Saturday, December 29, 2012


Mitchell and Coach Cat post game with the trophy. 
Senior RB AL Mitchell, and Head Coach Jim Catanzaro were part of a memorable moment on Saturday, December 15. As members of a Division III All-Star team, Mitchell and his teammates defeated the Mexican National Championship Team from Tec Monterrey 32-15. Coach "Cat" served as the defensive coordinator for the U.S. Team.

"The coolest part of the week was the post game locker room. The Mexican's had beaten the U.S. in our game, American Football, so there was a lot of motivation for the guys on the team. Afterwards, there was a desire to sing the fight song as many of us do after a game. Well, as a conglomerate, we came up with the National Anthem as our "fight song." It was one of the more incredible experiences I have had as a coach. The fight song was lead by one of our quarterbacks, who is a student at the US Merchant Marine Academy. He will enlist for service to our country after his graduation. It was a really cool moment, and there was no one that I would rather have had lead that song than Alex," said Coach Catanzaro.

"It was a great experience. The level of competition in both practice and in the game, was a step up from what I am used to. When you have All-American's at six or seven different positions, it is amazing how you raise your level of practice just to keep up," said Mitchell.
 (MITCHELL Center front row)

"One of the highlights for me was the community service event. We met some people who are much less fortunate than I am. I am glad that we could give back to the community a little while we were there," continued Mitchell.

On the Thursday before the game, the team went to a poor community in Guadalajara and donated time to a local youth organization cleaning up fields of play, painting a basketball court and play room, and giving a football clinic to the children.

"I am pleased that Al and I were able to have such a rewarding experience. I hope that his representation of Lake Forest opens up the door for more of our players in the future. He played a great game, and especially considering that he was asked to play out of position some, I thought he handled it with great poise and maturity," said Catanzaro.

The official game recap can be read here: GAME RECAP

Monday, November 26, 2012

Al Mitchell's Offensive Player of the Year Award Highlights Foresters' All-MWC Selections: Forester Athletics

Forester Football was well represented on the MWC end of the Year awards list this year.

Senior Al Mitchell was named the MWC's Offensive Player of the Year, Head Coach Jim Catanzaro was named the MWC Coach of the Year, and a total of 13 Foresters appeared on the All-Conference list, the most of any team in the conference.

Read the article by SID Mike Wajerski by clicking on the link below.

Al Mitchell's Offensive Player of the Year Award Highlights Foresters' All-MWC Selections: Forester Athletics

Friday, November 2, 2012


Forester Fan's Celebrate The Final Buzzer

The Lake Forest College Football team defeated visiting Ripon College on Saturday 17-7. This was the first time that the Foresters had defeated Ripon since 2004. With the victory, the Foresters have guaranteed themselves at least a share of the 2012 Midwest Conference Championship.

"That was a great win. We had to make plays in all three phases in order to win that game. There are some plays that will stand out to us when we watch film, but it was a total team effort. There were two plays that I felt were the ultimate momentum changes for us. The blocked field goal by Nick Waters and the fourth down stop on the first possession of the second half really made the game change. It forced Ripon to make very specific decisions in the fourth quarter because of what happened on those plays," said a beaming Head Football Coach Jim Catanzaro.

The first six minutes did not look positive for the Foresters. Despite marching 41 yards, the Foresters would turn the ball over on an interception at the five yard line. On the very next play, Ripon would run a counter play, and it would go 95-yards for a touchdown.

"When that first play busted, I was nervous that things were happening faster on the field than we had been able to practice all week. That is usually the case. Ripon's offense is so unique, that it is very difficult for our scout team to simulate it. In reality, the only reason that play goes for a touchdown is that two of our players were actually playing TOO FAST and had overscraped the counter action. For that to be the only points of the game is nothing short of amazing to me," commented Catanzaro.

The Foresters would immediately respond with an eight play drive that covered 61 yards and took 5:40 off the play clock. The drive culminated with a one yard run by Running Back Alec HoweThe defense would force an interception on Ripon's next possession as Senior Safety Dom Campagna deflected a pass that ended up in the hands of Cornerback Eddie Dobernig at the Foresters 3-yard line.

The Forester offense would capitalize on the take-away and march 97 yards on 14 plays, while taking nearly eight minutes to do so. Senior RB Al Mitchell would plunge in from 3 yards out. On the drive, the Foresters used six passing plays and eight rushing plays.

"That drive was a testament to our ability to implement both run and pass plays with equal effectiveness.The play calling and the execution of the players was outstanding. Coach Kerr called a great drive, and our players believed in each play that was signaled in," said Catanzaro.

The Forester defense would become more stingy as they would only allow 247 yards and 0 points the rest of the game. The seven points that the Foresters gave up were their lowest since week three when they gave up seven to Grinnell College.

The Foresters would tack on their first offensive possession of the second half, and the Redhawks would be unable to close the gap. The Forester offense recorded both a 100+ yard receiver and rusher, as Mitchell rushed for 111 yards on 16 carries, and Senior Austin Sobey caught seven balls for 105 yards.

"I am thrilled that we have clinched a share of the MWC title. Leading the league has been something on our radar since I took over as head coach. Now our goal is to go 1-0 next week when we play St. Norbert and keep the championship all to ourselves," said Coach Catanzaro.


OPOTW: SR. Wide Receiver, Austin Sobey (Mt. Prospect HS), Mount Prospect, IL. 7 rec. 105 yards. 5 of his 7 catches went for first downs.

