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One week after picking up its first victory the season, the Lakeland College football team will be looking to build more momentum when it faces Benedictine on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Lisle, Ill.
It's the last of four straight road games for Lakeland (1-3, 1-0 Illini-Badger Football Conference), which closes the season with four of its last five IBFC games at home.
Benedictine (1-3, 0-1 IBFC), which will be celebrating homecoming on Saturday, started its conference schedule with a tough 21-10 loss to Concordia University Chicago last week. Despite the loss, the Eagles led the game in nearly every statistical category, which means the Eagles will be motivated to get into the win column. The Muskies' defense will need to be at the top of its game to stop the Eagles' wing-T option offense, and the Muskies' offense will need another performance like last week.
"They have a run-oriented offense," said Lakeland head coach Kevin Doherty. "It is a lot of misdirection and wing-T type of stuff. They are unlike any opponent we've played thus far, and because of that there a lot more mental preparation for this week."
The Eagles' rushing attack is led by sophomore running back Ryan Schwartz, who is second in the IBFC in rushing with 363 yards. Last week he picked up 124 yards on 31 carries and a touchdown.
The Eagles will have their hands full with the Muskies' offense, which put everything together last week in Lakeland's first win of the season, a big 36-21 victory at Greenville. The Muskies' offense had 368 total yards, including 254 passing and 114 rushing.
Senior quarterback Brad Wilk earned IBFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance as he connected on 19 of 32 passes for 254 yards and four touchdowns. He accounted for Lakeland's fifth TD on a short run.
Lakeland's running game got off the ground in the contest, as freshman Ben Lombardi, who was sidelined with an injury during preseason camp, had 105 yards on 21 carries. The Muskies' receiving core also had a strong game, led by senior wide receiver MacArthur White who had four catches for 96 yards and one touchdown.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he makes some more big plays this week," said Doherty of White. "We threw the ball to him in some key situations for us last week and he really came through for us. Defensively, I think our secondary will have a big week as well. I think we match up very well with their receivers."
Lakeland returns home on Oct. 6 for its own homecoming game, a 1 p.m. contest at Taylor Field against Eureka.