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