DPOTW: SR. Defensive End, Jake Rotkvich (St. Laurence HS), Chicago, IL. 8 Tackles, 1 Sack.

LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: JR. Center, Tommy Mitchell (Marist High School), Chicago, IL. Graded out at 92%.

SPECIAL TEAMS POTW: FR. Kicker, Jon Gurchak (Grayslake Central), Grayslake, IL 2-2 Extra Points, 1-1 on FGs (33 yards), averaged 56 yards per kickoff, including one touch back.

SCOUT POTW: FR. Linebacker, Mike Letizia


Player Card #10 - Austin Van Meter

Monday, October 29, 2012



Scaffidi named Forester Athlete of the Week

See the article by clicking on the link below:

Pete Scaffidi, Football: Forester Athletics

Friday, October 26, 2012

Coach's Show: Lake Forest College vs Ripon College

This week we take on Ripon College at home. We will be celebrating our Forester parents, as well as the seniors on this year's team.This week will also be our "Play for a Cure" Initiative, you can make a donation to the Forester's Relay for Life efforts:  DONATE TO RELAY FOR LIFE

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Foresters Defeat the Rams 35-30 in another MWC Thriller!


"We don't do anything the easy way. We gave ourselves a lead, and made some critical mistakes that could have cost us the win. The last few weeks, we had been the ones coming from behind, it felt like we were almost uncomfortable with the lead .We have to embrace that position and make our selves more dominant. We haven't been there often, so it may just be a matter of getting experience in that position, and learning to play with the lead," said Head Football Coach Jim Catanzaro.

Catanzaro was referring to a 4th quarter that started with Lake Forest up 28-14. However, with 5:18 remaining in the game, the Rams scored to make it a one score game. The ensuing kickoff is where things began to get really interesting, as the Foresters lined up for an anticipated onside kick. The Rams decided to kick the ball deep to the single returner.

The Forester Defense Sacks
the Cornell QB. 
"Joey just got confused. He wasn't sure if he caught the ball in the endzone, or had backed up into the endzone after catching it. It is our fault as coaches, that he didn't know that it was irrelevant. His confusion lead him out of the endzone after pausing for a half second, but the coverage team was already down there, and they bounced him back into the end zone for a safety," said Catanzaro.

With the score now 28-23, and the Foresters kicking the ball off to the Rams, the Foresters elected to place kick, rather than punt, due to the strength of freshman Jon Gurchak's performance throughout the day. It was Valdivia searching for redemption who made the tackle on the kickoff.

"It was a heck of a hit. You knew that hit was delivered with some personal frustration," said Catanzaro.

The Forester defense which had been very solid during the first three quarters, despite having dropped four potential interceptions and having two others negated by pass interference penalties. Found themselves needing to make a big stand in front of the home crowd.

Alec Howe runs away from
the Ram defense. 
Cornell would have two incomplete passes, before junior linebacker Jordan Cruz would intercept the Ram pass and return it 11 yards to the 31 yard line with 4:47 left to go in the game.

"That play by Jordan was just huge. We had made a defensive alignment adjustment, and he stepped back into the throwing lane just as the ball left the quarterback's hand. It was a very head's up play by him, and he was smart to get the return to the sideline and out of bounds. That play was textbook," commented Catanzaro.

The Forester offense took over from that point and seven plays later would score their final touchdown of the day on a quarterback sneak by Pete Scaffidi, to take a 35-23 lead with 1:03 left to go.

The final Cornell drive was not without fireworks of many sorts. During a timeout, it appeared that something had incensed Coach Catanzaro, and his discussion with the officials was "heated" to put it mildly.

Senior QB Pete Scaffidi looks to pass.
Scaffidi would go over  5,000
 yards for his career on Saturday. 
"It was a player safety issue. They had missed something that occurred out in the open, and it was something that CAN'T be missed. The potential injury that could have happened, is one that I felt I needed to address. I don't usually argue calls, but when it is a player safety issue, that is something I have to stand up for," said Catanzaro.

The following three plays saw several flags, including a drive extending call on a third down, on the field before Cornell would add an additional touchdown with twenty-seconds left to go. To cut the Forester lead to 35-30. Freshman Pat Clark would recover the Cornell onside kick before the Foresters would take a knee to end the game.

The Forester defense was lead by safety Aidan Price who had 11 tackles and a fumble recovery, as well as a pass break up on the day. Defensive end Taylor Holzmeyer had two sacks on the day to lead the Foresters.

The beginning of the game was much different for the Foresters as they built an early 21-0 lead over the Rams. The Forester running game was having great success, but it was two big passing plays to seniors Rocky Al-Mutawa (37 yards) and Austin Sobey (63 yards) that sandwiched a Scaffidi sneak that paced the Forester offense. On the day, running back Al Mitchell would record 105 rushing yards on 15 carries, and an additional 18 yards on two pass receptions. Scaffidi would finish the day and efficient 9 of 15 for 207 yards and 2 TDs. The Foresters would finish +3 in the turnover battle as the offense recorded another "perfect game" in that category.

"I am thrilled that we won the game. That is our sole goal. From a coaching perspective, we have a lot left to work on. We escaped with that win, but we need to make sure that we have an opportunity to be relaxed at the end of the game. After watching the film, there is no doubt that we will need to have a great week of practice to have a chance of beating Ripon next week," commented Catanzaro.

