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One week after securing victory No. 1 of the young season, the Lakeland College football team will be looking to build some momentum when it faces Benedictine on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Taylor Field.
It's the last of four straight home games for Lakeland (1-3, 1-0 Illini-Badger Football Conference), which closes the season with four of its last five IBFC games on the road.
Benedictine (2-2, 1-0) is off to a solid start after several down seasons. The Muskies offense will need a solid effort, and the defense will need to be at the top of its game to stop the Eagles' wing-T option offense.
"Anytime you play an option wing-T team, our defense has to be great," said Lakeland head coach Jim Zebrowski. "One mistake and the ball can be right by you."
The Eagles' rushing attack is led by senior running back Rico Grino, who is second in the IBFC in rushing with 297 yards. Last week he picked up 87 yards on 12 carries and a pair of TDs.
"They have young kids, but they do a good job," said Zebrowski. "Coach (Jon) Cooper is doing a great job with that program."
Lakeland's defense is led by senior defensive back Aaron Barrie, senior defensive lineman Shane Schrimpf and sophomore linebacker John Wagner.
Barrie has made a smooth transition to defense after playing running back for the last three years. The Oostburg native had 7.5 tackles against Greenville last week and has 11 tackles for the season despite playing on a broken foot.
Zebrowski describes Schrimpf's play on the defensive line "outstanding." Schrimpf had three tackles last week in action against Greenville and has19 tackles for the season. Wagner had eight tackles against Greenville and is fourth amongst IBFC tackle leaders with 29 and two sacks.
The Eagles will have their hands full too with the Muskies, offense, especially with junior wide receiver MacArthur White, the Muskies' primary scoring threat.
White had a stellar week against Greenville as he earned IBFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. He returned two kickoffs for 112 yards, including one for an 89-yard touchdown run, in the Muskies' 28-13 win over the Panthers. In addition, White caught seven passes for 110 yards. He leads the IBFC in receptions per game with an average of seven and receiving yards with 91 per outing.
"Mac is just playing outstanding," said Zebrowski. "He's playing extremely well. It's just a matter of (Lakeland quarterback) Brad (Wilk) getting him the ball."
Lakeland's offensive line will have to contend with 2005 all-IBFC junior linebacker Mike Albech, who is third in the IBFC with 41 tackles, including 10 last week.
The key to a Lakeland win will once again be minimizing mistakes and penalties, Zebrowski said.