Muskies drill Cougars, move into first-place tie in IBFC
Athletics - posted on 10/27/2007
The last week of the Lakeland College football team's regular season got a whole lot more interesting on Saturday.
Shortly after finishing off visiting Concordia University Chicago 56-7, the Muskies learned that Greenville had handed Concordia, Wis., its first league loss, 44-14.
So with a week to play, Lakeland and Concordia, Wis., are tied atop the Illini-Badger Football Conference at 5-1. The Muskies (5-4 overall) wrap up the regular season with a 12 p.m. game at home against Aurora, while the Falcons head to Benedictine, Ill.
With a win next Saturday, Lakeland will clinch at least a share of the final IBFC crown. If CUW wins, the Falcons will also clinch at least a share of the title and the league's automatic playoff berth, based on their head-to-head win over Lakeland.
"It increases our focus for this final week," said Lakeland head football coach Kevin Doherty. "It will be a lot like the week leading into that game at Concordia, Wis. - I'm not going to have to do anything to get the kids fired up to play. Now, there's more at stake than just winning the game. Our 13 seniors want a conference title in their last year."
In Saturday's win, the Muskies shrugged off a sluggish first quarter thanks to some opportunistic play from the defense and a great day from their special teams.
Sophomore Jacob Heinemeyer returned a pair of punts for touchdowns, including a 28-yard return near the end of the third quarter that stretched Lakeland's lead to a comfortable 28-7.
"We have a couple different returns that we've been running all year," Doherty said. "Jake did a good job today of deciding when to catch the ball and when to fair catch, and on those two he did a great job of catching on the run and following his blocks."
The Cougars (3-6, 2-4) finished with five turnovers as Lakeland's defense picked off four passes by Concordia quarterback Jason Weeks, two by senior Josh Schramm and one each from senior Kempton Freeman and freshman Keith Woodson.
Schramm's first pick at the Concordia 37 near the end of the first half led to a Lakeland touchdown four plays later that gave the Muskies the lead for good. On the next series, Freeman recovered a Concordia fumble, and two plays later the Muskies scored again to take a 21-7 halftime lead.
"I was really happy with our defense and the way we were forcing turnovers today," Doherty said. "We started really flat and we had to get the guys pumped up. We got in the red zone in the first quarter but came up empty, and that got us uptight and we were pressing early. I thought that interception by Josh really helped turn things around.
"The way we played in the second and fourth quarters I think showed that our guys put that tough loss to Concordia, Wis., behind us."
Junior linebacker John Wagner led the defense with 12 tackles, including 11 solos, and the Muskies had nine tackles for loss from nine different players.
Offensively, Lakeland had 387 total yards, including 189 rushing. Senior Paul Resop led the ground game with 76 yards on 13 carries and a TD, while sophomore Antonio Humphrey had 43 yards on 14 carries and a TD.
Senior QB Brad Wilk was 15 of 32 for 198 yards, three TDs and a pair of interceptions. Senior MacArthur White led the receivers with five catches for 98 yards and two TDs, while junior Matt Pawlyk had three catches for 57 yards and a TD.
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