Box Score
* Photo's compliments of Emily Vidas


OPOTW: SR. Quarterback, Pete Scaffidi (South Elgin HS, South Elgin, IL) 9 of 15 207yds, 2 TD's. 13 Carries 53 yards, 2 Rushing TD's.

DPOTW: JR. Cornerback, Eddie Dobernig (Eisenhower HS, New Berlin, WI) 2 Pass Breakups, solid game. Eddie had two interceptions negated by Pass interference calls.

Special Teams POTW: SO. Punt Returner/Holder Joey Kropp (Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Heights, IL) 25 yard punt return, fantastic holds on extra points.

Lineman of the Week: JR. DE, Michael Garetto-Balmer (Marist HS, Chicago, IL) on separate plays, he forced a fumble and recovered a fumble, as well as having six tackles, and a pass breakup.

Scout Team POTW: FR. DB, Wright Hagerty (Valley Christian Academy, Roseville, CA).

Highlights of the Foresters 35-30 Victory over Cornell College.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Foresters Featured in D3FOOTBALL.COM Around the Region Columnist Clyde Hughes, leads off his weekly Around the Region Column by taking a look at the Foresters season thus far. Please give a read to one of the best authors in Division III.

D3Football.Com Around the Region 10-17-2012

Foresters Knock off Defending MWC Champions Monmouth in Thrilling Fashion!

For the second time in as many weeks, a late 4th quarter touchdown leads the Foresters to victory. 

The Forester Football team continued their late game heroics on Saturday against Monmouth College, as they won 28-24 to spoil the Scots' homecoming. The Foresters took the final lead of the game with 2:25 left to go in the game on a 43 yard touchdown run by Freshman Joey Valdivia.

Valdivia, paced the Foresters with 136 yards on 15 carries, but it was his running style that most impressed Head Football Coach Jim Catanzaro. "Joey finished every run he had today. I think that he really got going after his kick off return. He got a little bit of ribbing from the players about being tackled by a kicker, and he made sure that nobody tackled him by themselves for the rest of the game. His final touchdown run was one of the best runs of the season," commented Catanzaro. 

Early in the first half, the Foresters found themselves in a danger of letting the game get away from them as the Fighting Scots started their first three drives of the game in Forester territory after the offense could only must six yards on the first 12 plays they had the ball. The Forester defense stood strong against the Scots, holding them to a field goal on their first drive, and forcing a fumble by Eddie Dobernig and an interception by Bryce Jones on the next two possessions.

"Sometimes being a good defense isn't about getting stops, but creating opportunities to get the ball back. The fumble that Eddie forced was a huge momentum play, as it came after they had a big gain. Additionally, Bryce's interception set up our first score and gave us our best starting field position of the day. To record two turnovers on two consecutive plays really got things headed in the right direction for us," said Catanzaro.
Singing the Forester Victory Song

The Foresters would score on the first play of the second half as Senior QB Pete Scaffidi completed a 24 yard pass to RB Al Mitchell. The Foresters 7-3 lead would hold up for 14 minutes until Monmouth would score a go ahead touchdown 27 seconds before the intermission. 

"I was disappointed that we gave up that touchdown. We had done a nice job defensively in the first half. They caught us in a blitz, and were able to rip off a big chunk of yardage on a 2nd and seven play near midfield that moved them close to scoring. I think that if we make the tackle for a two yard gain, it changes the entire drive," said Catanzaro. 

The Foresters went into the locker room down 10-7, but this is a position they have grown familiar with. "I'd like to say that we are "ok" with being down at the half, but we don't want to be. The one thing that is different is that we believe whole-heartedly that we are going to come out and win the second half. When I went into the locker room at half-time there were some adjustments that we had to make. We weren't doing some of the things that we had practiced all week. Additionally, Monmouth had revisited a couple of pages of their playbook that we hadn't seen on film a whole lot. They did a great job scheming us up, and they were able to make some big third down conversions. Throughout the season, we had been really stout on third downs, that was not the case against Monmouth. To their credit they were making plays on third down, and we were not. I am confident that our players knew that with these adjustments made, we would be able to come out on top," said Catanzaro. 

After the teams exchanged punts on their opening possessions of the game, Monmouth would increase their lead to 17-7, on an 8 play 65 yard drive that saw the Scots convert on a 3rd and 15 to keep the drive alive. The Foresters would answer right back with a 10 play 72 yard drive, that was capped off with a touchdown pass from Scaffidi to TE Justin Smith. The reception was Smith's third touchdown reception of the year. 
Justin Smith Catches a TD vs. Monmouth

With the lead cut to 17-14, the Foresters would record a three and out defensively, and give the offense the ball back on the -43 yard line to start the fourth quarter. The Foresters would methodically march 56 yards on 10 plays, before Scaffidi would run the quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line to give the Foresters a 21-17 lead with 9:31 left to go in the game. 

The defending conference champion Scots would not go away, as they would convert on third down and six to extend a drive that would be completed with a 22 yard quarterback scramble for a touchdown, by junior QB Brik Wedekind. 

"We did a great job getting pressure off the edge, but unfortunately, our interior push didn't match. When he was able to escape, we were in a coverage that isn't conducive to helping out guys up front if they lose their rush lane integrity. That is something that we have to fix in a big way moving forward," commented Catanzaro. 

