Sunday, August 21, 2011

Foresters practice off campus!

Wednesday, August 17th signified an important event for Lake Forest College football game: the first two-a-day practice schedule. The first practice took place at Halas on Farwell field like most practices, but the second practice started out with a field trip. The players loaded up in busses and got a chance to practice on historic Constitution Field at Great Lakes Naval Base ( Great Lakes Naval Station is the ONLY Boot Camp for the US Navy. Over 250 trainees attended the night time practice to watch the Foresters. The Foresters had a high contact practice, with a number of situational scrimmages.

A group of trainees who are part of the Special Warriors training program at Great Lakes has a special interest in the process. LFC assistant Coach Mark Dodd, is their drill instructor for their training. Coach Dodd who has served in the military for over 20 years, assists the Foresters with the offensive line. All of the Foresters had to take notice as two minutes into the practice a “Hoo ah Chief Dodd” echoed through the entire Great Lakes Campus.

When asked why he wanted to practice at Great Lakes, Coach Catanzaro replied, “First and foremost, we appreciate the service and sacrifice, that the soldiers perform. We wanted to provide them a break from training, and hopefully some entertainment. There were two individuals who came up to me, one who was a receiver at a conference school (Illinois College) and another who was a tight end at Towson, and I think both of them would have loved to put the pads on again. The second, aspect that I really liked is that it gave us a “different feel” to practice. A night practice is something that we never get to do at home, so it was a great change of pace. Having a good size crowd at a practice is not something that our guys aren’t used to, and I know they were excited to have people yelling and screaming for them. It was a great environment, and I hope to be able to do that again next year.”

Regarding the scrimmage, Coach Cat commented,"The offense really got after the defense in the goal line scrimmage. I was REALLY impressed by the run game down inside the 5 yard line. The defense was able to respond during the full field scrimmage and did a tremendous job of taking away things from the offense. They played with more urgency during that period, and it was exciting to see them rebound in the same practice after a below average goal line scrimmage. I couldn't be more please with our teams effort."

Great Lakes Naval Station has an incredible historic tradition surrounding football. During the first half of the 1950’s, the “Bluejackets” were considered to be on par with the great Army, Navy, and other intercollegiate teams. In 1918, the Bluejackets won the 5th Rose Bowl. On that team was an individual who would later have a strong relationship with Lake Forest College. The starting Wide Receiver/Defensive Back was George “Papa Bear” Halas. The building that “bears” his name on campus, is the home of Forester Athletics, and the football teams locker room. Halas was named the MVP of the Rose bowl as he had a 32 yard touchdown, and returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown. Halas, and the Chicago Bears, built Halas Hall on campus in 1978. The Bears resided on campus until 1997.

During the World Wars, many college football players, either graduated, or left college early for military service. This lead to an influx of talented players and coaches to Great Lakes. Hall of Fame players like Halas, Johnny Lujack, and Otto Graham, who had been a superstar at Northwestern University before entering the Navy. Future Hall of Fame Coaches like Paul Brown, Weeb Ewbang, and Frank Leahy all roamed the sidelines at Naval Station Great Lakes, prior to roaming major college and NFL sidelines.

Because so many players went from college to military service, Great Lakes boasted players like George Halas, Johnny Lujack and Otto Graham, who starred at Northwestern before joining the Navy. The Great Lakes teams were coached by the likes of Paul Brown, Weeb Ewbank and Frank Leahy.

In 1943, the Bluejackets defeated the #1 ranked team in the nation, Notre Dame, and finished in the top 20 of ranked college teams.

Lake Forest College and Great Lakes Naval Academy played against each other many years ago. In the 1940’s the two teams played three games against each other. Lake Forest won two of the three games, but the third game, played December 2nd, 1948, was a 7-14 loss and sadly the final game the two teams ever played against one and other.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Community Service Day!

Monday August 15th was no ordinary day for Forester football players. As a part of fall camp each year players give back to society in a day of service. This year, players divided into three groups and set out to improve the community in different ways and learn about teamwork off the field. Tasks varied from moving boxes to painting classrooms, pulling weeds or even measuring thirteen foot snakes.

Elawa Farms (, a local community farm, welcomed fifteen Foresters. The group began by learning a little history about the farm and then they divided and conquered the tasks they were given. The first group took their shovels and began digging and trenching a portion of the garden. Another group weeded a section of the garden. Two seniors, Gilbert Munoz and Casey Flynn, got a chance to work inside the bobcat cage, pulling weeds and watching feeding time. Later, they also got the chance to lift a two hundred and twenty five pound alligator snapping turtle and proved that Foresters really go “Beyond Measure” while measuring a thirteen foot python.

