PEQUOT LAKES — In the first half, Pequot Lakes’ red zone defense was red hot.

And for the most part, the Patriots defense did its job, but so did the Fergus Falls Otters’ defense, which held the Patriots to just 117 yards of offense leading to a 13-6 Otters victory Friday, Sept. 17.

Trailing 6-0 out of the halftime break, Fergus took the opening possession of the second half and finally cut through Pequot’s defense. A 49-yard pass from Carter Thielke to Luke Newman set up Landon Thacker’s 14-yard touchdown run.

Fergus connected on the extra-point kick to claim a 7-6 lead.

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“We couldn’t ask our defense to do more,” Pequot Lakes head coach Bill Magnuson said. “They played great. It was a bend-but-don’t-break type defense, but once we were near the end zone we tightened up and contained a very athletic quarterback.”

Then it was all defense on both sides. Pequot held Fergus to 262 yards. Ryan Harmala added an interception for the Patriots. But it was the Fergus defense that made even more big plays in the second half as they intercepted Pequot quarterback Grant Loge twice in the fourth quarter.

The Otters tallied an insurance touchdown after the second interception with 1:02 remaining in the game. Griffin Babolian scampered 42 yards to make it 13-6.

Pequot’s touchdown came from the defense as Darby Boelter picked up a fumble and returned it 85 yards for a 6-0 Pequot lead. That lead held into the halftime break thanks to three straight red-zone stops by the Patriots’ defense. The Otters’ only other first-half possession was a three-and-out.

“We are right there,” Magnuson said. “To play as close as we did against DGF last week and then to play this close against a 2-0 Fergus team — we are right there. And the thing is, we are so young. We start three sophomores, a bunch of juniors and only a few seniors. We’re so close and we’re getting better every week. It’s just hard to keep losing these close games.”

Fergus Falls 0 0 7 6 -- 13
Pequot Lakes 6 0 0 0 -- 6

First quarter
PL-Darby Boelter 85 fumble recovery (kick failed) 4:06
Third quarter
FF- Landon Thacker 14 run (Jayden Manteufel kick) 10:47
Fourth quarter
FF-Griffin Babolian 42 run (kick failed) 1:02
Team statistics
Rushes-yards: PL 20-48, FF 41-117
Pass comp-att-int-yds: PL 8-24-2-59, FF 9-18-1-145
Total offense: PL 44-107, FF 58-262

Individual leaders
Rushing: PL-Darby Boelter 5-12, Clay Wolf 6-29, Isaac Peterson 6-20, Grant Loge 2-(-3), Team 1-(-10)
Passing: PL-Loge 8-24-59
Receiving: PL-Ryan Harmala 3-14, Peterson 1-6, Cullin Kratochvil 2-25, Riggs Magnuson 1-16, Boelter 1-(-2)

Fergus Falls 13, Pequot Lakes 6

Key: The Otters scored all 13 points in the second half

Overall: PL 0-3, FF 3-0

Next: Pequot Lakes at Park Rapids 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24