Valdivia on his way to the end zone
for his game winning TD
The Foresters would receive the ball down 24-21, with just over five minutes to go in the game. The ensuing Monmouth kick would bounce out of the end zone, and the Foresters would take over after the touch back. The Foresters would need only six plays to go 80 yards before Valdivia would break free for his game winning 43 yard touchdown. 

The Scots would have plenty of time to try to reclaim the lead, but after converting on their first 3rd down of the drive. The Scots found themselves faced with a 4th and 7 play. As Wedekind dropped back to pass, he found himself immediately harassed by Bryce Jones. Jones, who was in a delayed blitz, would literally chase the Monmouth QB 57 yards backwards and across the field, before he through a game ending interception to Senior Safety Dominick Campagna
Campagna securing the
 game clinching INT

"There was NO WAY Bryce was going to be able to play the next play of the game, if there was one. He gave everything he had on that play. Dom did a great job of adjust to where the ball was in the air, and as soon as he caught it, he made sure he was on the ground so that we could maintain possession. It was a great way to win the game. I think that the best part of the end was that our players were happy, but they were filled with jubilation. They knew that they had just played a great game against a tremendous opponent, but they also felt like they hadn't played a very good game across the board. They have a higher expectation for themselves, and that is a cultural shift that we have been working towards as coaches and players, I was extremely pleased to see us dissatisfied despite winning the game. We accomplished our goal of going 1-0, but I we realized that there was still a lot left for us to work on," concluded Catanzaro. 

*Thank-you to Cindy Gurchak for the use of these photo's. 

Players of the Week: 

Offensive POTW: Freshman, Joey Valdivia, RB (Grayslake Central High School, Grayslake, IL). 15 Carries 136 yards 1 TD. 

Defensive POTW: Senior, Dominick Campagna, DB (Fenwick High School, Elmwood Park, IL). 7 Tackles, 1 INT, Graded out at 97%. 

Browning returning a punt
Special Teams POTW: Freshman, Clark Browning, DB (Champaign Central, Champagin, IL). 2 Punt returns for 20 yards. 

Scout Team POTW: Junior, Victor Gabuardi, DL (Archbishop Carroll, Miami, FL)

Lineman of the Week: Sophomore, Bob Pennell, OG (Spring Lake High School, Spring Lake MI) 21 of 25 grading on the day. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2012



"That was the greatest win, I have been a part of here, and I've been here over 50 years," said Assistant Coach Mike Dau said after the Foresters 35-28 victory over Illinois College in front of an energetic homecoming crowd on Saturday.

Sr. Austin Sobey makes a 1st Down Catch
In a game pitted the previously undefeated Blueboys, who possessed an offense that was ranked first in the entire NCAA in Total Offense (606 yards per game) and third in scoring offense (51.5 points per game) against the Midwest Conference's #1 defense in the Foresters. The game was full of excitement from start to finish, and both teams provided "highlight" reel type plays throughout the contest.

The Foresters employed the use of several "big plays" and a steady dose of a potent running game to possess the ball for over 36 minutes of the game.

"This was the most complete team victory that we have had since I joined the coaching staff. Our TEAM won the game today, and there is nothing I could be more proud of. We over came some self inflicted adversity, and found a way to win the game. We have continued to show that we get better as the game goes on, and that is a testament to the team leadership that our players demonstrate," said Coach Catanzaro.

The adversity that Catanzaro spoke of included four turnovers and several big returns against the Foresters special team units. A key to overcoming the gaffes on special teams an in ball security was the stingy Forester defense.

Foresters record another 3rd down stop!
"Our percentage on third down today was incredible. To hold an offense like Illinois College's to a 15% conversion rate speaks to the play-making ability of our defenders. We have preached the importance of winning the "money downs" since I came to LFC in 2007, but this year, we have been incredible at delivering," continued Catanzaro.

The Forester offense was paced on the ground by a dominating performance by the young offensive line. The Foresters rushed for 218 yards and three rushing touchdowns, while protecting Sr. Quarterback Pete Scaffidi with great efficiency on Saturday. The Blueboys came into the game with the highest sack per game total in the MWC, but were unable to get to Scaffidi on the day.

"I have never been as impressed with our offensive line as I was today. We may have had bigger numbers against some other opponents, but never against an opponent of this quality. I am excited when I think about the future of this offensive line. A lot of the credit for their development and performance goes to Coach Soenksen. He has worked diligently, with great passion, and with tremendous effort to make sure that each of those individuals gets better. The growth of the entire unit, is based off of their individuals efforts to develop," complimented Catanzaro.

At the team meeting on Monday, Catanzaro presented Coach Soenksen with a game ball in honor of the efforts of his position group.

"I know it is a bit symbolic, but I wanted the team to take note, and show their appreciation. The offensive line will never get the credit they deserve, but hopefully each of those individual players understand that they share in that award with Coach Soenksen. It's only the third game ball that has been presented here since I came to the College in 2006, but it was extremely well deserved," said Catanzaro.
Forester Alec Howe following the block
of fellow RB Al Mitchell

The game was still in question going into the fourth quarter as the Foresters trailed 28-21 at the beginning of the quarter. Freshman Joey Valdivia would tie the game up at the 12:27 mark of the fourth quarter on his third consecutive carry, as he capped off a 4 play 33 yard drive that was set up by Freshman Clark Browning's 17 yard punt return. The return was Browning's first career return.

"We decided to put two returners back there to make sure that we fielded the punt, and by doing so, we set ourselves up in a great position to score. Clark did a great job getting behind the blocks, and then Joey did a fantastic job pounding the rock and finding the end zone," said Catanzaro.

