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Eager to get back on the playing field following a disappointing 41-0 loss at Central, the Lakeland College football team seeks its first win this Saturday at Taylor Field as the Muskies host the College of Mount St. Joseph (Ohio) for their first home contest of the 2008 season.
"I think the team's ready to get back to work," Lakeland head coach Kevin Doherty said. "We've put that [Central] game behind us. I think if this game could be played on Wednesday, they'd want to play it. When you don't play well you want to get back out on that field and prove people wrong as soon as possible that you're better than you performed, I think that's how we're looking at it right now."
Last Saturday in Pella, Iowa, the Muskies (0-1) put together just 92 yards of total offense, including only 27 in the first half. The Dutch held the ball for almost 40 minutes, while the Muskies had just over 20 minutes of possession.
Defensively, Lakeland was led by junior linebacker Jamie Schramm, who had nine tackles, including two sacks and three tackles for a loss.
Despite such a stinging loss, Lakeland coaches and players are ready to rebound with a solid showing this weekend.
"Basically we're being put in a situation, and we can either stay down or get up," senior safety Justin Medard said. "We broke down on 'get up' today, so that's what we're focused on. That game's in the past, we're not worried about it, we're just looking forward to next week."
A member of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC), Mount St. Joseph comes into this weekend following a 21-7 non-conference win over Wilmington (Ohio) College. The Lions have a successful tradition as well, with a 27-6 combined overall record for the past three seasons. They are picked to finish second in their conference by the HCAC coaches.
Offensively, the Lions (1-0) were led by tailback Jake Davis, who scored two touchdowns, and wide receiver Tim Meiner, who recorded six receptions for 138 yards and a score. Meiner was named HCAC Player of the Week on offense for his performance.
"Offensively I think they put up some impressive numbers last week yardage-wise," Doherty said. "They've got a very balanced attack, great athletes that both run the ball and catch the ball, the quarterback is pretty good. All around, their offense is pretty solid. They have capability of moving the ball a lot and putting up points."
The Lions' defense is packed with experience, with six seniors and three juniors in the starting line-up.
"They've got great athletes [on defense] and nice size up front and at the linebacker position," Doherty said. "Their secondary is very versatile too as far as being able to come up and stop the run and being able to run and cover receivers."
The Muskies will need a top-notch performance, one that has to be much better than last Saturday, to lock up what would be a huge non-conference win.
"This week, mentally, we'll try and keep ourselves at it," said senior Billy Hughes, who will make his first ever home start at quarterback. "We are a good team, we just have to keep our heads up and work harder each day. You can't cry over spilled milk, so we have to get right back to the field and start where we started from."
Playing at home doesn't hurt, either.
"We're all looking forward to this home crowd advantage for us," Medard said. "It will be a really good atmosphere for us, and we're all really excited about it."