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Tom Mix, Published November 01 2012

Lakers upend Rocori for state berth

FARGO – Big plays were in great abundance early on for the Detroit Lakes football team on Thursday.

The Lakers ended up needing every last one of them.

Detroit Lakes escaped with a 29-28 win over Rocori in the Minnesota Class 4A, Section 8 championship game at the Fargodome.

After a dominating first half in which the Lakers had five plays from scrimmage that went for 30 or more yards, the offense went stale in the final 24 minutes of regulation.

Rocori outscored the Lakers 28-0 in the second half.

“We did not play as well in the second half, but we found a way to win,” Detroit Lakes junior quarterback Michael Herzog said. “That is what you have to do in tournament time.”

The No. 3-ranked Lakers advance to the state quarterfinals and will play the winner of today’s Section 7 matchup between Hermantown and Princeton at 3 p.m. on Nov. 10 at Husky Stadium.

Herzog led the way for the Lakers in the first half, totaling 179 yards passing yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 98 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns in the first half.

“We just executed on plays that we practiced all week,” Herzog said.

Herzog finished 7 of 11 passing for 185 yards.

Detroit Lakes (10-0) also scored a safety in the first half when Rocori quarterback Mac Mueller intentionally grounded a pass attempt while being pressured in the end zone.

The second half belonged to Rocori (6-4).

Rocori senior running back Alex Austad got the Spartans on the scoreboard, scoring on a 7-yard run with 7:04 left in the third quarter.

Adam Dingmann followed with a 3-yard touchdown.

Rocori senior wide receiver Jake Huber caught touchdown passes of 48 and 62 yards in the final quarter, but failed two-point conversions on two of the Spartans’ four scores of the second half proved costly.

“We missed those 2-point conversions, and we are a 2-point team,” Rocori head coach Mike Rowe said. “We always go for it. Those came back to haunt us. We had to get them.”

Huber finished with 143 yards receiving on three catches. Mueller was 11 of 23 passing for 253 yards.

“Our kids battled hard,” Rowe said. “That game could have gone hard the other way and it is just a true testament to our kids, their guts and how hard they play the game.”

R 0 0 14 14–28

DL 14 15 0 0–29

DL–Herzog 2 run (kick failed)

DL–Erb 36 pass from Herzog (Erb pass from Herzog)

DL–Safety (Rocori called for intentional grounding in end zone)

DL–McLeod 34 pass from Herzog (Tigges kick)

DL–Herzog 61 run (kick failed)

R–Austad 7 run (pass failed)

R–Dingmann 3 run (Austad pass from Mueller)

R–Huber 48 pass from Mueller (pass failed)

R–Huber 62 pass from Mueller (Mueller run)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: R, Tong 4-13, Mueller 18-93, Dingmann 8-33, Austad 2-14, Team 2-(minus 2). DL, Nosal 10-21, Herzog 26-90, Erb 2-(minus 5).

PASSING: R, Mueller 11-23-2–253. DL, Herzog 7-11-0–185.

RECEIVING: R, Kuechle 1-0, Huber 3-143, Dingmann 2-31, Terres 1-0, Schlangen 1-28, Holbrook 2-38, Thorpe 1-13. DL, Long 2-58, Champa 1-38, Erb 2-42, McLeod 2-48.

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Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562