'It was freaking surreal:' Detroit Lakes' Logan Hilde scores heart-warming touchdown

The Detroit Lakes and Park Rapids football teams lined up for a special play before the opening kickoff. Detroit Lakes' Logan Hilde, a senior with cerebral palsy, scored a 20-yard touchdown to cap off his final home game as a Laker. Read more about Logan's special moment below.

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Detroit Lakes' Logan Hilde, right, hugs Tyson Ullyott after scoring a 20-yard touchdown before the Lakers took on Park Rapids on Oct. 14, 2022 at Mollberg Field.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES – Detroit Lakes head football coach Reed Hefta gathers his players in a huddle before the opening kickoff of every game.

Last Friday, in the final home game of the 2022 season against Park Rapids, Hefta lined his boys up at the 20-yard line instead of the 40. And, instead of the kickoff team, it was the first-string offense.

The Lakers walked up to the line of scrimmage against the Panthers’ defense for the game’s first play. That’s when Hefta shouted, “Logan, get your helmet on.”

Logan Hilde is a Detroit Lakes High School senior with low-tension cerebral palsy in the lower half of his body and high-tension cerebral palsy in his upper half. He uses a wheelchair.

Hilde has been on the Detroit Lakes football team since his freshman year. He suits up in full pads for every game and leads the team onto the field. In his final home game, the Laker football team honored him in a fitting way by letting Hilde score the first touchdown.


Senior Ethan Carrier received the snap before handing it to Hilde in the backfield. Hilde took the ball 20-yards to the end zone in a moment that welled the eyes of fans on both sides.

“Dude, it was freaking surreal,” Hilde said. “All I’ve ever wanted to do in my life was play football. For those boys to put the amount of time and effort into cooperating together to get me a touchdown is freaking surreal. It’s an adrenaline rush.”

Hefta was emotional talking about the enthusiasm from Park Rapids head coach Jeremy Nordick to get Hilde into the end zone.

“(Logan) is a smart kid that’s well invested in a lot of things,” Hefta said. “I tell you what; I couldn’t be more impressed with how Nordick was all about this. If you don’t have both teams on board with this, it doesn’t work. I can’t thank them enough for the class they showed.”

Hilde calls himself a “differently-abled athlete.” He spends time on the Detroit Lakes boys hockey team when he’s away from the football field. He also competes for the Hope Incorporated sled hockey team in Fargo.

“Differently-abled just means that you have a disability, and you don’t let it get the best of you,” Hilde said. “Keep trucking along. I’ve won two national titles in hockey. A lot of people say disabled sports don’t mean a lot. But they do mean a lot. It’s just a different atmosphere. I love that I get to share the field and the ice with the boys. I will carry being a differently-abled athlete with me for the rest of my life. I want to make a difference not only in this community but in the whole entire world.”

Hilde’s contributions to his teams are immeasurable. His heart beats for Laker athletics because of his love for his teammates.

“They mean everything to me,” Hilde said. “I’ve grown up with these boys, and they just mean everything to me. For them to support me and back me up like that, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”


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Detroit Lakes' Logan Hilde takes in the postgame speech from the Detroit Lakes coaching staff following a 26-14 win over Park Rapids on Oct. 14, 2022 at Mollberg Field.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Senior Cooper Moore is teammates with Hilde in both football and hockey. Watching a close friend get his moment on the field brought smiles across the Detroit Lakes football team.

“He means the most,” Moore said. “He’s our biggest supporter. He’s got the biggest smile on his face all the time. We’re nothing without Logan.”

While Hilde’s touchdown didn’t factor into the final score, it was the launching point to a 26-14 Detroit Lakes win over Park Rapids on senior night.

“Anyone that’s been involved with Laker football the last four years knows Logan and knows the impact he has on these kids,” Hefta said. “He’s been dealt every rough hand that a kid can be dealt. He lives his life in a wheelchair with the understanding that things won’t be easy. It’s great to know that he’s made his impact. It’s not because of his disability. It’s because of the young man he is.”

Hefta sees Hilde’s reach span further than Laker athletics. He’s a valued member of Detroit Lakes High School and the community.

“All things aside, he’s a kid on this team that loves football and loves his teammates,” Hefta said. “If you walk into the commons on a Tuesday, he’s out there loving it up with all of the kids. He’s at every game. He stays late, and his mom and dad have done such a fantastic job of having him be there for kids.”

Hilde will forever be a touchdown scorer for the Detroit Lakes football team. Despite being an emotional and vocal leader for the Lakers, it was a moment that put him at a loss for words.

“It’s one of the most special things that could ever happen to me,” Hilde said. “I get to be in the record books in football and hockey, and that’s amazing to me.”

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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