Muskies win 18th annual Cheese Bowl, stay alive in playoff race
Athletics - posted on 11/7/2009
MEQUON - In a game that featured six turnovers between the two teams, there was one piece of hardware the Lakeland College football team didn't fumble away.
The Cheese Bowl trophy - an awkward sculpture which is taken by the winner of the annual rivalry game between Lakeland and Concordia, Wis. - will remain in the hands of the Muskies following the team's 32-16 victory over the Falcons at Century Stadium.
More importantly, Lakeland (5-4 overall, 5-1 Northern Athletics Conference) remains in the race for the NAC title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Playoffs.
"This is big," said senior wide receiver Jacob Heinemeyer, who had six catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. "This is what we've been working toward for the last few months now. We put it all on the line today, and I couldn't love my teammates any more. We played our hearts out."
The Muskie offense wasn't overly impressive, but controlled the ball for nearly 38 minutes and made enough big plays in a 21-point second quarter.
Holding a 23-13 advantage midway through the fourth quarter, the Muskies sealed the win with a crucial defensive stand on fourth-and-1 back in Falcon territory. An inspired Lakeland defense -which surrendered just 104 yards through the air - stuffed a draw play and seized the momentum for good.
"I think the defense played near perfect," said senior defensive back Brandon Wolff, who had one of Lakeland's three interceptions. "This is our second straight year of not giving up a (defensive) touchdown. It was a good game for everyone in the seniors' last Cheese Bowl."
Five plays after the stand, freshman tight end Adam Miller (Marion, Wis.) found a hole and scampered for a 14-yard score, putting Lakeland ahead by three scores with 6:21 remaining in the contest.
"I don't know what happened emotionally after that, but we just started running the ball all over the place," Lakeland coach Kevin Doherty said. "Our offense really fed off our defense, and our defense fed off our offense today."
After a tightly-contested first quarter, in which the only points came on a Lakeland safety from a punt snapped out of the end zone, the Muskies erupted in the second quarter.
Heinemeyer started it with a 28-yard catch in the left corner of the end zone just under two minutes into the frame. With 1:46 left in the half, sophomore quarterback Jake Dworak, eluding pressure, connected with junior wide receiver Roberto Flores for a 22-yard scoring strike.
"We started to mesh better, and understood that we needed to sustain drives," Heinemeyer said. "We started working the run in as well as the pass, and that was the key to our success I think."
Dworak tossed for 212 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for a touchdown. Sophomore running back Jeremy Williams grinded out 88 rushing yards.
Defensively, senior linebacker Jamie Schramm tallied a team-high nine tackles, while senior defensive lineman Kellen Grott posted a pair of sacks.
Lakeland has now won the last two games in the series, while Concordia leads the all-time Cheese Bowl series 11-7.
The Falcons dropped to 4-2 in NAC play and 4-5 overall.
The Muskies host Aurora next Saturday at 12 p.m. With a win and a Concordia Chicago loss, Lakeland would win the conference title outright and receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Playoffs.
If Concordia Chicago wins, the Muskies can still share the NAC title with a victory.
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