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The Lakeland College football team shrugged off a long day of penalties and turnovers with an impressive effort from its defense in rolling past Concordia University of Chicago, 34-0, on Saturday in River Forest, Ill.
Lakeland (5-4, 5-1 Illini-Badger Football Conference) takes sole possession of second place in the IBFC with one game to play. League-leader Concordia, Wis., clinched the IBFC title with a 14-7 overtime win over Greenville, which had been tied with Lakeland for second.
The Muskies scored 21 points in the first 10 minutes Saturday, then slogged through a penalty-filled game. Lakeland had 17 penalties on the day for 180 yards.
Lakeland's defense, which recorded its first shutout of the season, limited the host Cougars (2-7, 1-5) to just 43 total yards. CUC had only nine total yards at halftime, but the Muskies had 11 first-half penalties for 134 yards and two turnovers as they clung to that 21-0 edge at the half.
"What prevented this game from being a blow out in the first half was the penalties and turnovers," Lakeland head coach Jim Zebrowski said. "The officials called a very tight game. I thought our defense was lights out. Our defensive line was outstanding and (linebacker) John Wagner was running wild."
Lakeland's defense recovered three of CUC's six fumbles and picked off a pair of CUC passes.
Offensively, the Muskies rolled up 413 total yards, including 256 rushing. Antonio Humphrey, a freshman running back making his first collegiate start, had 12 carries for 61 yards and scored Lakeland's first touchdown of the game with 10:43 to play in the opening quarter on a 16-yard run.
Lakeland defensive lineman Stephan Johnson recovered a CUC fumble on the next series, and Muskies' junior quarterback Brad Wilk connected with junior wide receiver MacArthur White on a 24-yard pass at the 8:06 mark to make it 14-0.
The final TD of the first half came from the defense as sophomore linebacker Blaine Hornes pounced on a CUC fumble in the endzone to make it 21-0.
Lakeland scored twice in the second half - another Wilk to White TD pass, this one for 14 yards with 8:07 left in the third quarter, and a 1-yard QB keeper by Wilk to finish the scoring.
White had seven catches for 99 yards and two TDs. Wilk was 12 of 22 for 157 yards and two TDs, plus he had eight rushes for 44 yards and a TD. Senior tight end Martin Ringiesen had a pair of catches for 39 yards, and freshman Jacob Heinemeyer saw his first action at running back this season, rushing for 47 yards on 12 carries.
"MacArthur played well," Zebrowski said. "Antonio did a good job in his first start for us. We gave an outstanding effort, but we have to do a better job controlling our penalties and turnovers."
Lakeland will close out the 2006 season on Saturday with a 12 p.m. game at IBFC foe Aurora, Ill.