Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 Season Schedule Announced!

The Lake Forest College Athletic Department released the schedule for the 2011 Football season. During the 2011 season, the Foresters will again play a balanced schedule of five home contests at Farwell Field, and five games on the road.

Third year head football coach, Jim Catanzaro, had this to say about the schedule. "We are looking forward to playing another tough schedule in 2011. We are filled with great competition both within the Midwest Conference and in our non-conference tilt with Concordia. I am looking forward to measuring our improvement against this schedule."

The Foresters open up the 2011 season on the road against Concordia University on September 3rd at 1pm. Concordia finished the 2010 season with a record of 8-2, including going 6-1 in the Northern Athletics Conference. The Cougars will be looking to replace NAC Offensive Player of the Year Kyree Copeland, as well as well as four other players who were named first team all-conference.

Catanzaro commented,"They graduate some very talented players in Marotta, Copeland, and Englebrecht. I had the privledge of coaching those guys in the All-American Bowl, and am glad that we don't have to defend them next year. Having said that, Coach Pries has a great group of returners, and they will be well coached."

The Foresters begin conference play the next week against Ripon College at home. The September 10th kickoff is scheduled for 1pm.

"To have our conference opener at home is great for us. Last year having back to back road games to start conference play really wore on our guys. The friendly confines of Farwell Field should be a boost," said Catanzaro.

Ripon loses the services of two-time 1st team all-conference fullback TJ Pierce, as well as 1st-team all conference offensive lineman Josh Novak. "Ripon is always a tough game. On offense, they are extremely disciplined. Running the option gives all of their opponents a challenge. Defensively, they are extremely quick to the ball. Our games the last two years against Ripon have been predicated on runs, and who takes care of the ball better." The Redhawks finished 7-3 in 2011.

The Foresters return on the 17th to Farwell for a game against the Blueboys of Illinois College. The last time that the Blueboys came to the Forest, they lost 28-23 to the Foresters. Coach Catanzaro was the defensive coordinator in 2008. The Blueboys graduate key players on both sides of the ball. On the defensive side of the ball, the Blueboys lose Co-Defensive Player of the Year Ricky Padilla (LB). However they return senior DB Erik Fisher who lead the conference in interceptions in 2010. On Offense, IC graduates four year starting quarterback Mitch Niekamp. Niekamp was a three time MWC offensive player of the week, and a multi-year all-conference selection.

"Coach Campbell has done a great job recruiting southern and central Illinois the last few years. He has built up the roster, and his team has shown growth. This is a game that will be to be a part of. Our games have been tremendously competitive, and I am confident that the 2011 edition will be no different," remarked Coach Catanzaro.

The Foresters hit the road for their fourth game of the year against Grinnell College. The game against the Pioneers mark the first time that the Foresters will travel overnight during the 2011 season. The September 24th game will pit the Foresters against 2011 MWC Coach of the Year Jeff Pederesen. The last time that the Foresters traveled to Grinnell they came home with a 35-28 victory. The Foresters have not lost a game in Iowa since 2001. The Pioneers were 6-4 in 2010.

The Pioneers take a hit on the defensive side of the ball, losing three all-conference selections to graduation including linebackers Marquis Bradley and Ryan Fletcher.
"I thought Marquis was the best linebacker that we had played against in my five years at Lake Forest. That kid could do everything on the field, and made us look bad a couple of times," commented Catanzaro.

"I won't feel too bad for them though. They bring back one of the most talented offensive units in the MWC. All of their skill players return, including both quarterbacks and both wide receivers. I won't get much sleep the week that we play them," continued Coach Catanzaro. The two receivers that Catanzaro mentions are Logan Granera and Robert Seer, both of whom were selected all-MWC in 2010. The two receivers combined for 119 catches, 1705 yards, and 21 TDs.

After the trip to Iowa, the Foresters return to Lake Forest to take on Carroll University on October 1st. Since Coach Catanzaro arrived at Lake Forest in 2005, 4 of the 5 games with Carroll have been decided by less than one touchdown. In those four games, the Pioneers and Foresters have each won two of those games.

The 2011 season will be a new beginning for the Pioneers. Carroll named Mark Krzykowski their head coach for the 2011 season. Though new in his role as head coach, Coach K, is not new to the Carroll sideline.

"I have admired Mark's defense from afar since his arrival in 2006. As a former Pioneer as a player, I am sure that he is putting every ounce of his soul into his alma-mater's program trying to take them to the next level," commented Catanzaro.

Carroll finished 7-3 in 2011 losing two of their three games in overtime.

After Carroll, the Foresters begin the second half of their season with an October 8th trip to Beloit College. In 2010, the Foresters and Bucaneers decided to play some bonus football with an overtime game at Farwell Field. Another team that the Foresters have played numerous close games with over the last five years. The Buccaneers and Foresters have played 4 games decided by one score. The Foresters are
+12 in points vs. Beloit since Catanzaro's arrival to Halas Hall.

"Though the Bucs will be without All-American LB Tony Baratti, they return almost their entire offensive unit. They finished third in the conference in points scored, adn that was with their starting tailback missing give games. They will be a great challenge, and a team that we have had a lot of competitive games that come down to the last drive of the game," said Catanzaro.

The Foresters return to Farwell Field on the 15th of October to take on Monmouth College. The Fighting Scots finished 6-4 in 2010, after winning back to back conference championships. Their is a lot of optimism in Monmouth as it was announced that 2009 Melberger Award winner Alex Tanney has declared that he will indeed return for a fifth season after a season ending injury in 2010.

"Obviously, Alex will provide them with a huge boost in 2011. Coach Bell will do a great job reincorporating Alex into their scheme. There are few times that you get to be on the field competing against a player of Alex's ability. I know that our guys will be up for that challenge, and will be excited to face them on our campus this year," remarked Catanzaro.

The Foresters then take back to back road trips during weeks 8 and 9. The Foresters first travel up to Appleton, Wisconsin on October 22nd for a tilt against Lawrence University.

The Foresters have won four in a row against the Vikings, including a 35-14 victory last season in Lake Forest.

"Going to Appleton is always a treat. They have a historic home field in the Banta Bowl, and we have had some exciting games against the Vikings in the past. We definitely want to boost that win streak up to five in 2011."

After the Vikings, the Foresters head out for their second overnight trip of the 2011season against the Prarie Fire of Knox College. The Foresters defeated Knox 35-6 in 2010. The October 29th, game is scheduled for a 1pm kickoff.

"Those two games are going to be challenges for us. The travel down to Galesburg has not been one that we have performed well at in the past. We will need to get a quick start in both games, and establish a tempo that is conducive to our team. I think that with both Lawrence and Knox, we match up in a very competitive game," commented Catanzaro.

The Foresters close out the season at home against the Green Knights of St. Norbert College on November 5th at 1pm. The Foresters look to improve upon last years performance against the Green Knights.

"Last year, we didn't take advantage of opportunities when we had them, and we had a few costly turnovers. We need to convert those opportunities into points. I know that our guys left that game with a growing pit in their stomach, because they knew that they had not take advantage of situations."

"Our schedule is grueling and competitive. Only two of our opponents in 2011 finished below .500 in 2010. Many of them bring back talented groups of players. One of the things that I am most excited about is the fact that so many of our young players received meaningful game time experience in 2010. I am confident that that this will serve us well in 2011, and I am looking forward to our guys getting on the field and showing the great strides of improvement that they have taken. It will be a great year to be a Forester!."