Muskies fall in playoff opener 70-7 to No. 2-ranked Whitewater
Athletics - posted on 11/21/2009
WHITEWATER, Wis. - Through the first 10 minutes of the game, it appeared the Lakeland football team would give No. 2 UW-Whitewater all it could handle.
However, the Warhawks, last year's national runner-up, would score 63 unanswered points as Lakeland turned the ball over six times in a 70-7 loss in the first round of the NCAA Division III Playoffs at Perkins Stadium.
"Whitewater has a great football team, and they clicked on all cylinders today," Lakeland coach Kevin Doherty said. "We have a young team, but I'm proud of our 10 seniors. We now have a taste of what it's like at the playoff level as we come back for next year."
With the loss, the Muskies (6-5) are officially eliminated from postseason play. Lakeland, the Northern Athletics Conference champion, made its second-ever appearance in the NCAA Playoffs. In 2005, the team was defeated 49-22 in first-round play at Augustana (Ill.).
After the Warhawks took a 7-0 lead on their first offensive play from scrimmage, Lakeland responded with an 11-play, 76-yard scoring drive, capped by a five-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jake Dworak (Denmark, Wis.) to senior wide receiver Jacob Heinemeyer with 7:28 remaining in the opening quarter.
The touchdown was the first allowed by the Whitewater defense in the first quarter this season.
From that point, Whitewater (11-0) was dominant, rolling up 302 total yards of offense in the first half and taking a 42-7 advantage into the locker room.
"After our second drive, we thought we had it going," said Dworak, who finished with 144 passing yards, a touchdown and five interceptions. "From then on, it seemed like their cornerbacks and safeties knew what was coming and were quicker to the ball."
After gaining 106 yards of total offense in the first quarter, Lakeland recorded only 104 yards in the remainder of the contest.
For the game, the Warhawks rolled up 501 yards of total offense, including 358 on the ground.
"We did what we did all year from a scheme standpoint, but some turnovers didn't go our way and we had trouble containing their rushing attack," Doherty said.
Junior wide receiver Roberto Flores (Milwaukee, Wis.) racked up six catches for 102 yards in the game, finishing the year with 1,058 receiving yards, the second-most for one season in Lakeland football history. Heinemeyer (Shiocton, Wis.) tallied four receptions for 36 yards.
Juniors Will Baldwin (Waukegan, Ill.) and Bryan Groshek (Cudahy, Wis.) finished with eight tackles apiece to lead the Muskie defense.
The Warhawks advance to the second round, where they will face either No. 14 Illinois Wesleyan or No. 15 Wabash.
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