Harris Leads Muskies Past Red Devils, 26-17
Devon Harris continues his impressive performance in recent weeks, rushing for 146 yards to help lead the Lakeland University Muskies to a 26-17 victory over Eureka College on Saturday. Lakeland held a 20-point lead over the Red Devils before holding on for the nine-point victory. Robby Michael threw for 103 yards and rushed for 144 more, producing three touchdowns. The Lakeland defense had a big day, recording three sacks and intercepting three passes.
The Muskies came out of the first quarter in great position, holding a 13-0 lead. The team scored on their first and last possession of the quarter, with the teams combining for five punts between scores.
Lakeland took the opening kickoff and moved 75-yards in nine-plays, taking just 2:57 off the clock before they took a 6-0 lead. Michael had two big pass completions on the drive, one to Gabriel Maynes for 16-yards and the other to Chris Crawford for 20. However, a sack and a penalty had the team facing a second and 22 at the Eureka 40. Harris took a Michael pass for 17 yards and the quarterback then found Devin Martin for 23 yards and a touchdown.
Both offenses stalled, but Lakeland added one more score with 3:25 left in the first frame. This was a quick drive that went 81-yards in three plays. Harris started the possession with carries of 20 and three yards, then Michael kept the ball, finding an opening before racing 58 yards for a score. That made it 13-0.
The Red Devils were forced to punt on each of their first four possessions, including the final possession of the first quarter. That gave Lakeland the opportunity to extend their lead, and they delivered early in the second frame. After Michael found Harris for a 10-yard completion on the first play of the drive, ending the first quarter, the team moved to the remaining 80 yards in seven more plays. Michael had a big 16-yard carry and found Martin for 14 more and another first down out to midfield. On third and seven at the Eureka 47, the Muskies quarterback found an opening, then raced 47 yards for his second touchdown run of the day. That made it 20-0.
This contest was looking like he was going to be a blowout, but Eureka responded with a four play, 71-yard drive that cut the deficit to 13. Angel Garcia had a 34-yard run to get the drive going and quarterback Lukas Tinkham had a 32-yard completion for another first down to the Lakeland one. On the next play, Ben Bernabei scored making it a 20-7 game.
From there, the Muskies offense began to sputter. The team fumbled on their next possession, turning the ball over at their own 40-yard line. They then went three and out on their next three drives.
Eureka had one more opportunity to cut into their deficit, getting the ball at the Lakeland 36 with 33 seconds left in the half. They were able to move to the Muskies 10 before settling on a 27-yard field goal to make this a 20-10 game.
Neither team could generate any offense in the third quarter as this became a defensive struggle. The defenses were definitely the story of the second half, especially when Jack Arnett recovered a fumble at the Lakeland 9-yard line, returning it for a touchdown to make this a three point game.
It was suddenly looking like Lakeland might giveaway this contest, but the defense would have none of that. Eureka produced just 78 yards over their final seven possessions of the contest, and the Muskies defense made the play of the contest when Jayson Wilder intercepted a Tinkham pass and raced 54 yards for a touchdown to make it 26-17.
Wilder finished with two interceptions and had two pass breakups in the contest. Justin McMahon led the team with nine tackles and had one of the team’s three sacks. Harris finished with 30 carries for 146 yards. It was his third straight contest with at least 146 yards, and the junior running back has 491 yards rushing in that span.
The Lakeland University Muskies (2-6) take on rival Aurora (7-1) next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00.
by Robert Pannier