As the Detroit Lakes football team looks ahead to week two, it will see another familiar opponent, which it beat last season. This time, the Lakers need a win in their home opener to avoid falling to 0-2.
East Grand Forks picked up a win two weeks ago over Pequot Lakes by a score of 27-12. Now, the Green Wave has had two weeks to prepare for a chance to avenge a 21-7 against the Lakers in 2020.
"They came down and scrimmaged with us a little bit this summer," Detroit Lakes head coach Reed Hefta said. "They're a tough-nosed team that's all about building a good culture there. They're coming off a win last week against a Pequot Lakes team that's traditionally strong. It's going to be another challenge for us. It's going to be a chance for our guys to react to the adversity of losing."
One of the areas of success for Detroit Lakes was in the ground game. Several ball carriers broke off significant gains in each quarter in Friday's 29-15 loss to Fergus Falls. The Detroit Lakes offensive line, which was relatively inexperienced, did an excellent job of opening up holes for the Laker backfield.
"We have a lot of physical guys up front," Hefta said. "It's fun to see the looks in their eyes when they know they have a challenge. It was a fun challenge for them, and they stepped up. For a lot of them, it was their first time playing in a varsity football game."
Where the Lakers really struggled was in the passing game on both sides of the ball. While quarterbacks Bradly Swiers and Mason Carrier had a hard time connecting on big plays through the air, the Fergus Falls passing attack went after the Detroit Lakes secondary on critical moments. Hefta hopes some of the minuscule mistakes are cleaned up before this Friday's home opener.
"There are little bits of execution that we need to improve," Hefta said. "Whether it's a missed assignment on a blocking scheme, errant pass, or whatever it might be, we need to clean those up. Obviously, we want to complete more passes. But you have to do it in the right situation."
When the chips are down this early, Hefta looks to his veterans to help dig the Lakers out of an early hole. This Friday could be seen as an early turning point to the season, and it's going to take a team effort to bounce back from a tough week-one loss.
"Throughout practice and in the game, we ask that each person find their role, and that means being a leader for the seniors who have been there and done this before," Hefta said. "You don't need to score a touchdown or set a block to be a leader. Everyone from the scout team to the starters needs to find that role. Those are things that are going to help us come together."