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Lakeland College's defense struggled to contain the Central, Iowa, rushing attack Saturday afternoon, giving up 374 total rushing yards in a 40-17 defeat in the football team's season opener at Taylor Field.
Jarred Lackey finished with 143 yards on seven attempts to lead the Dutch. Lackey broke off a 61 yard touchdown run on his first carry of the day down the far sideline.
"Hat's off to Central," Lakeland head coach Kevin Doherty said. "They're a big, physical team who is well coached and a tough opponent."
Reminiscent of last seasons' contest, the Muskies entered the second quarter trailing only 3-0. Central used big plays from Lackey to put up 21 points on the scoreboard before halftime. Lakeland kicker Nic Horstmeier converted on a 40 yard field goal attempt with 40 seconds remaining in the half as the Muskies trailed 24-3 at the break.
The Lakeland offense started to click midway through the third. Quarterback Jake Dworak (Denmark) found wide receiver Jake Heinemeyer in the right corner of the end zone for a three yard touchdown in the closing seconds of the third quarter.
Dworak found the end zone again in the Muskies' next possession from near midfield, hitting a streaking Roberto Flores down the far sideline as Flores beat a pair of Dutch defenders early in the fourth quarter.
Dworak turned in a solid 27-38 passing performance with two touchdowns and 296 yards. He was sacked six times on the day by a physical Central defense.
Sophomore Jeremy Williams (Zion, Ill.) led all Muskie rushers with eight carries and 14 yards as the Lakeland offense struggled with the running game all day.
Junior Roberto Flores (Milwaukee) caught 8 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown, falling 40 yards shy of his 212 receiving yards from last season.
"We took what Central gave us on offense," Doherty said. "They did a real good job of shutting down our running game. We went to the air a little more than we wanted to but we were having success with our passing game."
Central pounded out 504 total yards on offense between a balance rushing attack consisting of Lackey, starting running back David Zachary and quarterback Nate Snead. Zachary added 104 yards on the ground and two scores while Snead picked up 91 rushing yards to go along his 86 yards in the air.
"We've got to minimize our missed tackles and giving up big plays," Doherty said. "Those two things really hurt us on the defensive side of the ball."
The Muskies return to action Saturday, September 12 with a non-conference road game at Mount. St. Joes in Cincinnati, Ohio. Game time is slated for 1 p.m. (EST).