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Lakers eye 10th victory in Friday's section final

What should be a slugfest and a barnburner comes to fruition Friday night in Alexandria at 7 p.m., as the undefeated Mid-State Conference champions, two-time defending Section champions, No. 1-seeded, No. 3-4A state-ranked Detroit Lakes Lakers fo...

Champa
Sam Champa and the Lakers square off with Rocori Friday night in the Lakers' third consecutive trip to the Section 8-4A championship game. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

What should be a slugfest and a barnburner comes to fruition Friday night in Alexandria at 7 p.m., as the undefeated Mid-State Conference champions, two-time defending Section champions, No. 1-seeded, No. 3-4A state-ranked Detroit Lakes Lakers football team faces the No. 3-seeded Rocori Spartans for the Section 8-4A title at Alexandria Area High School. The Spartans (6-4) enter the game winners of four straight, including playoff wins over Fergus Falls 34-2 and the No. 2 seed Albany 41-30 on the Huskies’ home field in last week’s semifinal. The Lakers are unblemished at 9-0 coming off a 35-21 semifinal victory at home over No. 4 Little Falls. Detroit Lakes has adapted successfully in each contest with an array of offensive talent and a stout defense allowing one touchdown on average to their opponents per contest. Little Falls was the first team to find the end zone three times against the Laker defense, the last touchdown coming in the final minute with the Lakers up by 21 points. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton of Section 8-3A was the only other team to score multiple touchdowns Sept. 12 in a 14-13 loss to the Lakers in Glyndon. The remaining seven contests have seen opponents leaving zero to eight points on the board, with DL shutouts in the season opener over Fargo North 20-0 and a 21-0 blanking of the Panthers in the snow and rain at Park Rapids Oct. 3. DL is outscoring their opponents 257-69. Rocori has scored 232 points and allowed 186. Spartan quarterback Alex Budde has been outstanding in the playoffs and will be front and center as the key to the Lakers stopping the Rocori offense.
Budde threw for three touchdowns and rushed for one in the playoff opener against the Otters. He threw for 234 yards and two scores and rushed for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week against the 7-2 Huskies. “He’s coming along, nicely,” Rocori Head Coach Mike Rowe said. Budde is a first-year starter, the same as DL quarterback Christian Hedstrom. “We went through some growing pains earlier in the year to get where we’re at,” said Rowe. “He’s doing a fine job and each week seems to be getting better and better.” Besides Budde, Sam Mackedanz will pose a threat to the Laker secondary. Mackedanz caught three balls for 131 yards last week and had two receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns against Fergus Falls. The playoffs move to turf fields-only the rest of the way and Rocori has played at Alexandria this season losing 36-10 to the Cardinals Sept. 20. According to Rowe, there is some advantage to having played there before; the brand new stadium will be of little awe to the Spartans. The Spartans’ familiarity does create a slightly different experience between the two clubs. “It’s not a lot that we need to adjust to because we’ve been there and know the routine,” said Rowe. “I think it benefits us a little bit.” In the end, regardless of the surface, weather or location, the game will simply come down to 11-on-11 like every game. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1262474","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"389","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Temperatures for the 7 p.m. kickoff in Alexandria should be a degree or two below freezing. The Spartans have played a number of Class 5A schools this season, including two ranked teams No. 4-5A Sartell-St. Stephen (L 15-8 at home) and a 42-34 win over Willmar. Willmar reached their highest ranking of No. 6 in the Sept. 24 poll. There will also be familiarity between the two coaching staffs. “The Detroit Lakes coaching staff is a phenomenal group; we've gotten to know them a little bit over the years at some coaching clinics and all that,” said Rowe. Rowe and DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher both serve on the All-Star Selection Committee. Motschenbacher’s mantra this season is typical of Laker football credes, in respecting opponents, playing with class and for each other. His 2014 DL football team is a band of talent with a host of players grabbing the spotlight each week. The Lakers have proven they can score quickly, sustain clock-eating drives, and put up points on defense and special teams. Luke Payne is solid in the kicking game and can boot a field goal, if necessary. Hedstrom and the passing game have improved steadily over the course of the season and every opponent knows the Lakers will establish the run. “When you play Detroit Lakes you