The Detroit Lakes defense stood tall protecting its goal line and the offense scored early as the Lakers never trailed and kept possession of the traveling paddle trophy with a 28-10 victory over the Yellowjackets at Meinhover Field in Perham Friday, Oct. 30.

The Laker defenders were tested early after a three-and-out from the offense giving Perham the ball at midfield on its opening drive.

“They were ready to play fast right away and we just had to adjust,” Laker linebacker Garret Nelson said. “Having guys that can adjust on the fly really wins a game for you.”

Perham got the DL 17-yard line but stalled on fourth down, something the Jackets would suffer on multiple drives to the Laker red zone all game-long.

“I always think the D-line should get all the credit,” Nelson said. “We had a lot of rules we had to abide by and it was tough to get in that right spot, but as soon as I called out what we were supposed to be doing, they were in the right spot.”

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Zack Oistad (68), Garret Nelson (33), Nolan Mann (32) and James Taylor (9) put the pinch on Perham's Chas Melvin (1) in a strong display from the Detroit Lakes defense at Perham Friday. Robert Williams / Tribune
Zack Oistad (68), Garret Nelson (33), Nolan Mann (32) and James Taylor (9) put the pinch on Perham's Chas Melvin (1) in a strong display from the Detroit Lakes defense at Perham Friday. Robert Williams / Tribune

The Lakers moved 83 yards on nine plays, culminating in a 22-yard middle screen pass from Matthew Tobkin to Christian Solberg and a 22-yard touchdown at 5:31 of the first quarter.

Evan Thomas booted the extra point kick and was 4-4 on the night after taking the job over from Braeden Wimmer, who is out with a broken toe.

Perham’s ensuing drive went negative seven yards to a punt.

Solberg ate up 40 yards on a second down run to get the Perham 26. Joe Heinlein scored two plays later on a 25-yard run to the left pylon and DL led 14-0 at the 2:47 mark.

The Jackets have dealt with plenty of injuries this season. Standout Noah Rooney was injured two weeks ago and remains out. Quarterback Colton Hackel was out for this game. Junior Josh Peterson was at the helm and led Perham on a quick strike reply drive of four plays for 67 yards. Peterson found Finn Diggins on a 49-yard touchdown pass and ran in for the deuce to cut the Laker lead to 14-8 just 65 seconds after DL’s second touchdown.

Diggins was hurt later in the game and finished the contest watching from the sideline.

Perham had the Lakers in trouble facing fourth-and-12 from the 16-yard line after three plays.

The snap of the punt rolled around and out the back of the end zone and Perham had all the momentum with a safety and a four-point deficit with the ball.

Levi Richter got a nice return off Yliniemi’s free kick and Perham started at the Laker 34, but Peterson was sacked three plays later, fumbled and James Taylor got the ball back for DL at the 24-yard line.

Perham’s next possession ended on fourth-and-two at the Laker 42 when Nelson stuffed a pitch play around the left end to get the ball back on downs.

DL quarterback Matt Tobkin went to the air and found the first of two targets to Jacob Kalina for scores. With 4:33 left in the half, Tobkin’s second down pass found Kalina for a 35-yard touchdown. Kalina was wide open in the Perham secondary scoring easily.

Perham was quickly forced to punt but the kick was muffed by DL’s Ty Jones and ended up in the hands of Perham’s Andrew Smith to give the Jackets new life at the DL 38-yard line.

Laker defenders turned Perham away on fourth down at the 22 on an incompletion but had one more task left in the half.

Jake Green was stripped of the ball on second-and-long for the Lakers. His fumble ended up in Perham hands at the DL 20 with 35 ticks on the clock.

The Laker defense stiffened again and turned Perham over on downs 17 seconds later going to the half up 21-10.

Perham needed the first drive of the second half to get back in the game and moved with purpose to a first-and-goal inside the Laker 10.

Zack Oistad had a tackle of Peterson for a three-yard loss; Peterson went back another four yards on second down and passes on third and fourth were incomplete.

DL defenders were stout on fourth down Friday night, stopping Perham five times in the game.

The Lakers had the lone score of the second half cashing in on a Chas Melvin fumble recovered by Yliniemi at the Perham 27. On third down, Tobkin and Kalina hooked up again, this time from 20 yards out crossing the middle of the field to put the nail in the coffin at 8:11 of the fourth quarter.

Jacob Kalina (25) and Gavin Smith (14) celebrate the final touchdown of the game at Perham, a 20-yard Kalina reception. Robert Williams / Tribune
Jacob Kalina (25) and Gavin Smith (14) celebrate the final touchdown of the game at Perham, a 20-yard Kalina reception. Robert Williams / Tribune

Solberg had a big night rushing 16 times for 137 yards.

Tobkin was 6-16 passing for 90 yards with half his throws going for touchdowns.

Kalina had two touchdown catches for 55 yards.

DL had 303 total yards, 254 on the ground, while holding Perham to 232 yards evenly split.

Detroit Lakes improved to 4-0 and will play Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (3-0) Saturday, Nov. 7 at Mollberg Field at noon.

Nelson and his defense are ready for all comers.

“We’re tough as nails; we’ll play anybody,” he said. “Whoever is out there, we’ll play ‘em.”

Detroit Lakes, ranked seventh in Class 4A, (4-0) defeated Perham (1-3) for the third straight time in the series and has won seven of the last 10 meetings over the past decade.

Detroit Lakes 28, Perham 10

DL 14 7 0 7 - 28

PER 8 2 0 0 - 10

DL - Christian Solberg 22 pass from Matt Tobkin (Evan Thomas kick)

DL - Joe Heinlein 25 run (Thomas kick)

P - Finn Diggins 49 pass from Josh Peterson (Peterson run)

P - Perham Safety

DL - Jacob Kalina 35 pass from Tobkin (Thomas kick)

DL - Jacob Kalina 20 pass from Tobkin (Thomas kick)