Football: Reliable Carriers deliver in Detroit Lakes' win over Park Rapids
The Panthers fall to 0-7 following the 26-14 loss.
DETROIT LAKES – Whenever Detroit Lakes needed a big play, the Carriers delivered.
Mason Carrier and Ethan Carrier accounted for all four of the Lakers’ touchdowns and 401 yards in offense in a 26-14 Midwest Red District football victory over Park Rapids at Mollberg Field on Friday, Oct. 14.
“Very tough loss, especially since we put ourselves in situations to give us an opportunity to win the ball game. I'm excited about the fact that we continue to give ourselves chances to overcome and get a win,” said Park Rapids head coach Jeremy Nordick. “Last week against Pelican Rapids we had the ball down 18-13 in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead. Then against DL we were down 20-14 with the ball and a chance to take the lead. Against teams like that, with the athletes they have, I couldn't really ask for much more. So, on that note, I am extremely proud of our kids for continuing to believe that our time will come. Most teams with our record would be ready to turn in their equipment by now. Not our football team. Our kids love football and cannot wait for the next chance to play.”
The Carriers, who will be playing for the University of Minnesota, set the tone early when Ethan Carrier sprinted 37 yards on the first play from scrimmage. However, a penalty for an illegal block negated that long gain. Ethan Carrier followed with a 17-yard run and Mason Carrier hit Hunter Korth on an 11-yard route as the Lakers drove to the Park Rapids 29. That drive stalled when Noah Larson intercepted a tipped pass at the 30.
After forcing the Panthers to punt, Detroit Lakes marched 54 yards in seven plays with a 13-yard carry by Ethan Carrier on fourth-and-3 setting up a 25-yard TD run by Mason Carrier. Nick Buboltz kicked the extra point and the Lakers led 7-0 with 2:40 to play in the first quarter.
After forcing another punt, the Lakers extended their lead to 13-0 with :08 to play in the opening quarter on Mason Carrier’s 66-yard TD run.
Park Rapids responded with an eight-play, 73-yard scoring drive. Noah Morris hit Matt Johanning on an 18-yard route that helped set up a 47-yard TD catch by Ryan Carroll. Morris kicked the extra point as the Panthers trailed 13-7 with 8:40 to play in the first half.
Detroit Lakes took over the momentum with a five-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Ethan Carrier followed a 21-yard run with a 13-yard gain before scoring on a 35-yard pass from Mason Carrier. Buboltz’s kick gave the Lakers a 20-7 advantage at the 5:52 mark.
The Panthers put together a scoring threat on the ensuing series when Morris’ 14-yard pass to Carroll and 13-yard run drove Park Rapids to the Detroit Lakes 33. An interception by Grady Kirschner stopped that drive.
A 10-yard run by Mason Carrier and Reece Winter’s 11-yard reception drove the Lakers near midfield before Lucas Kritzeck hauled in a deflected pass and returned it 43 yards for a Park Rapids score with 41 seconds remaining before the intermission. Morris’ kick cut the gap to 20-14.
“At halftime, we planned to stay on the path that we were on. We honestly felt that we were the more physical team, aside from their three special athletes that will be playing at the next level in the near future,” said Nordick. “Defensively we talked about continuing to put bodies on their running backs and try to keep them in front of us. We knew they were going to make a few big plays, which they did, but for the most part I felt we did a solid job on them.”
Carroll recovered a fumble at the Detroit Lakes 39 on the Lakers’ first possession of the second half, but Morris was sacked on third down and the Panthers were forced to punt.
On the ensuing possession, the Lakers overcame two holding penalties to pad their lead. Mason Carrier had a 20-yard run and a 10-yard carry called back by penalties before breaking free for a 59-yard TD run. With 3:01 to play in the third quarter, Detroit Lakes held a 26-14 lead.
The Panthers responded as a 20-yard run by Morris, an 11-yard reception by Luke Hartung on fourth-and-9, and a 15-yard catch by Carroll drove Park Rapids to the Detroit Lakes 33. That drive stalled on Mason Carrier’s interception on fourth-and-2 at the 22.
The Panthers stopped Detroit Lakes on fourth-and-3 and took over at the Lakers’ 45. After Blake Morris’ 15-yard reception led to a first down at the 15, Tyson Ullyott’s interception stopped that threat.
Ethan Carrier’s 20-yard run and 22-yard catch after a personal-foul penalty along with Mason Carrier’s 17-yard gain led the Lakers near midfield. That drive stalled and Detroit Lakes was forced to punt.
Cory Johnson’s 8-yard reception and Hartung’s 7-yard catch led the Panthers to midfield, but Morris was sacked to end the game.
The Panthers managed 230 yards in offense with Noah Morris completing 18 of 31 passes for 188 yards and rushing 18 times for 41 yards. Carroll caught five passes for 78 yards and Blake Morris had six receptions for 54 yards as the Panthers fell to 0-7.
Leading Park Rapids' defense were Kritzeck, Malachi Martin and Cory Johnson with seven tackles each.
“It was great to see some of those big plays go our way. We've had so many this year that have gone against us, so to see our guys make those plays was awesome,” said Nordick. “Offensively, we were moving the ball and had some balance in the run/pass game. We felt that if we stayed on course, we'd put ourselves in good situations to score, which we did. Unfortunately, we just had a couple bad breaks again that didn't go our way. We are making progress and getting better with every opportunity.”
Mason Carrier rushed 13 times for 157 yards and completed 8 of 13 passes for 97 yards while Ethan Carrier gained 147 yards on 14 attempts and caught three passes for 64 yards as the Lakers improved to 5-2.
In the other Week 7 games involving Section 8AAA and Midwest Red District teams, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton shut out Fergus Falls 47-0, Thief River Falls upset Pequot Lakes 43-42 in overtime, Perham edged East Grand Forks 14-11 and Roseau fell to Pelican Rapids 50-6.
D-G-F continues to lead the section and district standings at 7-0. Pequot Lakes joins Detroit Lakes at 5-2 in the district standings with Perham at 4-3, East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls at 3-4, and Fergus Falls at 2-5. Roseau fell to 1-6 in the section standings.
Park Rapids will close out the regular season by hosting Thief River Falls on Wednesday (Oct. 19). This finale will be Senior Night and a “Tackle Cancer” game with donations being used for cancer research. Kickoff at Vern Weekley Field is set for 7 p.m.
“Wednesday night will be an exciting night as we will honor our dedicated seniors that have continued to persevere and battle their guts out all year,” said Nordick. ““Thief River Falls is coming off a big comeback win against Pequot Lakes. They were down 28-6 in that game and came back to win. I'm sure they'll come to Vern Weekley Field on Wednesday night with plenty of confidence. I look for the game to be similar to many of the games we've played the last few years: a grind it out style game that will come down to one or two plays.”