play a team that is really good on defense and does a lot of things on offense that are very good and they find ways to get into the end zone and you have to prepare your kids for a physical, tough football game and you have to be mentally sharp,” Rowe said. “If you make mental mistakes they’re going to make you pay for it.” The Lakers capitalized on a fumble recovery on Little Falls’ opening drive of the second half in the semifinals and in one play Ryan Cihak stole game momentum permanently on a 45-yard scamper to the house. DL controlled the rest of the half and cruised to the two-score victory. DL has been tested this season. The march to a 9-0 mark has not always been a cakewalk. The Lakers enter the game with a lot of confidence having found so many different ways to put the W on the scoreboard and are the two-time defending 8-4A champs and have been in the final three straight seasons. The championship game is where the Lakers expected to be and DL arrived with the luxury of a bye week during the opening round. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1262482","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"407","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] The teams have recent history in the playoffs. Detroit Lakes defeated Rocori 29-28 at Fargodome Nov. 1, 2012 in the finals. The Lakers opened a 29-0 halftime lead on the Spartans and survived a second half rally to win by one point. Princeton upended DL in the 2012 section final in a marathon four-overtime victory 34-31 at St. Cloud State. Since that game, Section 8-4A has belonged to the Lakers. The Spartans will need to play a complete game in all three facets to take the trophy away. Alex Budde photo courtesy of Rand Middleton, Forum News Service. All other photos by DL Newspaper's Photo Editor Brian Basham. Tweets by @DLNewspapersWhat should be a slugfest and a barnburner comes to fruition Friday night in Alexandria at 7 p.m., as the undefeated Mid-State Conference champions, two-time defending Section champions, No. 1-seeded, No. 3-4A state-ranked Detroit Lakes Lakers football team faces the No. 3-seeded Rocori Spartans for the Section 8-4A title at Alexandria Area High School. The Spartans (6-4) enter the game winners of four straight, including playoff wins over Fergus Falls 34-2 and the No. 2 seed Albany 41-30 on the Huskies’ home field in last week’s semifinal. The Lakers are unblemished at 9-0 coming off a 35-21 semifinal victory at home over No. 4 Little Falls. Detroit Lakes has adapted successfully in each contest with an array of offensive talent and a stout defense allowing one touchdown on average to their opponents per contest. Little Falls was the first team to find the end zone three times against the Laker defense, the last touchdown coming in the final minute with the Lakers up by 21 points. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton of Section 8-3A was the only other team to score multiple touchdowns Sept. 12 in a 14-13 loss to the Lakers in Glyndon. The remaining seven contests have seen opponents leaving zero to eight points on the board, with DL shutouts in the season opener over Fargo North 20-0 and a 21-0 blanking of the Panthers in the snow and rain at Park Rapids Oct. 3. DL is outscoring their opponents 257-69. Rocori has scored 232 points and allowed 186. Spartan quarterback Alex Budde has been outstanding in the playoffs and will be front and center as the key to the Lakers stopping the Rocori offense. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1262467","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"321","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Budde threw for three touchdowns and rushed for one in the playoff opener against the Otters. He threw for 234 yards and two scores and rushed for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week against the 7-2 Huskies. “He’s coming along, nicely,” Rocori Head Coach Mike Rowe said. Budde is a first-year starter, the same as DL quarterback Christian Hedstrom. “We went through some growing pains earlier in the year to get where we’re at,” said Rowe. “He’s doing a fine job and each week seems to be getting better and better.” Besides Budde, Sam Mackedanz will pose a threat to the Laker secondary. Mackedanz caught three balls for 131 yards last week and had two receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns against Fergus Falls. The playoffs move to turf fields-only the rest of the way and Rocori has played at Alexandria this season losing 36-10 to the Cardinals Sept. 20. According to Rowe, there is some advantage to having played there before; the brand new stadium will be of little awe to the Spartans. The Spartans’ familiarity does create a slightly different experience between the two clubs. “It’s not a lot that we need to adjust to because we’ve been there and know the routine,” said Rowe. “I think it benefits us a little bit.” In the end, regardless of the surface, weather or location, the game will simply come down to 11-on-11 like every game.