Illinois College would then put together a 10 play, 40 yard drive that ended when the Foresters broke up a 4th and 7 yard pass attempt from quarterback Michael Bates. The Forester offense would then march 72 yards on 14 plays, in a drive that took eight minutes and seventeen seconds to complete. The methodical Forester drive included five passes and nine runs. None of those passes was more important than the 4th and 11 one handed grab by Austin Sobey. (see video here)

"ARE YOU SERIOUS? That has got to be the best catch in college football this week. When I looked at it on the tight copy, I still am not sure how he came down with that ball. That catch provided us with an emotional boost that I have never seen on our sideline, in our stands, everywhere. Everyone really believed at that point, we were going to win the game. Not to be lost in the excitement of the catch is the drive gave them very little time to work with, it gave our defense and advantage," concluded Catanzaro. 

After the 4th down conversion, Al Mitchell would take the final offensive play in for a three yard rushing touchdown. Illinois College would get to the Foresters 44 yard line before a fourth down play would end up 1 yard short of conversion with 14 seconds remaining in the game.

"The best part of that final play is that all 11 players on our defense were in on it, and getting a hat on the tackle. They did everything they could to keep him from getting that extra yard," said Catanzaro.

With the victory, coupled with the Monmouth College loss, the Foresters moved into sole possession of first place in the Midwest Conference with four games left to play. The victory also marked the first time in school history that the Foresters sat at 5-0 in the MWC.
2012-13 Football Standings
Lake Forest5-05-1
St. Norbert4-14-2
Illinois Col.3-14-1

"This was a great victory, but the most important word in that statement is the "was," commented Catanzaro,"We have a distinct and big challenge this weekend when we play the defending conference champions. There are no easy games as we move forward, and we can not linger on the wins of last week. Whether we win, or lose, I have always preached to our guys that there is a 24 hour rule to get passed the excitement of the disappointment. Thus far we have had a lot of excitement, and now we have to begin preparing for the next challenge."


Offensive POTW: SR. Al Mitchell, RB, Pulaski HS, Milwaukee, WI. 23 Carries 119 yards, 2 TD's, 3 Catches 21 yards. 

Defensive POTW: JR. Jordan Cruz, LB, North Richland Hills, Birdville, TX. 12 Tackles, 2 TFL's. 

Special Teams POTW: JR. Tom Mitchell, Long Snapper, Marist High School, Chicago, IL.

Scout Team POTW: SO. Ian McKechnie, WR, Eisenhower, New Berlin, WI. 

Lineman of the Week: SR. Jake Rotkvich, DE, St. Laurence, Chicago, IL 4 Tackles, 1 Sack, 2 Batted Passes. 

** Photo's courtesy of Scott Sanford

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Coach's Show: LFC vs IC


  • Remember that for the tweet to count as a vote it, must include Jim Catanzaro, Lake Forest College, @lmcoachofyear, #COTY2012 , and 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


The Foresters improved to 4-0 in the Midwest Conference and currently sit alone at the top of the conference standings, a 1/2 game ahead of both Illinois College and Monmouth College, with their victory over Carroll University. 

In a physical football game that was dominated by the two teams defenses, the Foresters would have the first opportunity to score, but after failing to convert on a third down, they missed a field goal from the 20 yard line. The game would be a field position battle, highlighted by both teams punters who averaged over 38 yards per punt. The Pioneers would finally cap off an 11-play 74 yard drive with a field goal. The drive saw the Foresters record three consecutive stops, including a tackle for a loss, inside the 3 yard line. 

The Foresters would come out in the second half, and their adjustments seemed to be very productive.Quarterbacks Pete Scaffidi (South Elgin HS, South Elgin, IL)  and Mike Lewis (Canyon Del Oro High School, Tucson, AZ) each threw second half touchdown passes. It was Mike’s first collegiate touchdown pass. Lewis' pass was completed to Senior WR Austin Sobey (Mt. Prospect, Prospect, IL) who continues to climb the all-time record books for the Foresters as he moved into 5th all-time in receptions and 4th in all-time touchdown receptions. Senior WR Rocky Al-Mutawa returned from injury to record the game winning touchdown pass for the Foresters in the fourth quarter. Freshman WR David Rafter (Palm Desert HS, Bermuda Dunes, CA) recorded four catches in his first collegiate start for the Foresters.  The Forester running game was paced by Senior Al Mitchell (Pulaski HS, Milwaukee, WI) and Alec Howe (Spring Lake HS, Spring Lake, MI) who combined for 26 Carries for 86 yards. 

The victory on Saturdaywas clinched with an interception by Senior Safety Dominic Campagna (Fenwick Highs School, Chicago, IL) with 24 seconds to go in the game. Campagna’s interception was one of the FIVE turnovers forced by the defense, who received interceptions from Junior Cornerback Ed Dobernig (Eisenhower HS, New Berlin, WI) and Freshman Safety Pat Clark (Naperville Central, Naperville, IL)Junior Linebacker John Dillon (Basha High School, Glendale, AZ) recovered a fumble created by Junior CB Nick Waters (Centennial High School, Las Vegas, NV) while Junior Defensive End Taylor Holzmeyer (Hazelwood West HS, St. Louis, MO) forced and recovered a fumble while Junior LB Jordan Cruz(Birdville High School, North Richland Hills, TX ) held up the Pioneer QBSenior Defensive End Jake Rotkvich (St. Laurence High School, Chicago, IL), recorded 2.5 TFL’s and a sack.

