Rivers, Defense Help Muskies Roll Past Warriors
Lakeland Head Football Coach Colin Bruton has been looking for a more complete game from his team, and he got what he has been looking for on Saturday as the Muskies rolled to a 56-7 victory over Wisconsin Lutheran College. Larry Rivers led the way, rushing for 204 yards and a school record six touchdowns and quarterback Charl’Tez Nunnery threw for 188 yards and rushed for another 110 as the offense was virtually unstoppable. The defense was dominating as well, holding the Warriors to 12 first downs and 249 yards of total offense as quarterback Nick Yockey struggled.
The Muskies offense got off to a hot start, scoring on eighth straight possessions. It began with the very first drive, as Lakeland took the opening kickoff and marched 74 yards in 10 plays before scoring. It was the combination of Nunnery and Rivers that led the way, as the quarterback began the drive with a 9-yard completion to Rivers. This became the story of the drive, as the Lakeland quarterback carried the ball three times for 20 yards, and completed two passes for an additional 18. Rivers did the rest, rushing for 31 yards on three carries, including scoring from 7 yards out to make it a 7-0 Lakeland lead.
The Warriors looked to get that score right back behind quarterback Matthew Davis, who hit Mike DuPree for a 38-yard completion that moved the ball into Lakeland territory. However, the drive stalled there thanks to a sack by Shazon Crutcher that set up a fourth and 24.
The punt was a good one, dropping inside the 10. However, the Muskies offense was up to the task, going 91 yards in 10 plays before finding the end zone once again. Rivers had the big play of the drive, taking the ball at midfield and racing 37 yards before being dragged down. Three plays later he scored from 4 yards out to make it 14-0 Lakeland.
After the Muskies settled for a 33-yard Peyton Domangue field goal on their next possession, Lakeland took their fourth possession of the game and moved 35 yards in six plays before scoring once again. Nunnery set up a touchdown with a 12-yard carry that put the ball at the 1 yard line. On the next play, Rivers scored his third touchdown of the game to make it 24-0.
The Lakeland defense stepped up big time on the next possession, as Andrew Cardiel intercepted a Davis pass at the Lakeland 14. Rivers then led the team back the other way, carrying the ball three times for 35 yards before scoring from 7 yards out to make it 30-0. Nunnery had a big drive as well, not only completing two of his three pass attempts, but also converting a third and 5 with a 30-yard carry.
Yockey took over at the quarterback position on the next possession, and was intercepted by Rayshion Brumfield on his third pass attempt of the game. That gave the Muskies the ball at their own 43, and it would take just two plays before they would find the end zone once again. Nunnery led the way, completing a pass to Devin Martin for 55 yards and the score to give Lakeland a 37-0 lead.
Wisconsin Lutheran had been dominated by the Muskies defense, forced to punt on their first three possessions, and throwing interceptions in the next two. However, on their sixth possession of the game they finally would find the end zone. Yockey had a big play on third and 7 at his own 34, when he connected with Trevion Green for 21 yards and a first down. On the next play, Justin Parbs found some space and raced 45 yards for a score. That made it 37-7.
However, the elation ended quickly. Andrew Colley took the kickoff, then found an opening down the left sideline, racing 60 yards for a touchdown to put his team back on top by 37.
Just before the half, Lakeland added one more score. Staying on the ground, Nunnery and Rivers carried the ball seven times in the 10 play drive, with Rivers scoring from 8 yards out to make it a 50-7 game. Nunnery completed two passes on the drive, including a 20-yard strike to Carl Cooper that moved the ball to the WLC eight.
The Muskies added one more score on their first possession of the second half. Starting from midfield, it took just six plays and 1:35 off the clock before Rivers scored from 9 yards out. That was his sixth touchdown of the game, a school record for rushing touchdowns.
That would also be the end for both Rivers and Nunnery. Rivers carried the ball 25 times for 204 yards and six touchdowns. Nunnery had a big day as well, completing 13 of 18 passes for 188 yards and a TD. He also carried the ball 17 times for 110 yards.
From there, neither team was able to move the ball. Both defenses stepped up, especially the Lakeland defense. In the second half, the defense forced three more turnovers, including two more interceptions. Wisconsin Lutheran finished with 59 yards on the ground and 190 through the air. The Muskies defense also had six sacks on the afternoon, led by Otis Watts who had three. Crutcher added to the contest. Cardiel had two interceptions.
Eight different players made receptions for Lakeland, led by Jaylen Rido who had five catches for 63 yards. Chris Crawford had four receptions for 40 yards, and Martin had the only touchdown reception of the day.
The Warriors offense was led by Yockey, who completed 16 of 29 passes for 143 yards and three interceptions. Davis was 1-7 for 38 yards and a pick. Parbs had a solid day on the ground, carrying the ball 11 times for 78 yards and a score. DuPree had seven catches for 83 yards. The WLC defense was led by Ty Castillo, who had 14 tackles.
The Lakeland Muskies (3-0) look to remain undefeated next week when they welcome St. Norbert College (1-1) for the first conference battle between these two teams. Wisconsin Lutheran College (0-3) is off next week.
by Robert Pannier