Temperatures for the 7 p.m. kickoff in Alexandria should be a degree or two below freezing. The Spartans have played a number of Class 5A schools this season, including two ranked teams No. 4-5A Sartell-St. Stephen (L 15-8 at home) and a 42-34 win over Willmar. Willmar reached their highest ranking of No. 6 in the Sept. 24 poll. There will also be familiarity between the two coaching staffs. “The Detroit Lakes coaching staff is a phenomenal group; we've gotten to know them a little bit over the years at some coaching clinics and all that,” said Rowe. Rowe and DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher both serve on the All-Star Selection Committee. Motschenbacher’s mantra this season is typical of Laker football credes, in respecting opponents, playing with class and for each other. His 2014 DL football team is a band of talent with a host of players grabbing the spotlight each week. The Lakers have proven they can score quickly, sustain clock-eating drives, and put up points on defense and special teams. Luke Payne is solid in the kicking game and can boot a field goal, if necessary. Hedstrom and the passing game have improved steadily over the course of the season and every opponent knows the Lakers will establish the run. “When you play Detroit Lakes you play a team that is really good on defense and does a lot of things on offense that are very good and they find ways to get into the end zone and you have to prepare your kids for a physical, tough football game and you have to be mentally sharp,” Rowe said. “If you make mental mistakes they’re going to make you pay for it.” The Lakers capitalized on a fumble recovery on Little Falls’ opening drive of the second half in the semifinals and in one play Ryan Cihak stole game momentum permanently on a 45-yard scamper to the house. DL controlled the rest of the half and cruised to the two-score victory. DL has been tested this season. The march to a 9-0 mark has not always been a cakewalk. The Lakers enter the game with a lot of confidence having found so many different ways to put the W on the scoreboard and are the two-time defending 8-4A champs and have been in the final three straight seasons. The championship game is where the Lakers expected to be and DL arrived with the luxury of a bye week during the opening round. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1262482","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"407","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] The teams have recent history in the playoffs. Detroit Lakes defeated Rocori 29-28 at Fargodome Nov. 1, 2012 in the finals. The Lakers opened a 29-0 halftime lead on the Spartans and survived a second half rally to win by one point. Princeton upended DL in the 2012 section final in a marathon four-overtime victory 34-31 at St. Cloud State. Since that game, Section 8-4A has belonged to the Lakers. The Spartans will need to play a complete game in all three facets to take the trophy away. Alex Budde photo courtesy of Rand Middleton, Forum News Service. All other photos by DL Newspaper's Photo Editor Brian Basham. Tweets by @DLNewspapersWhat should be a slugfest and a barnburner comes to fruition Friday night in Alexandria at 7 p.m., as the undefeated Mid-State Conference champions, two-time defending Section champions, No. 1-seeded, No. 3-4A state-ranked Detroit Lakes Lakers football team faces the No. 3-seeded Rocori Spartans for the Section 8-4A title at Alexandria Area High School. The Spartans (6-4) enter the game winners of four straight, including playoff wins over Fergus Falls 34-2 and the No. 2 seed Albany 41-30 on the Huskies’ home field in last week’s semifinal. The Lakers are unblemished at 9-0 coming off a 35-21 semifinal victory at home over No. 4 Little Falls. Detroit Lakes has adapted successfully in each contest with an array of offensive talent and a stout defense allowing one touchdown on average to their opponents per contest. Little Falls was the first team to find the end zone three times against the Laker defense, the last touchdown coming in the final minute with the Lakers up by 21 points. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton of Section 8-3A was the only other team to score multiple touchdowns Sept. 12 in a 14-13 loss to the Lakers in Glyndon. The remaining seven contests have seen opponents leaving zero to eight points on the board, with DL shutouts in the season opener over Fargo North 20-0 and a 21-0 blanking of the Panthers in the snow and rain at Park Rapids Oct. 3. DL is outscoring their opponents 257-69. Rocori has scored 232 points and allowed 186. Spartan quarterback Alex Budde has been outstanding in the playoffs and will be front and center as the key to the Lakers stopping the Rocori offense. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1262467","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"321","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Budde threw for three touchdowns and rushed for one in the playoff opener against the Otters. He threw for 234 yards and two scores and rushed for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week against the 7-2 Huskies. “He’s coming along, nicely,” Rocori Head Coach Mike Rowe said. Budde is a first-year starter, the same as DL quarterback Christian Hedstrom. “We went through some growing pains earlier in the year to get where we’re at,” said Rowe. “He’s doing a fine job and each week seems to be getting better and better.” Besides Budde, Sam Mackedanz will pose a threat to the Laker secondary. Mackedanz caught three balls for 131 yards last week and had two receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns against Fergus Falls. The playoffs move to turf fields-only the rest of the way and Rocori has played at Alexandria this season losing 36-10 to the Cardinals Sept. 20. According to Rowe, there is some advantage to having played there before; the brand new stadium will be of little awe to the Spartans. The Spartans’ familiarity does create a slightly different experience between the two clubs. “It’s not a lot that we need to adjust to because we’ve been there and know the routine,” said Rowe. “I think it benefits us a little bit.” In the end, regardless of the surface, weather or location, the game will simply come down to 11-on-11 like every game. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1262474","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"389","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Temperatures for the 7 p.m. kickoff in Alexandria should be a degree or two below freezing. The Spartans have played a number of Class 5A schools this season, including two ranked teams No. 4-5A Sartell-St. Stephen (L 15-8 at home) and a 42-34 win over Willmar. Willmar reached their highest ranking of No. 6 in the Sept. 24 poll. There will also be familiarity between the two coaching staffs. “The Detroit Lakes coaching staff is a phenomenal group; we've gotten to know them a little bit over the years at some coaching clinics and all that,” said Rowe. Rowe and DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher both serve on the All-Star Selection Committee. Motschenbacher’s mantra this season is typical of Laker football credes, in respecting opponents, playing with class and for each other. His 2014 DL football team is a band of talent with a host of players grabbing the spotlight each week. The Lakers have proven they can score quickly, sustain clock-eating drives, and put up points on defense and special teams. Luke Payne is solid in the kicking game and can boot a field goal, if necessary. Hedstrom and the passing game have improved steadily over the course of the season and every opponent knows the Lakers will establish the run. “When you play Detroit Lakes you play a team that is really good on defense and does a lot of things on offense that are very good and they find ways to get into the end zone and you have to prepare your kids for a physical, tough football game and you have to be mentally sharp,” Rowe said. “If you make mental mistakes they’re going to make you pay for it.” The Lakers capitalized on a fumble recovery on Little Falls’ opening drive of the second half in the semifinals and in one play Ryan Cihak stole game momentum permanently on a 45-yard scamper to the house. DL controlled the rest of the half and cruised to the two-score victory. DL has been tested this season. The march to a 9-0 mark has not always been a cakewalk. The Lakers enter the game with a lot of confidence having found so many different ways to put the W on the scoreboard and are the two-time defending 8-4A champs and have been in the final three straight seasons. The championship game is where the Lakers expected to be and DL arrived with the luxury of a bye week during the opening round.
