Muskies score 23 unanswered points to beat Maranatha 29-14
Athletics - posted on 11/1/2008
The Lakeland football team scored 23 unanswered fourth-quarter points to defeat Maranatha Baptist 29-14 in a Northern Athletics Conference game in Watertown.
The Muskies (4-4, 4-1 NAC) trailed 14-6 heading into the final quarter after the Crusaders took advantage of a Lakeland interception returned for a touchdown in the second quarter and a botched snap on a punt late in the third.
Lakeland recovered, though, as senior wide receiver Matt Pawlyk (Marinette) caught two touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Jake Dworak (Denmark) in a five-minute span to give the Muskies a 21-14 lead with 6:33 remaining in the game.
Pawlyk, a co-captain, finished the game with seven receptions for 164 yards.
"Matt Pawlyk made some critical catches in the fourth quarter," Lakeland head coach Kevin Doherty said. "Offensively, we just couldn't get anything going through the first three quarters. We had some missed reads, dropped balls and protection miscues on third downs."
The Muskies capped the comeback with a 5-yard touchdown return by junior defensive end Gary Clark (Scotland) with just over three minutes left to play. Senior defensive tackle Mike Nerat (Menominee) stripped Crusader quarterback Nathan Chromy on the play.
It appeared Maranatha would head into the locker room with a 7-0 first-half lead after Crusader defensive back Rob Dupre picked off Dworak and returned it for a 50-yard touchdown with just 24 seconds left.
The Muskies responded, however, as junior Jake Heinemeyer (Shiocton) returned the ensuing kickoff for an 85-yard score. Senior kicker/punter Billy Hughes (Brooksville, Fla.) missed the extra point, but the Muskies closed the gap to 7-6.
"We needed momentum in the first half, but we just didn't get it," Doherty said. "We didn't execute, and the guys were really frustrated."
The Crusaders (0-8, 0-5) mustered just 85 total yards of offense against a swarming Muskie defense, which allowed just 28 rushing yards on 30 carries.
"Defensively, the guys played an outstanding game," Doherty said. "They tackled, got themselves off the field and gave us great field position on a couple drives in the fourth quarter."
Senior linebacker John Wagner (Kewaunee) finished with 16 total tackles, including 2.5 for a loss, to lead Lakeland. Clark registered five tackles and 1.5 for a loss.
Dworak finished with 221 yards through the air as well as two touchdowns and three interceptions.
The Muskies return to action at home next Saturday in the annual "Cheese Bowl" against league rival Concordia Wisconsin. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. at Taylor Field.
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