The second group of Foresters spent their day at CROYA (, the local youth center that caters to middle school, high school, and college students. The players helped clean and set up the concert stage where local bands perform. Others touched up the paint in the CROYA center. The last group sang along to “Party in the USA” while washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen. Some of the guys even got to play plumbers and fixed a leaky pipe. The students got to be teachers at the end of the afternoon by teaching sophomore Rocky Al-Mutawa to play Bozo Buckets with the wash bins.

The final seventeen Forester football players pitched in at South School, a local North Chicago grade school. Players moved boxes, furniture, and AV equipment under the supervision of Coach Parker. The guys got to show off their artistic skills while painting hallways, and the office.

A fun time was had by all on Forest Football Service Day 2011. Each player walked away with a new skill or better sense of teamwork after a long hard day of volunteering. As a reward for their efforts, Coach Catanzaro, took the team off-campus for dinner at Bertucci's Italian Steakhouse in Highwood, IL. Bruce Bertucci, who has been a long time fan of the college and the football program, was a gracious host. The Foresters dined on multiple pasta dishes, chicken marsala, fresh steamed vegetables, salad, bread, and ice cream It was a great reward for a hard day of working in the community.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pictures of the conditioning test 2011 !!


Check in Day Pictures

Here are a few pictures of our check-in day. Thanks to one of our team dads, BJ Ungvarsky, for sharing some of these pictures.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

With the help of student video guru Andy Lambert, Coach Cat was able to present this video to the team at their kickoff meeting this evening. There are GREAT EXPECTATIONS for this team to perform in line with this years motto of : BEYOND MEASURE!




Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Camp Countdown

Q: Coach, who will step up to replace the voids cast by graduating two 30+ game starters in Anthony Garetto and in Tanner Compton at linebacker?

A: No one. Both Anthony and Tanner are different from any player in our current program. They had intangibles that were extremely unique. Whether it was Anthony's ability to motivate his teammates emotionally, or Tanner's ability to lead them from a toughness perspective. I think that there are some players on our team that can be leaders in those traits, but i don't know that it is prevalent in their current roles.
As far as the on-field ability and performance, there are a few players that have been waiting in the wings for the opportunity to claim their playing time. At outside linebacker, Jake Rotkvich has had an amazing off-season for the second year in a row. I am excited to see him on the field.

At the inside linebacker position, we return four players who have started games for us at that position. Junior Aidan Price, sophomore Jordan Cruz, and sophomore Michael Somma all saw action at inside linebacker. Michael's season was cut short due to injury, but the other two players are in the midst of what could become highly decorated careers. Sophomore Bryce Jones has started at inside linebacker, but has also seen time at outside linebacker and defensive end for us. He could be a very complimentary swing player who sees time at all three positions. Bryce has a very high football IQ and is going to be a force on the field somewhere.

I am looking for returning junior starter Joe Stella to provide a lot of leadership and direction to this group of players. Joe really started to embrace this position during the spring semester in our non-traditional season. I know that with guidance from Coach Little and Coach Kurz, these two position groups will provide us with great strength.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Camp Countdown

Q: Give us a couple of players that you are looking to step up from their previous roles this season?

A: Junior Justin Smith leads the list for us in this category. Justin will be replacing Steve Yena, who was a 40 game starter at tight end for us. Justin began to see his role expand as the season went on last year. Justin missed his freshman year with a season long injury, and really started to show some of his abilities last year as the season. He is a great blocker, and a big target in the passing game.

On the defensive side of the ball, our second safety position is one that is going to be a heated battle in fall camp. Junior Domnick Campagna, Senior Mike Nelson, and Junior Mike Dotson all bring something unique to the plate. Dom has great range as a deep safety, Nelly is a big hitter who is very aggressive, and Mike Dotson is probably the most cerebral of the three and knows our defense inside and out. All three have been hampered by various injuries thus far in their careers. I look forward to seeing them step up and compete for the starting spot alongside Luke Butts.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Countdown to Camp:

The third in a series of articles dedicated to the "questions" leading into Forester Football's 2011 season.

Q: What stands out about this years recruiting class?