The teams have recent history in the playoffs. Detroit Lakes defeated Rocori 29-28 at Fargodome Nov. 1, 2012 in the finals. The Lakers opened a 29-0 halftime lead on the Spartans and survived a second half rally to win by one point. Princeton upended DL in the 2012 section final in a marathon four-overtime victory 34-31 at St. Cloud State. Since that game, Section 8-4A has belonged to the Lakers. The Spartans will need to play a complete game in all three facets to take the trophy away. Alex Budde photo courtesy of Rand Middleton, Forum News Service. All other photos by DL Newspaper's Photo Editor Brian Basham. Tweets by @DLNewspapersWhat should be a slugfest and a barnburner comes to fruition Friday night in Alexandria at 7 p.m., as the undefeated Mid-State Conference champions, two-time defending Section champions, No. 1-seeded, No. 3-4A state-ranked Detroit Lakes Lakers football team faces the No. 3-seeded Rocori Spartans for the Section 8-4A title at Alexandria Area High School.The Spartans (6-4) enter the game winners of four straight, including playoff wins over Fergus Falls 34-2 and the No. 2 seed Albany 41-30 on the Huskies’ home field in last week’s semifinal.The Lakers are unblemished at 9-0 coming off a 35-21 semifinal victory at home over No. 4 Little Falls.Detroit Lakes has adapted successfully in each contest with an array of offensive talent and a stout defense allowing one touchdown on average to their opponents per contest. Little Falls was the first team to find the end zone three times against the Laker defense, the last touchdown coming in the final minute with the Lakers up by 21 points.Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton of Section 8-3A was the only other team to score multiple touchdowns Sept. 12 in a 14-13 loss to the Lakers in Glyndon.The remaining seven contests have seen opponents leaving zero to eight points on the board, with DL shutouts in the season opener over Fargo North 20-0 and a 21-0 blanking of the Panthers in the snow and rain at Park Rapids Oct. 3.DL is outscoring their opponents 257-69. Rocori has scored 232 points and allowed 186.Spartan quarterback Alex Budde has been outstanding in the playoffs and will be front and center as the key to the Lakers stopping the Rocori offense.
Budde threw for three touchdowns and rushed for one in the playoff opener against the Otters. He threw for 234 yards and two scores and rushed for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week against the 7-2 Huskies.“He’s coming along, nicely,” Rocori Head Coach Mike Rowe said.Budde is a first-year starter, the same as DL quarterback Christian Hedstrom.“We went through some growing pains earlier in the year to get where we’re at,” said Rowe. “He’s doing a fine job and each week seems to be getting better and better.”Besides Budde, Sam Mackedanz will pose a threat to the Laker secondary. Mackedanz caught three balls for 131 yards last week and had two receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns against Fergus Falls.The playoffs move to turf fields-only the rest of the way and Rocori has played at Alexandria this season losing 36-10 to the Cardinals Sept. 20.According to Rowe, there is some advantage to having played there before; the brand new stadium will be of little awe to the Spartans.The Spartans’ familiarity does create a slightly different experience between the two clubs.“It’s not a lot that we need to adjust to because we’ve been there and know the routine,” said Rowe. “I think it benefits us a little bit.”In the end, regardless of the surface, weather or location, the game will simply come down to 11-on-11 like every game.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1262474","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"389","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]Temperatures for the 7 p.m. kickoff in Alexandria should be a degree or two below freezing.The Spartans have played a number of Class 5A schools this season, including two ranked teams No. 4-5A Sartell-St. Stephen (L 15-8 at home) and a 42-34 win over Willmar. Willmar reached their highest ranking of No. 6 in the Sept. 24 poll.There will also be familiarity between the two coaching staffs.“The Detroit Lakes coaching staff is a phenomenal group; we've gotten to know them a little bit over the years at some coaching clinics and all that,” said Rowe.Rowe and DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher both serve on the All-Star Selection Committee.Motschenbacher’s mantra this season is typical of Laker football credes, in respecting opponents, playing with class and for each other. His 2014 DL football team is a band of talent with a host of players grabbing the spotlight each week. The Lakers have proven they can score quickly, sustain clock-eating drives, and put up points on defense and special teams.Luke Payne is solid in the kicking game and can boot a field goal, if necessary.Hedstrom and the passing game have improved steadily over the course of the season and every opponent knows the Lakers will establish the run.