Friday, October 28, 2011

Coach's Show Cancelled!

The Forester Football Coach's Show is cancelled today, due to the teams travel to Galesburg for their game against Knox. Coach Cat sends his best, and hopes that next week we will be able to talk about a win streak during the Coach's Show.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pictures from the Benny Watters Cup

Pictures from the Benny Watters Memorial Cup can be found HERE

Foresters unload on Vikings!

The Foresters completed their road trips to Wisconsin on Saturday with a victory over Lawrence. The Foresters finished 2-0 on games played north of the border. This day saw the Foresters dominate in every facet of the game from start to finish.

The Foresters kicked off to start the game, and the defense recorded a quick 3 and out on a Vikings offense that had scored 62 points in a single game this season. After a LU punt, the Foresters went 8 plays and 87 yards, culminating on a 54 yard touchdown pass from junior Pete Scaffidi to senior Kevin Davis. The prolific duo would combine for five completions for 152 yards and 3 TD's on the day. The Foresters took the lead at the 8:54 mark of the first quarter and never looked back, on their way to a dominating and record setting performance.

The Foresters defense would show that they were ready for the challenge of the day, and record another 3 and out series where the Vikings would have negative ten yards on the drive. The Forester defense would finish the day recording six three and outs on the day, a season high. The Forester defense also held the Vikings to a 12% conversion rate on third downs (1-8).

Several Foresters had days they are not likely to forget anytime soon. Junior Pete Scaffidi continues his assault on the LFC single season and single game record books, as he tied his own record (5 TD passes in a game), and increased his season touchdown mark (now at 25). Scaffidi is now within 8 completions and 207 passing yards of topping those marks for the single season as well.

Teammate Kevin Davis, is nearing a number of his own records, as he needs 2 touchdown receptions and 56 yards to break the programs single season marks with three games remaining in the season. In addition, Davis, tied his own single game record of three touchdown receptions in the game.

Not to be outdone, freshman place kicker Donnie Caldwell tied a school record held by Pat Dunne '02 for extra points in a single game with 8. Ironically, Dunne, recorded his 8 extra points against Lawrence in 1999.

"It was a great win. I was thrilled to see our team play at a high level on both sides of the ball. I was disappointed that we gave up the two late touchdowns when the game was out of hand (56-24). I am excited that we did as much damage in the passing game on so few attempts. To average 12 and a half yards per attempt and 20.5 per completion is outstanding. Defensively, I was really excited about how we started the game. We came out with great determination and felt like we had something to prove," commented head football coach Jim Catanzaro after the game.

"The true stars of the game were the offensive line. Gil, Sal, Dan, Ari, and Tommy paved the way for something that I have never seen at Lake Forest, or anywhere else that I have coached. 610 total yards, 239 on the ground, and 0 sacks. That is truly an awesome display. I couldn't have been more proud of the way that those guys played. I know that with Ari, a first year football player, and Tommy (sophomore) that they really want to help the three seniors go out with some big time memories. I have no doubt that when these guys comeback for homecoming ten years from now, this will be one of the games at the top of their list."

"Our offense has kept us in every game, and our defense is starting to catch up. We have played seven games this year, and have had a different starting lineup on defense each week. Our guys up front did a tremendous job, despite being without two of our senior starters, who were hurt for the week. (Kenny Clady-Mason and Dylan Burke). We saw a great performance by Taylor (Holzmeyer) up front. Two sacks, a forced fumble, and a few more pressures, really created havoc on their backfield," said Catanzaro. "Guys have to step up when others get injured, and I saw a few guys definitely do that."

"The players did a great job executing the game plan on both sides of the ball, and Coach Kerr put together an offensive plan of attack that was as perfect as they get. I know when we watch film, we'll hope that there are some areas to improve upon, because as coaches we are never satisfied, but I can tell you, watching that game today from the sideline, I was as satisfied in the moment as I have been in a long time," finished Catanzaro.

Coaches Players of the Game:
Offense: Kevin Davis 5 catches, 152 yards, 30ypc avg, 3 TD (ties school record)

Defense: Luke Butts 12 tackles (10 solo), 1 Pass break up, and 2 TFL's

Special Teams: Donnie Caldwell- 8 Extra points (ties school record)

Lineman: Taylor Holzmeyer- 2 sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, and 2 pressures.

Scout Team: Clint Stibbard- LB

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Foresters can't close out conference leaders.

