"I'm not happy. I don't care about 'morale victories.' We need to win games like that in order to take the next step as a program," stated Coach Catanzaro after the game on Saturday.
The Foresters had put themselves in position to do something that they had not done since Nov. 15th, 2004, beat Ripon College. After a tough, physical, and full game that pitted two opposite teams against each other, the Foresters came up just short against the Redhawks.
The Foresters scored with 2:51 to play in the game as Austin Sobey caught his second touchdown of the day from Pete Scaffidi. This cut the Redhawk lead to 29-24. The Foresters attempted an onside kick, but failed to recover the bouncing ball. The Forester defense did something that they had struggled with all day long, they stopped the Redhawks on third down. The Foresters called a timeout, to stop the clock, and give them a chance for a fourth down stop. Instead of punting, which would have likely pinned the Foresters inside their own twenty yard line, Ripon attempted a screen pass. The Foresters were all over the play.
"They have beat us for a touchdown on that screen pass four times in the last three years. We knew it was coming, we just didn't know when. When we got to the end of the game, and they hadn't run it, it felt like it was there. Our defense did a great job seeing it, playing it, and making it impossible for the quarterback to throw it."
The emotional 4th down stop by the Foresters seemed to be fueled by the energetic Forester fans.
"In my six years at Lake Forest, I have NEVER heard a crowd like that throughout the whole game. The student section was on their feet, yelling and screaming. It was an awesome energy. I hope that they continue to come out and support us like that. They even had me as a coach feeding off of their energy," said Catanzaro.
The Forester offense took the field with 1:47 left in the game, on the 34 yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Scaffidi dropped back to pass, and looked towards his favorite target of the day Sobey. As Scaffidi's arm moved forward, he was hit on the elbow by a Ripon defender. The ball sailed, and was intercepted by a Ripon defensive back.
"Pete made a great read, Austin was open, and if his elbow doesn't get hit, the pass is completed," said Catanzaro. "I had zero doubt that we were marching down to score. You could just see it in the eyes of our players."
"I was proud of the way our team fought. There were times that they could have given up, but that's not who comes out of an LFC locker room. The guys who watch film, eat, and change in Halas Hall, come to play for the whole game. That is a mentality that we have been ingraining in our players since I became head coach. I think you really saw it today. The second thing that I was really proud of was that nobody wanted a pat on the back. We were all angry that we let that one get away. We know the mistakes that we have to clean up, and we will work hard on those all week in practice," continued Catanzaro.
The Foresters were paced offensively on the ground by Jr. Al Mitchell, who ran for 76 yards on 15 carries. Scaffidi finished the day completing 74% of his passes on 20 of 27 passing for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also ran for 35 yards. Sobey recorded 6 catches for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns. Senior Kevin Davis had 4 catches for 95 yards.
Defensively, Lake Forest was paced by Michael Garetto-Balmer and Jordan Cruz who each recorded 10 tackles on the day. Sophomore CB Darius McKay recorded an interception to thwart a Ripon drive.
The Foresters fall to 0-1 in MWC play for the 2011 season, and return to Farwell Field for another home game against Illinois College. The Blueboys defeated Carroll University 34-27 behind a stellar day from Freshman QB Michael Bates who threw for 374 yards against the Pioneers.
Offensive Player of the Week: Austin Sobey, Jr.
Defensive Player of the Week: Jake Rotkvich, Jr.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Dominick Campagna (3-3 on XPT, 1-1 on FG's) Jr.
Scout Team Player of the Week: Ed Daniels, So.