“When you play Detroit Lakes you play a team that is really good on defense and does a lot of things on offense that are very good and they find ways to get into the end zone and you have to prepare your kids for a physical, tough football game and you have to be mentally sharp,” Rowe said. “If you make mental mistakes they’re going to make you pay for it.”The Lakers capitalized on a fumble recovery on Little Falls’ opening drive of the second half in the semifinals and in one play Ryan Cihak stole game momentum permanently on a 45-yard scamper to the house. DL controlled the rest of the half and cruised to the two-score victory.DL has been tested this season. The march to a 9-0 mark has not always been a cakewalk. The Lakers enter the game with a lot of confidence having found so many different ways to put the W on the scoreboard and are the two-time defending 8-4A champs and have been in the final three straight seasons. The championship game is where the Lakers expected to be and DL arrived with the luxury of a bye week during the opening round.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1262482","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"407","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]The teams have recent history in the playoffs. Detroit Lakes defeated Rocori 29-28 at Fargodome Nov. 1, 2012 in the finals. The Lakers opened a 29-0 halftime lead on the Spartans and survived a second half rally to win by one point. Princeton upended DL in the 2012 section final in a marathon four-overtime victory 34-31 at St. Cloud State.Since that game, Section 8-4A has belonged to the Lakers.The Spartans will need to play a complete game in all three facets to take the trophy away.Alex Budde photo courtesy of Rand Middleton, Forum News Service. All other photos by DL Newspaper's Photo Editor Brian Basham.Tweets by @DLNewspapersWhat should be a slugfest and a barnburner comes to fruition Friday night in Alexandria at 7 p.m., as the undefeated Mid-State Conference champions, two-time defending Section champions, No. 1-seeded, No. 3-4A state-ranked Detroit Lakes Lakers football team faces the No. 3-seeded Rocori Spartans for the Section 8-4A title at Alexandria Area High School.The Spartans (6-4) enter the game winners of four straight, including playoff wins over Fergus Falls 34-2 and the No. 2 seed Albany 41-30 on the Huskies’ home field in last week’s semifinal.The Lakers are unblemished at 9-0 coming off a 35-21 semifinal victory at home over No. 4 Little Falls.Detroit Lakes has adapted successfully in each contest with an array of offensive talent and a stout defense allowing one touchdown on average to their opponents per contest. Little Falls was the first team to find the end zone three times against the Laker defense, the last touchdown coming in the final minute with the Lakers up by 21 points.Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton of Section 8-3A was the only other team to score multiple touchdowns Sept. 12 in a 14-13 loss to the Lakers in Glyndon.The remaining seven contests have seen opponents leaving zero to eight points on the board, with DL shutouts in the season opener over Fargo North 20-0 and a 21-0 blanking of the Panthers in the snow and rain at Park Rapids Oct. 3.DL is outscoring their opponents 257-69. Rocori has scored 232 points and allowed 186.Spartan quarterback Alex Budde has been outstanding in the playoffs and will be front and center as the key to the Lakers stopping the Rocori offense.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1262467","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"321","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]Budde threw for three touchdowns and rushed for one in the playoff opener against the Otters. He threw for 234 yards and two scores and rushed for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week against the 7-2 Huskies.“He’s coming along, nicely,” Rocori Head Coach Mike Rowe said.Budde is a first-year starter, the same as DL quarterback Christian Hedstrom.“We went through some growing pains earlier in the year to get where we’re at,” said Rowe. “He’s doing a fine job and each week seems to be getting better and better.”Besides Budde, Sam Mackedanz will pose a threat to the Laker secondary. Mackedanz caught three balls for 131 yards last week and had two receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns against Fergus Falls.The playoffs move to turf fields-only the rest of the way and Rocori has played at Alexandria this season losing 36-10 to the Cardinals Sept. 20.According to Rowe, there is some advantage to having played there before; the brand new stadium will be of little awe to the Spartans.The Spartans’ familiarity does create a slightly different experience between the two clubs.“It’s not a lot that we need to adjust to because we’ve been there and know the routine,” said Rowe. “I think it benefits us a little bit.”In the end, regardless of the surface, weather or location, the game will simply come down to 11-on-11 like every game.
