Lakeland Muskies vs. MacMurray Highlanders Football Preview
Athletics - posted on 10/13/2006
The Lakeland College football team will be looking for its fourth straight win as the Muskies head to MacMurray College on Saturday.
A victory would leave the Muskies (3-3, 3-0 IBFC) undefeated in the Illini-Badger Football Conference, and is the team's final tuneup before the Oct. 21 showdown with currently-unbeaten Concordia, Wis. on Lakeland's Homecoming.
Kickoff between the Muskies and MacMurray is 1 p.m. at Freesen Field in Jacksonville, Ill.
The Muskies will have to contend with the wide open offense of the Highlanders (1-4, 1-2 IBFC, who earned their first win of the season last week, 46-41 over Concordia University of Chicago.
The Highlanders got a boost last week with the return of senior quarterback Mike Schmidtke from an injury, and he will be playing just his second game due season against Lakeland. Against CUC, he completed 15 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
Schmidtke's favorite receiver last week was 2005 All-IBFC first team sophomore wide receiver Terry Martin, who grabbed four passes for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Schmidtke and Martin won't be the only two Highlanders the Muskies' defense will be scoping out. Senior running back Peter Ereg was a 2005 All-IBFC first team running back, and he is third in the IBFC in rushing at 68.8 yards per game. Against CUC he rolled up 178 rushing yards and three TDs.
"They like to fling the ball around and try to get it to Ereg and let him run the ball," said Lakeland head coach Jim Zebrowski.
MacMurray is led defensively by senior linebacker Larry Pirollo, an honorable mention selection on this year's Don Hanson's Football Gazette Pre-Season All-American Team and a 2005 All-IBFC first team linebacker. He is third in the IBFC in tackles, averaging 7.0 a game. Last year, Pirollo finished the season ranked 12th in the nation in tackles per game.
The Muskies offense will try to pick up from where it left off in last week's win at Eureka. Last week, the Muskies scored seven straight times against Eureka and had 448 yards of total offense, 325 of those yards rushing.
Leading the rushing effort was freshman halfback Dominique Collins, who earned IBFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against Eureka. Against the Red Devils, Collins had 23 carries for 142 yards and two TDs in his first collegiate start.
Junior Brad Wilk and freshman Jacob Heinmeyer will alternate at the quarterback position, which paid off in last week's win. Wilk was 9 for 12 for 85 yards with one TD pass and a rushing TD, while Heinemeyer was 3 for 7 for 38 yards with a TD pass.
"Our only problem last week was our defense couldn't get off the field fast enough," said Zebrowski. "That gave our offense less opportunities to score."
Lakeland's defense will look to rebound from last weekend, are have been led lately by the outstanding play of sophomore linebacker John Wagner and sophomore defensive lineman Stephan Johnson.
Wagner is currently tied for first in the IBFC with .50 sacks per game and he is second in the IBFC in tackles with an average of 9.5 per game. Johnson had a forced fumble as well as three solo tackles and three assisted tackles in action last week and he is averaging 4.8 tackles per game.
"We're going in the right direction, we just have to keep gaining momentum going into the tail end of the season," said Zebrowski.
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