"That was a great win. Our players should be proud of the way that they played. This was a tough environment on their homecoming. There were a lot of loud fans, but none were louder than the Forester fans at the end of the game. Our guys showed that they came ready to play the whole sixty minutes. There was never a time where they lost confidence. Carroll did a great job, they made plays and gave themselves a chance to have a fourth quarter lead, and a chance to win the game late. Our players, fortunately for us, were able to make more plays than they were, and we are getting out of here with a win. We haven't beaten Carroll in a while, so this was a great win, and one that we need to continue to build off of," said Coach Catanzaro.

The Foresters will return to action this upcoming Saturday as they entertain the Illinois College Blueboys (4-0, 3-0 MWC) in a game that pits the MWC's #1 defense vs. the #1 Offense. Game time is 1:30pm. 

"This game is huge. There is no doubt that we will be facing our biggest challenge to date. I am excited for that, its what we coach, and why our players play," commented Catanzaro.

Offensive POTW: SR. Rocky Al-Mutawa-WR (Pulaski HS, Milwaukee, WI) 2 Catches, 51 yards, 1 TD. 

Defensive POTW: JR. Eddie Dobernig- DB (Eisenhower HS, New Berlin, WI) 11 Tackles, 1 Int, 1 PD. 

Special Teams POTW: FR. Pat Clark- DB (Naperville Central HS, Naperville, IL) 1 Tackle, downed two punts inside the 5 yard line. 

Lineman of the Week: JR. Michael Garetto-Balmer- DE (Marist HS, Chicago, IL) 1 Tackle, 1 Batted Pass, 3 QB Hurries, 2 QB Knockdowns. 

Scout Team POTW: FR. David Hogan- DB (Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Heights, IL) 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Player Card #5 - Tom Mitchell

Dominating 2nd Half Propels Foresters To Victory!

"THAT WAS AWESOME!" exclaimed Coach Catanzaro as he met with the team after their decisive 34-13 victory over the visiting Prairie Fire.

In a tone that was much different than both the pre-game, and half-time talks with the team, Catanzaro was smiling and joking with his players after the game. 

"We were frustrated at half time, we felt like we had given them both touchdowns because of drive extending penalties. They came at us with everything they had in the playbook. Reverse passes, throwback screens, a surprise on-side kick, a fake punt, among others. To their credit, they did a lot of things to try and win the game. To our guys credit, they battled against everything they saw, and we came out and won the game in the second half," said Catanzaro."Our pregame talk was full of emotion, and I think that was a detriment to us early in the game as we were "too fired up" to stay focused on the task. At half-time, especially with the defense, I wanted a very calm focus. I wanted us to make sense of the mistakes we had seen to that point, and capitalize on our line play on both sides of the ball in the second half." 

The talk must have worked, as the Forester offense exploded into the game, and scored four touchdowns, including one on each of their first three drives. Meanwhile, the Forester defense shut out the Knox offense and limiting them to 128 yards after intermission. 

"I though Coach Kerr and the offense in the second half was outstanding. That's the second week in a row where we have really gotten going in the second half. This is a testament to the adjustments that they are making at half-time. For the players, our challenge to them is to start the game with the same type of execution.I thought that we were able to capitalize on some big plays, but more importantly, we were able to sustain long drives," said Catanzaro."Pete (Scaffidi) did a tremendous job managing the clock, and pace of our offense. He was outstanding in all facets of that. He has really matured in his game management, and I am looking forward to his continued growth and effectiveness." 

Austin Sobey move into fifth all-time in receiving TD's
During the course of the game, a few Forester milestones were passed as Senior WR Austin Sobey caught his 100th pass reception, and moved into sixth place on the all-time receptions list at Lake Forest, as well as sixth on the all-time receiving yards category. His touchdown reception ties him for fifth overall in school history. 

Quarterback Pete Scaffidi moved into fourth all-time in career passing yards with his performance. Senior running back Al Mitchell moved into fifth place for career rushing touchdowns with his first score of the day. 

Even with the strong senior offensive performances, it was a pair of freshman on the offensive side of the ball that truly caught Coach Catanzaro's eye. 

Senior Al Mitchell hurdling ahead for the Foresters
"Did you see how Joey (Valdivia) ran the ball? That was a fantastic to see. This was the most extensive look we had at him, and he ran with such conviction and power. He is a going to be a great running back here if he continues to run like that. The other guy that it was great to see was Mike Rantis. The burst he displayed after his first catch was outstanding. He caught a six yard route, and turned it into a 30 + yard gain. His one kick return was fantastic as well. He was one defender a way from a touchdown. I was really excited to see both of those guys going at full-speed and not thinking while they were out there. That has been the greatest improvement for each of them as they get more comfortable with our schemes their impact is only going to increase," commented Catanzaro. 

The Foresters travel to Waukesha, WI next Saturday to play against Carroll University, who were defeated in over-time by St. Norbert College this past weekend 28-21. 

"This game is always tough. We have had some great battles with the Pioneers during my time at Lake Forest. Our guys are going to have to go to the next level of execution and performance to defeat one of the top teams in the conference," previewed Catanzaro. 


Offense: Sr. AL MITCHELL, RB- Pulaski HS, Milwaukee, WI. 13 rushes for 75 yards, and 2 touchdowns, while also recording 6 catches for 56 yards and 1 touchdown. 