The Foresters provided their fans with one of the most entertaining games of the season on Saturday. From the pre-kickoff stare down, to the the final play of the game, there was no doubt that the Foresters were going to fight the entire game through against the conference leading Scots from Monmouth.

Through the first three quarters, the Foresters benefited from some timely defensive plays and a potent offense that continues to be near the top of the league in most statistical categories. With seven minutes to go in the third quarter, the Foresters lead 28-19, when Jordan Cruz picked off All-American quarterback Alex Tanney and returned the ball to the 46 yard line.

"This was a critical point for us. This could have given us an opportunity to go up 16-17 points. We know that their offense is potent, and to put pressure on them would have been great. We had proven that we could put together long drives, just like our first one (seven minutes long), and we felt that we could do that again if necessary in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, we weren't able to put the ball in the end zone," commented Coach Catanzaro.

The Foresters would punt, and the Scots would go 80 yards on 9 plays to cut the Forester lead to 2 points. On the subsequent kickoff, the Foresters would fumble the return, and the Scots would capitalize on the mistake taking their first lead of the day at 32-28 over the Foresters. The teams would score a combined 46 points in the fourth quarter. The Foresters unfortunately would come up a touchdown short against the Scots falling 53-47.

"I couldn't be more proud of our guys. They refused to be intimidated, and fought from the opening kickoff to the end of the game. Some of our playmakers really stepped up and made big plays," said Catanzaro. "Guys like KD, Pete, and Al Mitchell really stepped up to the challenge that we put on them at the beginning of the week. When you look at what those three individuals did today, you can't help but be excited about what the future of our program looks like."

The three players that Catanzaro mentioned accounted for 145 rushing yards, 237 yards receiving, and 389 yards passing. Both Mitchell and Scaffidi threw for a touchdown, while Davis and Scaffidi both rushed for touchdowns. Mitchell and Davis both caught touchdowns from Scaffidi as well. Junior Rocky Al-Mutawa recorded 3 catches for two touchdowns on the day, while sophomore tight end Justin Smith had the best day of his young career with 7 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.

The Forester defense was paced by John Dillon and Jordan Cruz. Dillon had 10 tackles on the day, while Cruz had five tackles, a sack, a tackle for a loss, and an interception. Sophomore cornerback Darrius McKay added his third interception of the year in the first half as well.

"If you were to tell me before the game that we would score 47 points, and force three take-aways against any opponent, I'd believe that we would win 99.9% of those games. Unfortunately, we ran into the top team in our conference and they were able to overcome those two things and still find a way to win. As I told our players, the thing that will take us to the next step is finding ways to win the game in the end. I feel like this season has had so many near misses, that we are bound to get over the hump soon," said Catanzaro. Near misses is the perfect description for the Foresters W-L record to this point. Their record sits at 1-5, the Foresters have been within 5 points of winning the game in the fourth quarter in each game except for the Grinnell game.

The Foresters return to action in Appleton, Wisconsin to take on Lawrence University on Saturday, October 22nd at 1pm.

Players of the Game:
Offense: Pete Scaffidi 36*-48 360yds 4TD's, rushing: 17car 63 yds 1Td
Defense: Jordan Cruz
Special Teams: Tanner Daugherty 3 tackles and averaged 36.2 yards per punt.
Scout Team: Jr. Justin Novak
Lineman: Gil Munoz

*School Record

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Foresters collect first MWC victory on the road at Beloit!

It was the first victory of Coach Jim Catanzaro's young head coaching career in the state of Wisconsin, but more importantly, it was the Foresters first MWC victory of the 2011 campaign.

The Foresters came out of the locker room performing at a very high level. The defense, which had gone through a rough couple of games pitched only its second shut out quarter of the '11 season in the first quarter. The Foresters gained some significant momentum in the first quarter as they forced a fumble on Beloit's second possession. The Forester offense turned that takeaway into seven points four plays later on a three yard pass from Pete Scaffidi to Kevin Davis. It was the fifth time that the two South Elgin High School alums have connected for a touchdown pass in give games.

Beloit would attempt to answer the Forester score, but a missed field goal would provide the Foresters a chance to extend their lead. On the fifth play of the drive, Scaffidi would again find Davis for a 61 yard touchdown. The touchdown gave the Foresters their first double digit lead of the season.

"It was awesome. We had talked about extending a lead the last two weeks, and to finally accomplish it, I think was a great feeling for everyone on the team. We had explained to the players the advantages and the two score lead, and what it would allow us to do as coaches. I know that they were really trying to make that happen. After we got that second touchdown, there was a portion of our playbook defensively that had been dormant for a while that we could now tap into. Our defensive guys were excited," said Coach Catanzaro.