Temperatures for the 7 p.m. kickoff in Alexandria should be a degree or two below freezing.The Spartans have played a number of Class 5A schools this season, including two ranked teams No. 4-5A Sartell-St. Stephen (L 15-8 at home) and a 42-34 win over Willmar. Willmar reached their highest ranking of No. 6 in the Sept. 24 poll.There will also be familiarity between the two coaching staffs.“The Detroit Lakes coaching staff is a phenomenal group; we've gotten to know them a little bit over the years at some coaching clinics and all that,” said Rowe.Rowe and DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher both serve on the All-Star Selection Committee.Motschenbacher’s mantra this season is typical of Laker football credes, in respecting opponents, playing with class and for each other. His 2014 DL football team is a band of talent with a host of players grabbing the spotlight each week. The Lakers have proven they can score quickly, sustain clock-eating drives, and put up points on defense and special teams.Luke Payne is solid in the kicking game and can boot a field goal, if necessary.Hedstrom and the passing game have improved steadily over the course of the season and every opponent knows the Lakers will establish the run.“When you play Detroit Lakes you play a team that is really good on defense and does a lot of things on offense that are very good and they find ways to get into the end zone and you have to prepare your kids for a physical, tough football game and you have to be mentally sharp,” Rowe said. “If you make mental mistakes they’re going to make you pay for it.”The Lakers capitalized on a fumble recovery on Little Falls’ opening drive of the second half in the semifinals and in one play Ryan Cihak stole game momentum permanently on a 45-yard scamper to the house. DL controlled the rest of the half and cruised to the two-score victory.DL has been tested this season. The march to a 9-0 mark has not always been a cakewalk. The Lakers enter the game with a lot of confidence having found so many different ways to put the W on the scoreboard and are the two-time defending 8-4A champs and have been in the final three straight seasons. The championship game is where the Lakers expected to be and DL arrived with the luxury of a bye week during the opening round.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1262482","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"407","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]The teams have recent history in the playoffs. Detroit Lakes defeated Rocori 29-28 at Fargodome Nov. 1, 2012 in the finals. The Lakers opened a 29-0 halftime lead on the Spartans and survived a second half rally to win by one point. Princeton upended DL in the 2012 section final in a marathon four-overtime victory 34-31 at St. Cloud State.Since that game, Section 8-4A has belonged to the Lakers.The Spartans will need to play a complete game in all three facets to take the trophy away.Alex Budde photo courtesy of Rand Middleton, Forum News Service. All other photos by DL Newspaper's Photo Editor Brian Basham.Tweets by @DLNewspapersWhat should be a slugfest and a barnburner comes to fruition Friday night in Alexandria at 7 p.m., as the undefeated Mid-State Conference champions, two-time defending Section champions, No. 1-seeded, No. 3-4A state-ranked Detroit Lakes Lakers football team faces the No. 3-seeded Rocori Spartans for the Section 8-4A title at Alexandria Area High School.The Spartans (6-4) enter the game winners of four straight, including playoff wins over Fergus Falls 34-2 and the No. 2 seed Albany 41-30 on the Huskies’ home field in last week’s semifinal.The Lakers are unblemished at 9-0 coming off a 35-21 semifinal victory at home over No. 4 Little Falls.Detroit Lakes has adapted successfully in each contest with an array of offensive talent and a stout defense allowing one touchdown on average to their opponents per contest. Little Falls was the first team to find the end zone three times against the Laker defense, the last touchdown coming in the final minute with the Lakers up by 21 points.Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton of Section 8-3A was the only other team to score multiple touchdowns Sept. 12 in a 14-13 loss to the Lakers in Glyndon.The remaining seven contests have seen opponents leaving zero to eight points on the board, with DL shutouts in the season opener over Fargo North 20-0 and a 21-0 blanking of the Panthers in the snow and rain at Park Rapids Oct. 3.DL is outscoring their opponents 257-69. Rocori has scored 232 points and allowed 186.Spartan quarterback Alex Budde has been outstanding in the playoffs and will be front and center as the key to the Lakers stopping the Rocori offense.