Defense: Jr. JOHN DILLON, LB- Basha HS, Phoenix, AZ. 7 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 quarterback knockdowns. 

Special Teams: So. JOEY KROPP, DB/RET- Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Heights, IL. 3 of 3 on Extra Point Holds, 2 Punt Returns for 26 yards. 

Lineman of the Week: So. BRYAN FELTMAN, OG- Marist HS, Chicago, IL. Graded out at 89%, and had several blocks beyond 15 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Scout Team: Fr. RYAN FLYNN, DL- Morristown HS, Morristown, NJ. 

Click on the link below to view highlights of the game on Saturday. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Coach's Show: Lake Forest College vs Knox

Make sure to check this list of what to bring and donate to the care packages for our brave men and women oversea:


To find out ideas for the care package donations for this weekends game, please click on the link below:

Thank you for your support of our players efforts!

Coach Cat

Monday, September 17, 2012

Foresters defeat Pioneers- Leave Iowa Tied for MWC Lead

Lake Forest traveled to Grinnell, Iowa, and came away with an impressive victory on Saturday, defeating the Pioneers 33-7.

In what was an early defensive struggle, the Forester defense took scoring into their own hands as they returned two interceptions for touchdowns against the Pioneers. With the Pioneers up 7-6 on the Foresters midway through the second quarter, Senior Captain Jake Rotkvich, intercepted a screen pass and returned it 70 yards to reclaim the lead for the Foresters at 12-7. After half time, the Foresters Nick Waters, would claim his first career interception and return it for a touchdown, the successful point after attempt would give the Foresters a 19-7 lead.

"Our defense did somethings that I am extremely proud of. Forcing seven turnovers (2 Interceptions, 5 Fumbles)  is an incredible feat. I am ecstatic with the way our guys went after the football," commented Head Coach Jim Catanzaro."There is no doubt that the two defensive scores provided a lot of emotional fuel, and our offense was inspired to go out and get their scores afterwards."

The Forester offense would tally two fourth quarter touchdowns to close out the scoring. Offensively, the Foresters received two receiving touchdowns from Junior TE Justin Smith.

"This was a big game for Justin. I believe he is one of the toughest match ups on our team. In practice our guys have a terrible time covering him because of his size. He possesses great hands, and is really starting to carve out a niche for himself in our offense," complimented Catanzaro.

The Foresters were paced on defense by Rotkvich who added two sacks to his interception on the day, and John Preston who lead the Foresters in tackles with 8 and recorded a forced fumble in the red zone to prevent a Grinnell scoring opportunity. Senior safety Aidan Price recovered three of the five forced fumbles on the day.

"Aidan epitomizes the benefits of running to the ball no matter what. He was "Johnny on the spot" a couple of times, and I am thrilled that his effort was rewarded on the field," said Catanzaro.

The Foresters held the Pioneers to their lowest point total on the season, while the Foresters achieved their highest point total.

"This was a much better trip to Iowa this year, than last year. I can guarantee you that, we are thrilled to be returning to Farwell Field this week. Home games are always exciting. The fact that we are honoring the 2002 MWC Championship Team, as well as having our annual Hero's Day make it truly special. I know this is a big game for our players. We want to get to 3-0 in conference," finished Catanzaro.

For the first time since 2005, the Foresters are 2-0 to start Midwest Conference play. The last time they started off 3-0 in conference was 2002, when the team won the Midwest Conference.

Players of the Week:

Offensive POTW: JR, Tight End, Justin Smith, Centerville, TX:  3 receptions 20 yards, 2 TD's.See Justin's two TD's on the video HERE:

Defensive POTW: JR, Cornerback, Nick Waters, Centennial High School, Las Vegas, NV: 3 PBU, 1 INT returned for a TD, and 1 Tackle. See Nick's INT for a TD HERE:

Lineman of the Week: SR, Defensive Lineman, Jake Rotkvich, St. Laurence, Chicago, IL: 3 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 1 INT for a 70 yard touchdown.See Jake's INT for a TD HERE:

Special Teams POTW: FR, Kicker, John Gurchak, Grayslake Central, Grayslake, IL: Gurchak averaged  39 yards per punt, and pinned two of his three punts inside the Grinnell 20 yard line. He also averaged 55.8 yards per kick off in extremely windy conditions. Gurchak also made a touchdown saving tackle on a Pioneer return.

Scout team POTW: Freshman, WR, George Vidas, Taft HS, Chicago, IL.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Foresters Stymie Vikings in MWC Opener

Forester Defense and Run Game Pave the Way to Victory

"You honored his memory with the way you played today," exclaimed and emotional Head Football Coach Jim Catanzaro as he pulled a picture of Benny Watters out of his suit jacket as the team got into their post game huddle. 

The Foresters had just defeated Midwest Conference foe Lawrence University 20-16 on the second annual Benny Watters Memorial Game which coincides with the annual Community Day on campus. 

"We were emotionally amped up for this game. It was the anniversary of Benny's passing, and there is no doubt he was up there looking down on us today, and he was definitely smiling," said Catanzaro afterwards."There were a lot of players, AND coaches that this game meant a lot to. We wanted to honor him. He was a big part of who we are, and he will continue to be. 