The Bucs would take their next possession 49 yards, before a big third down stop by the Foresters. Beloit would convert the 26 yard field goal. The Foresters next drive would be their only 3 and out possession of the day. After a Tanner Daugherty punt that pinned Beloit inside their 20 yard line, junior safety Aidan Price, who was making his first scheduled start for the Foresters recorded his first career interception. Price would return it the interception to the 14 yard line. The first play from scrimmage was 14 yard touchdown pass to junior Austin Sobey to give the Foresters a 20-3 lead.

The Foresters went into halftime, with words of caution from their head coach. "No lead is safe, and we must FINISH the game," said Catanzaro. "I didn't want the players to think that a lead at halftime would equal a victory."

Beloit would score on their first possession of the second half a 9 play 58 yard drive the took almost 5 minutes off the clock.

"I was glad that our guys made Beloit work hard on that drive. I was disappointed in how they scored (31 yard touchdown pass) on 3rd and 12. We were in a pretty good coverage position, we just failed to make the play, and it allowed a very talented player (BC's Derek Carrier) to get into the end zone," commented Catanzaro.

The Forester offense took the field and responded. The Foresters marched 60 yards on 9 plays including a 4th and 1 conversion on their own five yard line, before junior Al Mitchell walked into the end zone on a 1 yard touchdown carry.

Beloit's next possession would last for 13 plays and 6 minutes and 40 seconds, but would only cover 41 yards. The Foresters would record a stop on 4th and goal from the 19 yard line, after a holding call had backed up the Buccaneers.

The Foresters lead 27-10 at this point, and were interested in clicking off as much time from the clock as possible. The first play of the drive ended the third quarter, and the Foresters started the fourth quarter with one goal in mind. "We wanted to run the ball, play after play, and keep the clock running. We had a conversation as coaches that we wanted to shorten the game. Since there had only been three total possessions in the third quarter, we wanted to replicate that in our favor during the fourth quarter," commented Catanzaro.

The players took the coaches "orders" and executed to perfection. Their possession resulted in a 13 play 51 yard drive that churned six minutes and thirty-six seconds off of the clock. The Foresters did not score any points, but they kept the football away from the Beloit offense. Unfortunately, during this time, the Buccaneers had come up with a "big-play" idea for the Forester defense and on the fifth play of the drive, the Bucs again found Carrier for a 57 yard touchdown that saw him split two defenders on his way to the end zone.

"Derek showed why he is an NFL prospect. There aren't a lot of guys that are his size with that type of speed. I was thoroughly impressed with the way that he played, and am glad that this is the last time that we have to see him on the opposing sideline," said Catanzaro.

The Forester offense took over the next possession still with a 10 point lead. The Foresters would put together a drive that was almost identical to their last drive. 13 plays, 51 yards and an incredible six minutes and forty-nine seconds burned off the clock. The drive included a "controversial" decision by Coach Catanzaro to "go for it" on 4th and 1 from their own 36 yard line.
"It was a really easy decision for me. I know that we could get one yard if we executed it properly. We have had good success in those situations, and I wanted to maintain possession of the football. Our offensive line had been doing a great job, so we called the time out after the play clock wound down, and we made sure that we were all on the same page. But you'd better believe, after the game, even my wife asked me what I was thinking. The privilege of being the head coach, is that no one knows my team better than I do. I'd go for it again even if we didn't convert it there. I had the confidence in our offense to get it, and in our defense to get a stop if we didn't," said an emphatic Catanzaro.

Despite moving the ball, the Foresters did not score as two attempts to the endzone on third and fourth down inside the 16 yard line fell incomplete.

Beloit would have its final drive of the day ended on an interception by senior captain Luke Butts. It was Butts' fourth interception in four games against the Buccaneers.

The Foresters were paced on offense by Davis who had 5 catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns, while junior running back Al Mitchell would top the 100 yard mark for the second time in three games at 107 yards on 24 carries. Defensively Butts added 10 tackles to his interception and Aidan Price added 7 to his interception. Senior defensive lineman Kenny Clady-Mason caused a fumble that was recovered by Sophomore LB Bryce Jones.

The Foresters return to action on Saturday, October 15th against Monmouth College.

