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Tribune Notebook: Former NLS Wildcat Shane Zylstra has a career day for NFL's Lions

Zylstra scores three touchdowns in Detroit Lions' 37-23 loss Saturday to the Carolina Panthers

NFL: Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers
Detroit Lions tight end Shane Zylstra (84) holds onto the ball after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Zylstra is a former New London-Spicer star.
Bob Donnan / USA TODAY Sports
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Shane and Brandon Zylstra are members of the Detroit Lions, making New London-Spicer High School currently the only school in the state to have brothers playing in the NFL.

Things are going well for the Zylstras, who have both bounced around a bit since their Wildcat days, especially for Shane, who just had his best game as a pro.

Shane caught five passes for 26 yards and three touchdowns in the Lions' 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Saturday. That gives Shane, a 26-year-old, 6-foot-4, 239-pound tight end, the most TD catches in an NFL game by a native Minnesota since 2013, according to some research by the West Central Tribune.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers
Detroit Lions tight end Shane Zylstra (84) is lifted up by tight end Brock Wright (89) after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers beat the Lions 37-23.
Bob Donnan / USA TODAY Sports

Eric Decker, a Rocori and University of Minnesota alum, had 12 catches for 174 yards and four touchdowns in Week 13 of the 2013 season while Decker was a member of the New York Jets. The Jets beat the Kansas City Chiefs that day, 35-28. Decker, 35, played for the Denver Broncos, the Jets and the Tennessee Titans from 2010-17 after a standout career with the Gophers.

Zylstra to Decker: Call it the Highway 23 Aerial Connection.

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Adam Thielen, in his ninth year as a member of the Minnesota Vikings and a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has never had three TD receptions in a game, though he has had two multiple times. The last time he did it was in a 34-26 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Week 12 of the 2021 season. He had five catches for 62 yards and two TDs. Thielen, a former Detroit Lakes and Minnesota State-Mankato star, caught two TDs four times in 2020 when he had a career-best 14 touchdowns.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers
Detroit Lions tight end Shane Zylstra (84) catches a touchdown pass as Carolina Panthers safety Xavier Woods (25) defends in the first quarter Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Zylstra had five catches for 26 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
Bob Donnan / USA TODAY Sports

Shane Zylstra, also a Minnesota State-Mankato star, was targeted six times in the Panthers game. He now has 10 catches for 53 yards and four TDs. Brother Brandon, who played at Concordia-Moorhead, has returned one kick for 19 yards for the Lions. Brandon, 29, has also played for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, the Minnesota Vikings and the Carolina Panthers.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers
Detroit Lions tight end Shane Zylstra (84) looks to make a block during the second quarter on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022 against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina
Jim Dedmon / USA TODAY Sports

College updates:

* Former Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa star Allisa Knight averages 4.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Minnesota State-Moorhead women's basketball team. She has played in eight games for the Dragons, who are an NCAA Division II program in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. MSU-Moorhead has a 3-2 conference and 6-3 overall record. Knight is a 5-foot-11 sophomore forward who is a business administration and finance major.

* Two former West Central Tribune All-Area players are on the Southwest Minnesota State women's basketball roster: Maddie Thorfinnson and Kenzie Jones.

Thorfinnson is a 6-0 freshman forward from Minnewaska. She's an exercise science major who is averaging 2.8 points and 1.1 rebounds per game in 12 games for the Mustangs, who are 5-2 in the NSIC and 8-4 overall.

Jones is a 5-10 sophomore forward from Willmar. She's an elementary education major who has played in seven games, averaging, 1.7 ppg and 1.0 rpg for SMSU.

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* Former Central Minnesota Christian star Coco Duininck is a 5-5 freshman guard on the Bethel University women's basketball team. Duininck is averaging 5.4 ppg and 2.6 rpg for the Royals, who are 5-3. Bethel is a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, whose members are all NCAA Division III programs.

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* Former Benson star Kaitlyn Berreau is a 5-5 junior guard on the Bethany Lutheran College Vikings women's basketball team. Berreau has played four minutes total in two games for the Vikings, who are 1-1 in the Division III Upper Midwest Athletic Conference and 3-8 overall.

* Former Lac qui Parle Valley star Haley Wollschlager, a is a 5-3 senior guard on the University of Minnesota-Morris women's basketball team. Wollschlager, a Human Services major, averages 6.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg and 2.6 assists per game for the Cougars, who are 0-2 in the UMAC and 1-10 overall.

* Also playing for UM-Morris is Shelby Mortenson, a 6-0 freshman forward from Yellow Medicine East. Mortenson averages 2.5 ppg and 3.3 rpg for the Cougars.

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