The Foresters offense scored first in the contest as senior Al Mitchell (Pulaski HS, Milwaukee, WI) would take a hand-off and cut off the left tackle for a 68 yard touchdown run. This would be the first carry of Mitchell's prolific day where he would rush for 198 yards on 23 carries. Mitchell's backfield mates, Alec Howe (Spring Lake HS, Spring Lake, MI), Raul Torres (Holyoke HS, Holyoke, MA), and Joey Valdivia (Grayslake Central HS, Grayslake, IL), as well as quarterback Pete Scaffiidi, would combine for an additional 107 yards rushing on 26 carries. The 304 total rushing yards were the most for the Foresters in a single game since 2000. 

"As exciting as I am for the backs, I can't say enough about our offensive line and their performance today. That was exceptional. 300 plus yards rushing an zero sacks! That is a great day, and I couldn't be more proud of how they played," said Catanzaro. "To see three different running backs record rushing touchdowns was outstanding to see as well."

Missing from the Forester offensive attack, was consistency in the passing game. The Foresters completed just 11 of 23 passes, and saw two of their passes intercepted by the Lawrence defense. 

"We aren't where we need to be just yet. We are too talented, both at quarterback and among the receiving corp to not be performing better in this area. We have a lot of experienced players at these positions, and our production must improve," said Catanzaro. "Though we weren't consistent, we had some big third down passing plays that were completed, and I am confident that we can get this ratcheted up to a higher level to make our offense more two dimensional before Grinnell." 

"Despite our shortcomings in the passing game, I'd be remiss if I didn't pay a compliment to Pete's (Pete Scaffidi, South Elgin HS, South Elgin, IL) management of the clock during critical parts of the game. We had a 10 minute time of possession advantage in the second half. He did a great job of managing things on the field for the coaches. That is a savvy performance that further demonstrates his value to us on the field." 

Defensively, the Foresters were in an attacking mode all day, spending as much time in the Lawrence backfield as they did on their own side of the neutral zone. The Foresters would record 15 tackles for a loss, and 8 sacks on the day. 

The Foresters were paced defensively by Junior Bryce Jones (Dysart HS, El Mirage, AZ) with 8 tackles, 4 TFL's, 2 Sacks, and a Forced Fumble. For his performance, Jones was named the MWC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday by the league office. 

Forester Defense on its way to the QB
"This was Bryce's first start since an injury slowed him down in 2011. I was thrilled to see the emotional level that he brought to the field. More than anything else that he did on Saturday, his emotion helped feed our defense, and that inspired the whole team. Bryce had a tremendous off-season and his hard work is starting to pay dividends," said Coach Catanzaro. 

Jones wasn't alone in the backfield as classmates John Dillon (Basha HS, Phoenix, AZ) and Jake Julius (Oakville HS, St. Louis, MO) both contributed two sacks as well. Additionally, Dillon recovered the fumble that Jones forced, and recorded the Foresters first safety since 2006 midway through the second quarter. Julius, who received the first extended playing time of his career was a dangerous pass rushing threat off the edge on Saturday. In addition to his two sacks, he recorded two other hurries against the Viking quarterback. 

"These guys work as hard as anybody during the practice week. They are true students of film, and they are relentless in their pursuit of the football. JD is a known commodity to us, and we have a lot of trust and faith in him. Jake was a great surprise. You could see all camp, and especially in the last week that if he was given a chance, he was going to find a way to make an impact. I am ecstatic that he was able to capitalize on this opportunity," said Catanzaro. 

Another player that stood out to Catanzaro was junior Eddie Dobernig (Eisenhower HS, New Berlin, WI)," Eddie continues to improve. He had a rough week the week before, and he responded to the challenge of the coaches to be more consistent. Eddie was ferocious in the short passing game today, the play where he forced the fumble was his second best play. There was a play on a screen earlier in the game, where he and Bryce converged on the ball carrier at the same time for a TFL, and the way Eddie defeated the block is the new standard on how to play against those screens," praised Catanzaro. Dobernig finished the day with 7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery, and 1 Pass Break Up. 

Senior Aidan Price with one of his team leading 10 tackles
The Foresters held the Viking offense to just 20 yards rushing on 33 carries, after they had amassed 272 yards rushing in week #1 against Cornell College. 

Catanzaro wasn't completely pleased with the performance however,"We can't turn the ball over four times. This is the second week in a row that we have turned the ball over. It is unacceptable. It is just a lack of concentration and fundamentals. We drill those things in practice every day. We have to eliminate those mistakes. The drive at the end of the game, was very poorly played by us. As a coach, I take responsibility for that. We have to execute and get off the field in the two minute drill. A few missed plays, and two missed assignments made that drive continue. We have to get off the field in that situation."

The Foresters return to action on Saturday as they travel to Grinnell College (IA), to face the Pioneers at 1pm. 


Lineman/Offensive POTW: Senior OL Will Savor, Cardinal Gibbons HS, Davie, FL. Graded out at 93% and had 4 Pancake Blocks. HM: the entire Offensive Line 307 yards rushing, Zero Sacks. 

Defensive POTW: Junior, OLB Bryce Jones, Dysart HS, El Mirage, AZ. 8 Tackles, 4 TFL's, 2 Sacks, 1 FF. 

Special Teams POTW: Freshman, LS Ryan Flynn, Morristown HS, Morristown, NJ 100% on Long snaps, 1 Special Teams Tackle. 

Scout Team POTW: Freshman, WR Clyde "Anthoney" Prestly, Tombstone HS, Tombstone, AZ. 

Photo's courtesy of Scott Sanford, Will Savor, and the Vidas Family.