Players of the Week:
Offensively: Kevin Davis
Defensively: Aidan Price
Special Teams: Donnie Caldwell averaged 55 ypk on kickoffs.
Scout Team: Mike Somma
Lineman of the Week: Will Savor- graded out at 82% and recorded 2 pancakes coming off the bench.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Entertaining and exciting homecoming game, sees Foresters defeated.

In an effort worth of a homecoming performance, the Forester fell just short in their comeback efforts. The Foresters were able to claw within 3 points on the first play of the fourth quarter and again within 4 points with seven minutes remaining in the game.

Junior Quarterback Pete Scaffidi would become the first Forester ever to throw for over 300 yards in three consecutive games as he finished with 345 yards. Senior Kevin Davis would top 150 receiving yards for the second time in two weeks, besting his career single game high by one yard with 158 yards. Senior Luke Butts would record his first interception of the year, moving him up to 7th all time for interceptions for the Foresters.

Early in the game, the Foresters were their own worst enemy. After each teams first possession, the Foresters held a 7-3 lead over the Pioneers. On Carroll's second possession of the game, they held Carroll to a 3 and out series and forced Carroll to punt. The punt landed out of the endzone and the Foresters. The Foresters would also have a 3 and out, but the punt snap went awry and the Foresters were tackled on their own 11 yard line. The Foresters defense held tough on the first three plays, but the Pioneers attempt on 4th and goal from the 2 yard line was successful.

The Foresters next drive would end on a Pete Scaffidi interception. It was only Scaffidi's third interception on the season. Carroll would take possession of the ball and score to extend their lead to 17-7. The drive was aided by a 15 yard personal foul call against the Foresters.

Lake Forest would receive the kickoff and go 72 yards on 11 plays. The scoring play was a 4th & 11 pass from Pete Scaffidi to Kevin Davis that went for a 24 yard touchdown pass. The extra point from Donnie Caldwell would make the score 17-14 in favor of the Pioneers.

Carroll would return the following kickoff to the 42 yard line. They would pick up a first down on a screen pass to their running back. On the next play, the Foresters would intercept Carroll's pass on the seven yard line on a spectacular over the shoulder catch by sophomore defensive back Darrius McKay. The interception was McKay's second of the season.

The Foresters would pick up two first downs before and illegal block would negate an Al Mitchell 3 yard run, and send them back to the 18 yard line. On the subsequent 4th down, the Foresters would have their second miscue on special teams as a Carroll defender partially blocked the Tanner Daugherty punt.

"We had a chance to really build some momentum in the first half. I hate to use "coach talk" but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. We had two opportunities to take the lead, or at least chance the field position in our favor, and both times, we gave the ball back to Carroll in better field position than they had left the field with on their previous series," commented Coach Catanzaro.

Carroll would take over, but it was the Forester defense that stepped up and held the Pioneers to a single first down. After gaining a first down, the Carroll QB would get to know sophomore defensive lineman Taylor Holzmeyer who sacked him for a 10 yard loss. The Forester defense would give up no more yards on this drive and force Carroll to punt. The Carroll punt went out of bounds, and the Foresters took over on their 20 yard line. After an incomplete pass and a false start penalty the Foresters were faced with a 2nd and 15 from their 15 yard line. Scaffidi would be intercepted for the second time in the contest by the Carroll defender Neal Layng. Layng would return the interception to the Lake Forest 12 yard line. On second down, the Pioneers were able to extend their lead to 24-14.

"That was a very frustrating sequence. I expected the defense to go out there and get a stop the way that they had been playing to that point, and hold for a field goal attempt. Too have two of their three touchdowns cover 12 and 11 yards total was frustrating. We knew that we could give them extra chances in the short field like that. They were second in the conference last year, and are a top three or four team in the MWC most seasons. You can't turn the ball over, or make special teams errors. They will capitalize on those situations," explained Catanzaro.

The Foresters next possession was showing great promise as they crossed midfield with ease and looked on pace to answer the Carroll score. On 2nd and 4 on the 41 yard line, Scaffidi completed a crossing route to Davis who took the ball to the 27 yard line before being hit awkwardly, and fumbling the football. Layng picked up his second turnover of the day and began a footrace through the Forester offensive lineman and appeared on his way for a touchdown, had it not been for junior wide receiver Rocky Al-Mutawa who caught Layng from behind on the 10 yard line.

"Rocky's hustle play turned out to be one of the most important plays of the game. It gave our defense a chance to go on the field at try to get a stop. The fumble really hurt us. The way we were moving the ball, it looked like we were going to cut the lead into a one score lead, and you could feel the energy get zapped from our sideline," said Catanzaro.

