Des Lacs-Burlington football points to single play as key factor in season’s success

No matter the sport, teams will often look back at a single play as a turning point in the season, whether it be good or bad.

And while for some teams that play may be harder to identify, the Des Lacs-Burlington football team doesn’t have to look too hard to find the key play that has served as a springboard into today’s Class A state semifinals.

The Lakers will host Region 3 rival Bishop Ryan this afternoon in Des Lacs at 1:30 p.m., with a berth to the state championship next week in Fargo on the line.

Ironically enough, DL-B points to its 22-20 win over Ryan on Sept. 30 as a key reason as to why it is still playing football.

In the Sept. 30 game at Herb Parker Stadium, the Lions, who were leading 7-0 at the time, were driving for another score in the late stages of the first half.

The drive ended with perhaps the play that changed the course of the Lakers’ season. DL-B senior defensive back Rylan Bachmeier stepped in front of a pass from Ryan senior quarterback Eli Stewart and returned it roughly 60 yards.

On the very next play, Bachmeier hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass from teammate Dylan Schestler. The Lakers, who could have been down by two scores at the break, were instead up 8-7 at intermission.

“That was huge,” Schestler said of the game-changing interception. “That set the tone for the rest of the game.”

From there, DL-B went on to win two of its final three games, with the lone loss being a 16-8 loss at Velva-Sawyer on Oct. 14. The Lakers, however, avenged that loss in last week’s 18-14 win.

DL-B coach James Johnson says today’s game will be a matchup of two different teams that played five weeks ago.

“Both teams are little different from a month ago,” he said. “We were still growing as a team.”

Will the Lakers have another turning point in today’s game that will allow them to play for their first state title since 1993? Or will the Lions come up with the necessary plays, allowing them to play for their first state championship since 1999?

We will find out the answer to those questions this afternoon.

Mark Jones covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MarkJones27_MDN.