Monday, September 5, 2011

Lightning Strikes!!!

The Foresters first game of the season was one that started with a BANG, and ended due to one. LFC traveled to Concordia University to renew the second game of their four game non-conference agreement to start the 2011 season. At kickoff, it was 90*, sunny, and humid, causing Coach Catanzaro to comment,"I hope we brought enough Gatorade, I'm sweating just standing here."

The Foresters won the toss, and chose to defer. Concordia received the opening kickoff, and the game was underway. The Cougars started out strong, using a quarterback run play to escape a backed up starting field position. Though the Cougars would gain 45 yards on their first drive, the Forester defense held strong and forced a punt. The ball was kicked through the end zone, and the Foresters received the ball on the 20 yard line.

Junior Al Mitchell received the call on the first play of the game. Mitchell used his "lightning" fast speed to turn the right corner and sprint up the sideline for an 80 yard touchdown. The Forester sideline erupted with enthusiasm as the junior started the season off on the right foot for the Foresters.

"Wow. All I could say was wow. I have seen Al run away from our defense, but his burst put him at a whole other level compared to the defense," mentioned Catanzaro.

On Concordia's next possession started with a 40 yard pass play. "We blew the coverage. We didn't get over the top of the route, and they took advantage of us." Concordia would go on to finish the drive and tie the game at 7.

The Foresters next offensive possession would be a three and out. The next CU possession was a 10 play scoring drive that was aided by a 3rd down "defensive holding" call on the Foresters away from the play. CUC would miss the extra point. This would be a critical component of the rest of the day.

Sophomore Darius McKay would take the following kickoff 32 yards to give the Foresters an advantageous starting field position. Mitchell would take the first two plays 33 yards to bring the LFC closer to the goal line. An Alec Howe rush for 6 yards, that included a bone crushing block by Jr. Tight End Justin Smith, put the Foresters inside the red zone. On the very next play, Jr. Pete Scaffidi would connect with classmate Rocky Al-Mutawa for a 19yd touchdown pass. The Foresters would go up 14-13 on the extra point.

The next Cougar drive would stall with a missed field goal inside their 20 yard line. With new NCAA rules in place, the ball was placed at the 20 yard line for the Foresters. As soon as the ball was snapped, QB Pete Scaffidi threw the ball to high school teammate, Kevin Davis, on a "quick strike." Davis would go 80 yards, untouched to extend the Forester lead to eight points after Domnick Campagna connected on his third extra point of the day.

The Cougars would get a momentum shift as freshman kick returner James Washington returned the kickoff 67 yards to the Forester 25 yard line. Three plays later the Cougars would score. A 2pt play attempt by Concordia would fail, giving the Foresters a two point lead 21-19.

The Foresters would be forced to punt on their next possession. The Forester defense looked to have Concordia in a tough position as they were faced with a 1st down and 25 yards, after an illegal block penalty. A pass interference penalty on the next play however, put the pressure back on the Foresters. Concordia would convert on 3rd and 3 to record their fourth touchdown of the day. They missed the extra point after this touchdown as well, gaining a lead of 26-21.

Freshman Joey Kropp would receive the next kickoff from Concordia, and provide an "electric" 78 yard retun to the Concordia 15 yard line.

"I couldn't believe that in the first 23 minutes of the game, we had three plays over 75 yards. That's incredible, I have never seen anything like that before," said Catanzaro.

On 2nd and 12, Scaffidi would throw his third touchdown of the day to Jr. Austin Sobey. Scaffidi to that point was 3 of 6 for 116 yards and 3 touchdowns. "He was on his way to a special day." Campagna connected on the extra point to give the Foresters a 28-26 lead. The Foresters 28 points required only 14 offensive plays.

"We were not only efficient, we were explosive. I was thrilled to see the adjustments made by Coach Kerr (new offensive coordinator) take shape on the field. I know that our players were confident in the changes that were implemented," said Catanzaro.

On the third play of the next Concordia drive, the game was halted due to lightning in the area at 2:12pm. The teams would attempt to restart the game at 3:50pm, but would be foiled in their attempt as lightning would reappear. After the game, there was confusion about how things were ended, it was made clear through a conference call later on Saturday evening, that in fact the officials had decided to postpone the game, rather than conclude the game.

Both administrations are currently looking for future dates to try and finish the game with the two teams.

Catanzaro on the delay,"I have never been in a situation like this before. I thought our players and coaches handled the delay the best we could given the situation we were in. I am thankful that (Mike) Gilboe was there to protect our players safety and be our point person on those issues. Now that we have stepped away from the game, I have learned every rule that there is regarding lightning, delays, and the like. I think a few of us in the decision making process didn't know what all of the options were for that situation. I look forward to trying to finish this game. I thought our players were playingPublish Post hard and at a very high level, and I am excited to see them carry this into the conference season against Ripon next week."

The lightning would also delay other division III games, as well as nationally televised games at Michigan and Notre Dame.