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Apparently, it worked.
Fueled by five interceptions and a stellar day from senior wide receiver Matt Pawlyk, the Muskies cruised to a 26-7 victory over the Warriors (2-3 overall, 1-1 NAC) on a gorgeous afternoon at Raabe Stadium.
"The kids played with great passion and resiliency,"
A Wisconsin Lutheran interception returned for a touchdown put the Warriors up 7-0 early in the second quarter. On WLC's next drive, junior safety Isiah Calhoun (
On the ensuing drive,
Just under four minutes later, Pawlyk, a co-captain and Marinette native, caught his second touchdown on fourth-and-six from the Warriors' 16-yard line. According to Doherty, the play was suggested by senior Billy Hughes on the sidelines.
"We really needed that touchdown before halftime," Doherty said. "We were just trying to get a first down, and Matt took the ball and got in the end zone."
Pawlyk finished with eight receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
"We were just executing with a lot of good throws, and our offensive line was blocking well," Pawlyk said. "We got the run game going there, so that was able to open up the passing game quite a bit."
Sophomore cornerback Keith Woodson (
He returned his second pick 70 yards for a touchdown with 4:23 remaining in the fourth quarter to seal the win for the Muskies (2-3, 2-0).
"The whole drive we were playing in a 'Cover-2,' so my assignment is to stay in the flat the whole time," Woodson said. "Their main route on the outside is a comeback play, so that's right in my zone. I was already looking for it and made a pretty good play on the ball."
In addition to Calhoun and Woodson, senior safety Justin Medard (
"We really came together today," Woodson said. "Our goal was to control [WLC wide receiver Dominique] Johnson, and we knew they would go to him. We just made sure they couldn't throw it to anybody else, and we just made some great plays on the ball."
The Muskie defense held Warrior running back Justin Hairl, the NAC's leading rusher entering the game, to 63 yards on the ground. The secondary held Johnson, one of the conference's best threats at wide receiver, to two catches for 47 yards.
"When you have great athletes, it's easy to have guys make plays back there," Doherty said. "Wisconsin Lutheran was trying to run a lot of one-on-one double-move routes, and our guys did a great job of staying with the receivers and staying disciplined in their techniques."
For the offense, Dworak, a Denmark native, quietly went 18-of-28 for 311 yards, tossing three touchdowns and an interception for the contest.
His third scoring toss gave the Muskies a 20-7 lead half way through the third quarter. Dworak found junior wide receiver Jake Heinemeyer (Shiocton) deep down the middle for a crucial 50-yard touchdown. Heinemeyer finished the day with four catches for 111 yards.
"Earlier in the season, we did not overcome early adversity very well," Doherty said. "Today, we did. We made plays when we had to, scored points and won the turnover battle."
The Muskies head to
"We definitely have momentum now," Pawlyk said. "We know we've got our team together. We just need to keep putting points on the board and winning games."Photos courtesy of Eva McGillivray, Wisconsin Lutheran Athletic Department