. After the two-point conversion pass to Christian Solberg was completed, the Lakers caught a break on special teams.
On the ensuing kick, Rebels' kick returner Nick Waale let the ball slip right through his hands and into the lap of the Lakers' kickoff team. Swiers then connected with Kalina for the go-ahead touchdown on second down with 19 seconds left in the half.
"I had to go back out there for the two-point conversion, so I didn't get to run down the sideline and celebrate for too long," Kalina said of his second touchdown catch. "But I heard it all, and I appreciate all of these fans that come out and support us. When they get loud, it feels good."
Detroit Lakes aired the ball out in the first half despite the cold weather and rain pouring down. It's part of the trust that's been built between the coaching staff and a budding offense.
"Our scheme for our offense doesn't change because of who we play," Hefta said. "We want to be explosive, and we want to do things right. At the end of the day, taking those shots was something we challenged ourselves to do, and we were able to run our offense the way we'd like to run it. At this point in the season, you need to be consistent."
In the middle of Detroit Lakes' 28-point fourth quarter, the Lakers brought up the loss they suffered in Barnesville two weeks ago. After leading 14-6, the Trojans went on to win 49-14. As the Lakers started to feel the game slip down two touchdowns, they dug their heels in the ground and took matters into their own hands.
"We mentioned the Barnesville game and how we couldn't let that happen again," Kalina said. "We can't be complacent. We have to stay focused on what's in front of us."
After a 65-point first half, neither team scored in the third quarter. Detroit Lakes forced DGF's potent offense to punt and turned the ball over on downs in every possession in the second half.
"It started with our front seven," Hefta said of the defensive success. "Jacob Ehnert, Jeff Moen, Markus Lyman, Will Martin, Cade Okeson, Gavin (Smith) and Cade Jackson really played well up front. They didn't start out great, but they definitely got better as the game went on. They realized they could do the job."
With 7:40 left in the fourth quarter, Detroit Lakes bought some insurance in the form of Swiers' fourth touchdown pass of the game. He linked with Jones for the second time to put the Lakers up 42-29. Swiers also threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Kalina in the first quarter.
"He's outstanding," Kalina said of Swiers. "He's such a good quarterback, and he doesn't miss you very often. Even when he's under pressure, he finds a way to give you a chance. He makes those throws. He's a heck of a player."
The game ended in the Detroit Lakes end zone. The Lakers posted one more stand on DGF's final drive of the game to preserve a 13-point victory–handing the Rebels their first loss of the season.
"It really speaks to the resiliency of these kids," Hefta said on completing the comeback. "I know I've talked about resiliency in a lot of different ways, but these guys learned how to bear down, trust themselves and trust this team. That's been the biggest challenge all year for us. When you leave points on the board and give points to teams, it sets you back. But tonight, we played like the team we want to be."
DGF- 14 15 0 0 - 29
DETROIT LAKES- 8 28 0 6 - 42
SCORING- FIRST QUARTER- DGF- Owen Leach 15-yard TD run, PAT no good, 6-0, 8:17; DETROIT LAKES- bradley Swiers 33-yard TD pass to Charlie Kalina, two-point conversion pass to Christian Solberg good, 8-6, 3:58; DGF- Leach 1-yard TD run, conversion pass to McKale Pierson good, 14-8, 0:01; SECOND QUARTER- DGF- Pierson 8-yard TD run, Pierson conversion run good, 22-8, 10:30; DETROIT LAKES- Ethan Carrier 29-yard TD run, conversion pass incomplete, 22-14, 8:29; DGF- Lech 51-yard TD pass to Jordan Summers, Conversion pass no good, 29-14, 8:17; DETROIT LAKES- Markus Lyman fumble recovery returned 20-yards for a TD, conversion no good, 29-20, 4:33; DETROIT LAKES- Swiers 18-yard TD pass to Ty Jones, Solberg conversion catch good, 29-28, 0:38; DETROIT LAKES- Swiers 14-yard TD pass to Kalina, Brandton Marsh conversion catch good, 36-29, 0:19; FOURTH QUARTER- DETROIT LAKES- Swiers 7-yard TD pass to Jones, conversion run no good, 42-29, 7:40