A: First off, they are older than a traditional recruiting class. We have six transfers, and two players who had at least one year of post graduate play. This will help balance the youth of our team from last years big recruiting class. The second thing that stands out is this a BIG class in terms of size. We were able to bring in 10 offensive and defensive lineman. This was a huge need for us in order to develop size. Of those 10, 4 of them are transfers. Our average incoming lineman is 6'2 265lbs. This will help us a lot, as we look toward the future. We have three senior offensive lineman, and three senior defensive lineman. We needed to add some depth of experience to balance out the extremely talented second-year players that we have coming back at some of those spots.
I think the final thing that stood out about this class is their character. We have a number of individuals who are coming to Lake Forest for all the right reasons. They believe in the message that they are being told in recruiting, and when they come to campus, they find out that there is only truth in the message. They see that the players and coaches are all on the same page, and that they are getting exactly what is being discussed on the phone, or through emails. They see a tremendous opportunity at a great education, the possibility to continue their football playing career in an extremely competitive environment, and they will be a part of a football family, that truly cares about each member.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Replacing Record Holders

Q: The 2011 Senior Class graduated some talented players, including senior running back Brock Stenberg and quarterback Geoff Sobey, who both appear on the career charts in multiple categories. Who can we expect to replace them?

A: At the quarterback position, we saw a glimpse of what redshirt Junior Quarterback Pete Scaffidi could do in the last four games of the season last year. Against Knox, Pete ran for 100 yards, and threw for four touchdowns in that game. Against Lawrence, Pete ran for 47 yards and completed over 55% of his passes, and we won both of those games. We lost his other two starts, (Monmouth and St. Norbert), and Pete struggled a bit in those games. We will need Pete to be more consistent and trust his arm and legs equally. Pete will get pushed by Sophomore Mike Lewis who made strides this off-season, and has been working extremely hard this summer. Mike is a proven winner. His high school team went 27-1 during his high school career, winning the 2009 state championship, and finishing as the runner up in 2010. Junior Justin Novak struggled in his two starts in 2010, but will have a chance to redeem himself during training camp. Justin has been working tirelessly on some of his mechanics to put himself in a better position to compete this year.

At the running back position, Brock was a workhorse back for us. In addition to Brock, we lose our top backup Ty VanValkenburg to graduation as well. We do not have that type of back returning to us next year. However, we will have a number of talented running backs. Among the players expected to compete for the bulk of the carries are juniors Al Mitchell and Thomas Wilson, and sophomore Alec Howe. Al averaged 5 yards per carry in 2010, and performed very well given the opportunity. He had 11 carries for 78 yards against Monmouth. Alec saw some good reps last season against different opponents. He averaged 6 yards per carry on the season, and contributed a lot on special teams. Thomas struggled through an injury filled season, that included two surgeries. I look forward to him having a great camp and trying to force his way on to the field. Pound for pound, Thomas is one of the strongest and most explosive players that we have. Also looking to battle for carries in the backfield will be sophomore Ed Daniels. Freshman Wendell Carter and Raul Torres both bring impressive resume's to Lake Forest College. Carter, who was an all-state selection in Arizona, while Torres was one of the fastest high school athletes in the state of Massachusetts, finishing 3rd in the 100yd dash at the Western Massachusetts meet, and 11th at the end of the year state meet.

"I look forward for the competition at both of these positions, and I am confident the depth will make our team better," said Coach Catanzaro.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The start of the 2011 Forester football season is officially 9 days away. Over the course of the next 9 days, Coach Catanzaro will answer one of the most commonly asked questions on the blogsite.

Day #9
"What changes have taken place on the coaching staff since last season?"

First off, we have a new offensive coordinator, Coach Kerr has been serving as our quarterback coach since I became the head coach. I am extremely confident in his knowledge of our scheme and his ability to direct our offense. I know that our players are excited about the direction that he is taking the program.

We added Ted Soenksen '06 to be our offensive line coach. Coach Soenksen was previously at Briar Cliff University in Iowa. I was grateful that we were able to get coach in before Spring Ball so that he could work with our guys.

Mike Hansen is joining our staff to coach the corners. Coach Hansen was with us in the spring, and had done a great job to this point in his first collegiate coaching position. Coach Hansen is a graduate of the University of Washington. Coach Hansen replaced Derek Micke.

Also joining the defense staff is Dean Storkan, Dean is the father of alumnus Rick Storkan '10, and is going to be assisting Tommy Myers and Steve Little with the DE's and OLB's respectively.

The only other change this year was that after helping lead the tight ends last season, Coach Sean McNicholas will not be returning to the staff in order to spend more time working professionally at his executive search firm.

I am confident that we have one of the best coaching staffs in all of division III. How many schools can boast four former head coaches, over 10 years of NFL coaching experience, and over 125 years of college coaching experience.

I know that in addition to the coaching changes, our returning coaches have worked diligently to become better as position coaches, coordinators, and leaders. I am excited to have our coaching staff together again. I am looking forward to the 10th, as I know that all of our coaches are.