Warriors Lose Thriller In First-Ever OT Game

Photo Credit: Larry Radloff, d3photography.com
Photo Credit: Larry Radloff, d3photography.com

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - The Wisconsin Lutheran College football team scored late in the fourth quarter to force overtime, but suffered a heartbreaking 40-34 loss to Lakeland in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference opener for both teams Saturday at Taylor Field. The game was delayed over two hours by inclement weather. 

The Warriors (0-4, 0-1 NACC) led 27-26 entering the fourth quarter, but Lakeland (2-2, 1-0 NACC) grabbed the lead with 11:29 to play on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Van Straten to Chris Jaskulski. The Muskies converted the two-pointer to take a 34-27 advantage.

With 3:51 to play in the fourth, Warriors quarterback Drew Dyrssen (Vista, Calif./California Lutheran) connected with receiver Eli Campbell (Clermont, Fla./East Ridge) on a 45-yard touchdown stirke to tie the game at 34. The teams exchanged punts to end regulation as the game moved to overtime, the first in school history for WLC.

Lakeland took the ball first in the extra period and scored on Van Straten's five-yard touchdown throw to Kezlow Smith. The extra point was blocked as the Muskies held a 40-34 lead, giving WLC a chance to win with a touchdown and extra point. 

Mike Reeves (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates) opened the Warriors possesion with a carry for 11 yards. However, the drive stalled on the 14 yard line as the next four plays were incomplete passes to end the game. 

The Warriors opened the scoring halfway through the first quarter. On 3rd-and-20 from deep in their own territory, Dyrssen found Davonte Wilson (Greenfield, Wis./Greenfield) for an 82-yard gain, setting up a six-yard touchdown run by Donavin Tucker (Brookfield, Wis./East). 

Lakeland responded on the next possession, with Van Straten running 18 yards for a touchdown to tie the game. The Warriors came back with a lighting-quick 36-second scoring drive. Dyrssen's 34-yard touchdown pass to Teontae Morgan (Cudahy, Wis./Cudahy) capped the 67-yard drive and gave Wisconsin Lutheran a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

An impressive drive by the Muskies tied the game again in the second quarter. The Muskies went 94 yards on 17 plays, chewing up 7:37 on the clock. Van Straten's 19-yard touchdown pass to Jaskulski made it 14-14 with 2:59 to go in the first half.

Once again, WLC had an immediate answer. Dyrssen fired a 59-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Wolf (Cedarburg, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran) on the second play of the next drive to make it 21-14 with 2:37 left in the half.

Following that drive, the game was delayed by lightining for two hours and four minutes. After the delay, Lakeland drove 65 yards on 10 plays, scoring on Van Straten's 21-yard pass to Smith. Travis Turnquist (Madison, Wis./East) blocked the extra point to keep WLC in front 21-20 at halftime.

The teams exchanged touchdowns again halfway through the third quarter. Kendrick Burks scampered 31 yards for a touchdown to give Lakeland the lead, 26-21 after a missed extra point. That lead was short-lived, however, as Tucker returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown to put WLC ahead 27-26, as they also missed the extra point.

Dyrssen was 17-for-46 for 419 yards and three touchdowns. It was the second-most passing yards in a game by a quarterback in school history. Mitch Skarban (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran) was the leading receiver with six catches for 110 yards. Eric Zeitler (Waukesha, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) anchored the Warriors defense with 13 tackles, including one for a loss. 

Van Straten was 21-for-40 for 244 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 113 yards and a score. Jaskulski made seven grabs for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Burks piled up 119 rushing yards and scored a touchdown. Ben Manske led the Muskies defensively with six tackles and five pass breakups. 

Lakeland outgained WLC 516-483. The Muskies were an impressive 12-for-24 on third down conversions. 

Wisconsin Lutheran (0-4, 0-1 NACC) hosts Concordia Chicago (1-3, 1-0 NACC) Saturday at 1 p.m. at Warrior Field.