The Concordia football team gave fans something to cheer about at the school’s Homecoming game on Saturday. The Cougars erased 14 years of domination by edging Lakeland College 35-32. The last time Concordia defeated Lakeland was in 1994.
The Cougars were able to rack up 531 yards of total offense on the visiting Muskies, but would need every minute of the game to put them away.
Concordia jumped off to a fast start, scoring on its first two drives of the game. Both times the Cougars took the ball 80 yards. They got on the board first with a 44-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Mike Marotta to freshman Jamal Thomas. The Cougars struck again when Kyree Copeland scampered into the end zone from 21 yards out.
With the score 14-6 and 8:51 left in the first half, the Cougars made their first momentum changing play of the game when freshman David Sodetz intercepted a Jake Dworak pass at the Concordia 9-yard line. Concordia capitalized on the turnover by taking the ball 91 yards in nine plays and scoring on a 25-yard pass from Marotta to junior receiver Mike Egebrecht.
Lakeland answered right before the half with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Dworak to Roberto Flores, but the Cougars held the advantage at halftime, 21-12.
With six minutes left in the third quarter, a Marotta pass was picked off by Tony Faller and returned 23 yards for a Muskie touchdown.
Jamal Thomas put the Cougars up by nine on a 41-yard touchdown run with two minutes left in the third quarter. That’s when things started to look grim for the Cougars as Dworak passed for a touchdown and ran for another on consecutive drives to take the lead at 32-28 with just under five minutes left in the game.
Concordia began their last drive of the day at their own 27-yard line. After a trio of 15-yard first down passes to Egebrecht, Copeland, and sophomore Nathan Bahr, the Cougars got a scare when Marotta fumbled at the Lakeland 25-yard line. Marotta was able to recover but not before being dragged down back at the Lakeland 45-yard line.
After a couple of incompletions, the Cougars were looking at fourth down and 15 with fewer than two minutes to play. Marotta fired a pass to Egebrecht, who gained just enough yardage to give the Cougars a first down and new life. Marotta found Egebrecht again a few plays later, this time for a touchdown with 20 seconds left in the game.
“After a couple of tough losses, to do what the team did today against a quality opponent was huge,” said Concordia head coach Lonnie Pries.
Marotta finished 19-of-34 for 292 yards and three touchdowns on the day. Thomas had nine catches for 145 yards, and also rushed for 40 yards. Copeland led the Cougars on the ground with 149 yards on 27 carries.
The Cougars hit the road this Saturday to take on Maranatha Baptist Bible College.