Lakers make a splash

Top Lions 24-15 in back-and-forth battle

Sean Williams/MDN Logan Rynestad (71) of Des Lacs-Burlington celebrates after a big hit during the Lakers 24-15 win over Bishop Ryan on Friday night.

Creating for a very intriguing matchup on Friday night, both the Des Lacs-Burlington Lakers (4-2 overall, 4-1 Region 3) and the Bishop Ryan Lions (3-4 overall, 3-2 Region 3) bring similarities of their recent play to the gridiron.

After starting the season 0-2, both teams turned up the heat once region play began and are firmly in the mix as they each sit with a 3-1 regional record.

Being outscored 76-8 through their first two games, the Lakers completely changed the outlook of their season by winning their next three games, where they outscored opponents 90-6 which included two shutout wins.

Junior running back Logan Rist has been a key contributor for the Lakers, combining for 613 yards on the ground and 7 total touchdowns during the win streak, as he and the Lakers look to keep up the excellent play.

The Lions enter Friday with a 3-1 record over their last four contests and like the Lakers, have mixed in a couple of shutout wins and have utilized overall strong team play to get back on track. During the last four games, the Lions have outscored opponents 158-52 with the defense allowing six or less points in three of those games.

With both teams looking to keep the regional blemishes to a minimum, it was the Lakers who would succeed in doing so, as they beat the Lions in a 24-15 final on Friday night in Minot.

Both teams struggled to move the ball to open up the first quarter, which had a defense heavy focus paired with drive altering penalties. On the Lakers longest drive of the first quarter, a sack by Drew Zwak put the Lakers in a fourth-and-14 situation to force a punt with three minutes to go.

On the following drive for the Lions, the Lakers returned the favor by registering a sack to force a punt with 1:30 left. A short punt gave the Lakers the ball at the Lions’ 19-yard line and put them in a prime position to break the scoreless tie.

With the same drive moving into the second quarter, the Lakers had back-to-back penalties to kill the excellent opportunity. A false start on third down and intentional grounding on fourth down handed the Lions the ball back.

Ready to make the Lakers pay for their mistake were the Lions, who aimed to put points on the board for the first time tonight. Unfortunately, a fumble recovered by Kole Knecht of the Lakers would give his team the ball back with 7:54 to go in the half as both teams were trading turnovers now.

Continuing the turnover trend was Coy Okeson of the Lions, who saw a would-be screen pass perfectly, hauling it in for the interception and bringing the ball to the Lakers’ 9-yard line. Jett Lundeen would take advantage of the mistake, firing a touchdown pass to Carson Merck with 6:01 left. After the Christian Lormejuste kick, the Lions had a 7-0 lead.

Lakers’ quarterback Paxton Ystaas and receiver Rylan Olson decided enough was enough, as the pair connected on a pass taking the Lakers to the Lions’ 4-yard line from the 33 on an acrobatic catch by Olson.

The trickery would not stop there, as Ystaas hit Olson on a lateral and Olson would then connect with Braylon Fisher on a touchdown pass, trimming the Lions’ lead to 7-6 with 1:28 left after the two-point attempt was unsuccessful. This would bring the first half to its final score.

Making a statement with the opening kick of the second half was Eli Hennessey of the Lakers, who took the ball all the way to the Lions’ 48-yard line. Continuing to show their display of toughness was the Lions defense, who kept squashing the Lakers attempts to run the ball.

The Lakers would punt, however, a fumble that was recovered by Logan Rynestad gave the Lakers the ball back immediately, as they looked to capitalize on the turnover. Struggling to get the ground game going were the Lakers, however, Logan Rist would break off a 17-yard run on third-and-22 to give his team a fourth and short opportunity.

Moving the chains was Ystaas, who connected with Olson to make it first-and-goal from the 3-yard line. Hennessey would continue to make his presence felt, taking a direct snap from the wildcat formation to punch in a TD with 7:00 minutes left. After an unsuccessful two-point attempt, the Lakers would grab their first lead of the night at 12-7.

Answering the scoring drive were the Lions, who went to quick passes and the run game to establish a long drive. Lundeen would link up with Gus Engelhard on Lundeen’s second TD pass of the night, giving Ryan the lead again at 15-12 after a successful two-point conversion to Teagan Coonrod with 4:46 left in the third quarter.

As both teams began to settle in and cleaner play began to surface, the Lakers and Lions established a back-and-forth battle that made for a very exciting second half. Kaiden Vigen of the Lakers drew the next blow as he intercepted a pass, taking it all the way to the 2-yard line before he fumbled it, and the Lakers recovered in the endzone for a touchdown. Another failed two-point attempt gave the Lakers the lead again at 18-15 with 1:56 left in quarter three.

The third quarter would come to a close with the same score. The identity of the Lakers has been that of a run first team and they were starting to show flashes of being able to do that late in the contest. Moving into the final quarter, with the Lakers ready to chew clock, momentum seemed to be shifting more on their side.

Both teams went quiet through most of the final quarter, however, the Lakers would take what felt like the final blow when Ystaas linked up with Olson for a 33-yard TD pass, extending the Lakers lead to 24-15 with 4:43 left in the game.

Adding to their push to close out the contest was Braylon Fisher, who intercepted a Lundeen pass on the next drive. The Lakers would get the ball back and hold on to it, bringing the game to its final of 24-15 in favor of the Lakers.

Moving into next week, the Lions have another big one coming up, as they head to Velva for a rivalry game. The Lakers will head home, where they will host Ray/Powers Lake. Both games are set to take place on Friday, Oct. 7 with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.


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