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Brian Wierima / Forum Communications Co., Published October 25 2011

Detroit Lakes cruises past Hibbing for opening-round football win

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – An opportunistic Detroit Lakes defense forced six turnovers on the visiting Hibbing Bluejackets, which was more than enough extra touches for an explosive Lakers offense in a 34-0 victory in the Minnesota Class 4A, Section 7 playoffs on Tuesday at Mollberg Field.

The No. 3-seeded Lakers turned those half a dozen turnovers into 20 points, as DL cruised into the section semifinals.

Next up is undefeated and No. 2 Hermantown on Saturday, starting at 6 p.m.

DL forced five interceptions on Hibbing junior quarterback Nick Milani, one which ended up being a 24-yard return for a touchdown for Lakers senior safety Brian Labat to put DL safely up 20-0 at the 9-minute, 52-second mark in the second quarter.

The play was read perfectly by Labat, who stepped in front of the Bluejackets running back, who was running a screen route. The DL safety ran untouched into the end zone.

“It was one of those plays which you can’t believe just happened,” Labat said. “We scouted that play all week in practice, and I just ran where I thought the pass was going to go.”

With senior quarterback and University of North Dakota recruit Joe Mollberg on the sidelines with an injured ankle – the third game of the season in which he has missed due to injury – sophomore Michael Herzog continued to improve behind center.

The Lakers’ offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, opening up holes both on the interior and on the edges.

Herzog was the benefactor in the form of 136 rushing yards on 19 carries and three rushing touchdowns.

His 48-yard scamper down the visiting sideline with 3:53 remaining in the first half capped a 20-point second quarter and led to a 27-0 halftime edge.

H 0 0 0 0– 0

DL 7 20 7 0–34

DL–Herzog 1 run (Labine kick)

DL–Herzog 13 run (kick failed)

DL–Labat 24 interception return (Labine kick)

DL–Herzog 48 run (Labine kick)

DL–Nosal 13 run (Labine kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: H, Hardy 13-63, Hanson 12-21, Graff 4-8, Allison 1-6, Milani 4-6, Klein 1-(-1). DL, Herzog 19-136, Nosal 8-58, Labat 2-37, Groth 5-18, Erb 4-18, Magnuson 2-13, Hoganson 5-9, Kitzman 1-3, Paskey 2-(-7).

PASSING: H, Milani 6-15-5 123 yards, Hanson 0-1-0 0. DL, Herzog 4-6-1 36.

RECEIVING: H, Harris 2-87, Merrick 1-14, Hanson 2-12. DL, McLeod 1-13, Marsh 1-11, Labat 1-7, Magnuson 1-5.


Wierima is the sports editor of the Detroit Lakes Tribune