SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – It was a defensive battle on Saturday afternoon at Taylor Field between Concordia University Wisconsin and Lakeland College with the Cheese Bowl trophy at stake. The deciding factor was a Joe Paul (Jr./ West Bend, Wis.) 94-yard kick return for a touchdown that gave the Falcons a 23-16 Northern Athletics Conference road victory over the Muskies.
There were just three touchdowns scored in the 21st Annual Cheese Bowl, including a Lakeland Dylan Van Straten 5-yard touchdown pass to Chris Jaskulski that tied the game at 16-16 with 1:22 to play in regulation. On the ensuing possession, CUW's Paul returned the kickoff 94 yards for the game-winning score.
As it has been in years past, the rivalry was a grind-it-out style of ballgame. With a muddy field in play, there were a combined 16 punts, but just one turnover was committed. Neither team was able to produce offense, as less than 300 yards was accumulated on each side.
LC (2-5, 2-2 NAC) marched down the field on the game's opening drive 10 plays and 48 yards using 4:08 of game clock before Brandon Riesterer kicked a 27-yard field goal. After a pair of punts CUW (4-3, 3-1 NAC) needed just one play to take the lead. Sophomore Austin Damaschke (Bristol, Wis.) found Saunders for a 47-yard pass-and-catch touchdown. The point-after-attempt was missed, keeping the score at 6-3.
During the next nine possessions sophomore Hunter Breunig (Lodi, Wis.) and Riesterer were able to show off their punting legs. Breunig punted seven times for 251 yards (35.9 average) and pinned two inside the 20 yard line. Riesterer punted nine times for 358 yards (39.8 average) and put one inside the 20 yard line.
The Muskies scored their first touchdown of the game after Kendrick Burns burst through a hole for a 56 yard scoring run to give them a 10-6 lead in the third quarter.
CUW answered near the end of that same period when Damaschke found Scott Schieble (Sr./ Mequon, Wis.) on a 2-yard pass to retake the lead, 13-10. The touchdown was Schieble's first of the season.
Sophomore kicker David Gonzalez (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) extended the Falcon lead to 16-10 on a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
With the game in the balance, LC's Van Straten found Jaskulski for a 5-yard touchdown to tie the contest at 16-16, but a failed PAT kept the score tied.
Just a few seconds later, the Falcons sideline became ecstatic as Paul took the kickoff 94 yards to the end zone, providing the winning points.
CUW recorded four sacks for a total of 27 yards for loss and a combined 15 tackles for loss. Seniors Matt Upson (New Berlin, Wis.) and Matt Lechler (New Holstein, Wis.) each had seven tackles, while sophomore Uzziel McDermit (Kansasville, Wis.) and junior Widchero Cherident (Fort Myers, Fla.) had six tackles apiece.
Sophomore Garrett Wenzelburger (Hartland, Wis.) finished with a career game hauling in 11 receptions for 117 yards. Junior James Saunders (Riverview, Fla.) caught seven passes for 98 yards and a touchdown, while senior Scott Schieble (Mequon, Wis.) caught a 2-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
LU's Van Straten led all rushers with 69 yards on 19 carries and was limited to 12-of-22 passing for 106 yards and one touchdown. Jaskulski recorded five catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. Kendrick Burns rushed 17 times for 79 yards and a touchdown.
CUW is at home Saturday at NOON against Rockford College at Tomasini Stadium. The contest is part of Family Weekend.