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The Lakeland Muskies traveled to St. Paul, MN to take on the Eagles of Northwestern College to open the 2004 season. The Muskies continued their dominant ways of last season, racking up 545 yards of total offense as the Muskies rolled over the Eagles 47-7.
The Muskies scored first, when Marcus Denham (Zion, IL) scored off of a 2 yard touchdown run, putting the Muskies up 7-0. The Eagles would answer back with a ten play drive of their own, with Davy Nitsch scoring on an 8 yard touchdown pass form Bobby Miller to tie the game at 7-7.
The Muskies next play from scrimmage after receiving the kick was a 63 yard touchdown pass to Rodney Ellison (Pontiac, MI) from Ran Maiuri (Sterling Heights). The Casey Kedrowski extra point made the score 14-7 Muskies. The Eagles began marching down the field to try and answer the Muskies quick score when Northwestern put the ball on the turf and the Muskies came up with their first of 3 fumble recoveries of the day. The Muskies capitalized on the Eagle mistake with a punishing 10 play 68 yard drive to add another 7, making the score 21-7.
Late in the 2nd quarter, the Muskies would strike again, with Marcus Denham running it in from 20 yards out to put the Muskies up 27-7 after Casey Kedrowski's extra point was blocked. The defenses for both teams began to tighten up, with the Muskie score being the only one in both the 2nd and 3rd quarters. At the start of the 3rd, Lakeland intercepted Eagle quarterback Bobby Miller, but was unable to capitalize. After a defensive stop, Lakeland took the ball and put together a 15 play 89 yard drive that chewed up 7:27 on the clock and put the ball into the end zone off another Marcus Denham 2yd run. That score put the Muskies up 34-7.
The Eagles could not seem to hold onto the ball, as another fumble was recovered by the Muskies on their first play from scrimmage. The Muskies took advantage, as Ryan Maiuri connected with Courtney Gatlin (St. Louis) on a 16 yard touchdown throw. That made the score 40-7. After several failed drives by both team's offenses, Lakeland notched its final score of the day, with Nick Hunter (Greenfield) scampering for a 68 yard touchdown run to make the score 47-7.
The Muskies dominated the stats, racking up 394 rushing yards and 545 total yards of offense. The Muskies recovered 3 fumbles, putting two of them in for touchdowns. The Muskies also intercepted 2 passes. The Muskies led in time of possession, holding onto the ball for 31:41 to Northwestern's 27:22. The Muskie defense also added 4 sacks to their day, and held the Eagle offense to just 234 yards. Leading the way for the Muskies was Marcus Denham who carried the ball 22 times for 131 yards and 4 touchdowns. Nick Hunter had 3 carries for 79 yards and one touchdown, with a 68 yard scamper. Luke Dobson (Ishpeming, MI) added 54 yards on 11 carries. Ryan Maiuri added 7 carries for 84 yards with a long of 44 in addition to his 8-18 passing performance which netted 134 yards and 2 TD's for the Muskies.
"This was a great performance from our guys" said Coach Zebrowski, "We wanted to come out strong. A performance like this gives our young team a huge boost of confidence that we can build off of the rest of the season. We look forward to our home opener next weekend against Carthage."
With the win, the Muskies go to 1-0. The Muskies next take on Carthage College on Saturday, September 11th at 1pm at Lakeland College.