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1262467","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"321","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]Budde threw for three touchdowns and rushed for one in the playoff opener against the Otters. He threw for 234 yards and two scores and rushed for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week against the 7-2 Huskies.“He’s coming along, nicely,” Rocori Head Coach Mike Rowe said.Budde is a first-year starter, the same as DL quarterback Christian Hedstrom.“We went through some growing pains earlier in the year to get where we’re at,” said Rowe. “He’s doing a fine job and each week seems to be getting better and better.”Besides Budde, Sam Mackedanz will pose a threat to the Laker secondary. Mackedanz caught three balls for 131 yards last week and had two receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns against Fergus Falls.The playoffs move to turf fields-only the rest of the way and Rocori has played at Alexandria this season losing 36-10 to the Cardinals Sept. 20.According to Rowe, there is some advantage to having played there before; the brand new stadium will be of little awe to the Spartans.The Spartans’ familiarity does create a slightly different experience between the two clubs.“It’s not a lot that we need to adjust to because we’ve been there and know the routine,” said Rowe. “I think it benefits us a little bit.”In the end, regardless of the surface, weather or location, the game will simply come down to 11-on-11 like every game.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1262474","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"389","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]Temperatures for the 7 p.m. kickoff in Alexandria should be a degree or two below freezing.The Spartans have played a number of Class 5A schools this season, including two ranked teams No. 4-5A Sartell-St. Stephen (L 15-8 at home) and a 42-34 win over Willmar. Willmar reached their highest ranking of No. 6 in the Sept. 24 poll.There will also be familiarity between the two coaching staffs.“The Detroit Lakes coaching staff is a phenomenal group; we've gotten to know them a little bit over the years at some coaching clinics and all that,” said Rowe.Rowe and DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher both serve on the All-Star Selection Committee.Motschenbacher’s mantra this season is typical of Laker football credes, in respecting opponents, playing with class and for each other. His 2014 DL football team is a band of talent with a host of players grabbing the spotlight each week. The Lakers have proven they can score quickly, sustain clock-eating drives, and put up points on defense and special teams.Luke Payne is solid in the kicking game and can boot a field goal, if necessary.Hedstrom and the passing game have improved steadily over the course of the season and every opponent knows the Lakers will establish the run.“When you play Detroit Lakes you play a team that is really good on defense and does a lot of things on offense that are very good and they find ways to get into the end zone and you have to prepare your kids for a physical, tough football game and you have to be mentally sharp,” Rowe said. “If you make mental mistakes they’re going to make you pay for it.”The Lakers capitalized on a fumble recovery on Little Falls’ opening drive of the second half in the semifinals and in one play Ryan Cihak stole game momentum permanently on a 45-yard scamper to the house. DL controlled the rest of the half and cruised to the two-score victory.DL has been tested this season. The march to a 9-0 mark has not always been a cakewalk. The Lakers enter the game with a lot of confidence having found so many different ways to put the W on the scoreboard and are the two-time defending 8-4A champs and have been in the final three straight seasons. The championship game is where the Lakers expected to be and DL arrived with the luxury of a bye week during the opening round.
The teams have recent history in the playoffs. Detroit Lakes defeated Rocori 29-28 at Fargodome Nov. 1, 2012 in the finals. The Lakers opened a 29-0 halftime lead on the Spartans and survived a second half rally to win by one point. Princeton upended DL in the 2012 section final in a marathon four-overtime victory 34-31 at St. Cloud State.Since that game, Section 8-4A has belonged to the Lakers.The Spartans will need to play a complete game in all three facets to take the trophy away.Alex Budde photo courtesy of Rand Middleton, Forum News Service. All other photos by DL Newspaper's Photo Editor Brian Basham.Tweets by @DLNewspapers

Robert Williams has been a sports editor for Forum Communications in Perham and Detroit Lakes since 2011.
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