Muskies fall in Cheese Bowl

Josh Meronek, Sports Editor

The Lakeland College football team has been fighting through ups and downs, but came up just short in its bid to take control of the NAAC conference. Despite taking a 14-0 lead in the game, they ended up falling in the Cheese Bowl to CU-W 45-28. This loss bumps the Muskies down to second in the conference, and they now need help to win the NAAC. Unable to roll to their fifth straight win, the Muskies must now win out if they’re to have any hope of a NACC championship.

The Muskies came out in the first quarter on fire by rushing out to a 14-point lead in the first quarter. They managed to punish the Falcons on the offensive side of the ball and dictated the pace of the game. Despite dominating the first quarter, the game quickly turned in favor of the Falcons as they amassed 35 straight unanswered points.

This explosion of offensive and defensive pressure was too much for the Muskies to overcome despite an offensive burst of their own in the last quarter. Dylan Van Straten led the team with over 400 yards combined passing and rushing. In total, the offensive managed to muster up 519 yards of total offense, showing their continued explosiveness. Kezlow Smith had yet another huge game, racking up 141 yards on six receptions. This sophomore is showing strong signs of talent and is playing like Terrell Owens for the Muskies. The offensive line also showed why the offensive has been so productive, and completely dominated the Falcons’ defensive linemen.

On the defensive side of the ball, Yaphay Harvey was an absolute terror, racking up over 13 tackles. This season has been very good for Harvey, and he is helping to strengthen the defensive backfield. Trevor Tanck had another dominant game from the defensive line; he managed to snag nine tackles, including a forced fumble. Coupled with the emergence of Jake Lefleur, the Muskies have been putting on significant pressure through the defensive line. Despite the strong effort, the Muskies’ defense had a tough time slowing the Falcons’ high powered offense.

Unable to capture the Cheese Bowl, this loss severely hurt the Muskies chance to win the conference championship. This loss puts them one behind CU-W for the conference championship, and this puts their destiny and potential postseason dreams in jeopardy. Not only did it hurt their postseason dreams, but snapped their four game winning streak. There is still hope for the Muskies as they still have several conference games left to play. As long as the team continues to win, their dream of a conference championship is still alive.