The Forester defense would be aided by a personal foul on second down and three consecutive incomplete passes by Carroll, before the 42 yard field goal attempt would push wide of the uprights.

"We felt that we dodged a bullet at the end of the half. I felt like our defense really responded, and had picked up a few big stops, and were playing really well when we had some space to work with. But we had also gotten two stops inside the red-zone. Despite the points, I thought we were doing a fairly good job on defense. I thought that if our offense just held onto the ball, that they could score a lot of points in the second half," said Catanzaro.

The Carroll offense, was averaging 195 yards rushing the ball per game, but were limited to 9 carries for 14 yards in the first half of play.

The second half started with the Foresters receiving the opening kickoff. The drive would march deep into Pioneer territory, before a 4th down completion to Austin Sobey would be marked 4 inches short of a first down. The Forester defense would come out and play a great series, which included Holzmeyer's second sack of the day on third down, thus forcing Carroll to punt again. The Foresters would march down the field, before the drive would stall on the 8 yard line. Freshman Donnie Caldwell would attempt a 27 yard field goal that would sail wide left.

The Forester defense would gain another stop of the Carroll offense, as Luke Butts would intercept the third down pass by Carroll on the 36 yard line. The Forester offense would take 10 plays, but on the first play of the fourth quarter would score on a Pete Scaffidi quarterback sneak, cutting the Carroll lead to 24-21.

"It was great to see the defensive takeaway leading to a touchdown. That is something that we had talked about all week in practice that we needed to make a big stop, or get a takeaway and then score. Pete told us that he could get us in there, even if we had to run the sneak four times in a row. I think that we were ready to do that at that point," said Catanzaro.

On Carroll's next possession, they would bounce a running play off a Forester tackle for 33 yards before junior Aidan Price would make the tackle. Price who was starting at safety for the first time in his career finished the day with five tackles and a forced fumble on the day. The Forester defense would gain one more big stop on the 14 yard line as Nick Waters broke up the Carroll 4th down pass attempt.

Unfortunately for the Foresters, they would commit another turnover on their first play after the 4th down stop. Junior Al Mitchell would take the handoff, but as he was tackled a Carroll defender was able to rip the ball away from Mitchell. Carroll would gain control of the bouncing ball, and take over with a fresh set of downs on the 18 yard line. Two plays later they would score to extend their lead to 10 points.

After a 41 yard kickoff return by McKay, Scaffidi would target junior Austin Sobey on the 1st play from scrimmage for a 37 yard touchdown.

"It was a great route conversion, and read by both players. After the "kick in the gut" of fumbling after the stop to get that score so quickly really helped out sideline and fans," said Catanzaro.

The following kickoff would drift out of bounds, giving the Pioneers a 1st and 10 on the 40 yard line. Carroll would march 60 yards on 8 plays over the course of 4 minutes in order to re-extend their lead to 10.

The offensive explosions were not complete by any stretch. Carroll would send their kickoff out of bounds, and the Foresters would look to capitalize with the short field. On their third play from scrimmage, they did just that as Scaffidi connected with Davis for a 46 yard touchdown. It was the second time the two South Elgin High School graduates had connected for a touchdown.

With seven minutes to go in the game, Carroll would hold a four point lead as the extra point attempt would be missed.

On the third play of Carroll's next drive, all-conference running back Joe Beckstrand would cutback a running play and go 39 yards for a touchdown, to get an 11 point lead for the Pioneers. The Foresters could not answer on their next drive, and Carroll was able to run out the clock on the Foresters homecoming.

"I think that every member of our team wanted that win more than anyone else. I know that we are all going to look at film tomorrow and be frustrated with our inability to capitalize on the opportunities that were there for the taking. We made some critical mistakes in special teams and in ball security early, and then defensively we had some lapses late in the game. Momentum is a funny thing, and we need to do a better job of riding that wave on the positive side of that. I am looking forward to getting back on the field to work towards that. We are a team that is much better than our record, but we have to figure out how to finish the game, once we accomplish that task, it will be the start of something really special," finished Catanzaro.

Players of the Week
Offense: Austin Sobey 9 catches 124 yards and 1 touchdown

Defense: Taylor Holzmeyer 2 sacks, 3 tackles, 1 pressure, 1 pass breakup

Special Teams: Darrius McKay 4 Returns 157 yards on kickoffs

Scout Team: Freshman Jared Herter

Lineman of the Week: Tom Mitchell