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. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Click on the link below to see the Foresters Highlight Clips from their 20-16 victory over Lawrence University.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Scaffidi Sets Career Touchdown Mark vs. Cougars

It wasn't Senior Captain Pete Scaffidi's best game as a Forester, but he did something no other player has done in school history. With his third touchdown pass of the day to Austin Sobey, Scaffidi broke Forester Hall of Famer Avelino Cortez's career touchdown record in only his 14th career start.

Scaffidi's record setting performance wasn't enough to help the Foresters overcome five turnovers, as they fell to the Cougars 35-27. 

"We were really playing well, until the wheels fell off in the second quarter. We were moving the ball at will. We only punted once the entire day. Our ball security is obviously a concern, but most importantly, we need to be able to better reclaim momentum when plays like that happen," said Head Football Coach Jim Catanzaro. 

Catanzaro's reference to a second quarter that saw the Foresters commit three consecutive turnovers, and give up 28 points and 248 yards of total offense to the Cougars. 

"The turnovers were costly, because we were driving. We can't give teams extra possessions and improved field position. Defensively we were able to get a stop after the fumble, but the interception on the next play, really deflated the success of that effort. I give a lot of credit to Concordia, they took advantage of the situation," commented Catanzaro. 

"I was not pleased with our coverage in the second quarter. Our early success defensively, may have lead to some over-confidence. The touchdown before the half is completely inexcusable. We practice that route, versus that coverage, every day in practice. We had two players there, a junior and a senior, one of them has to make that play. They were within two feet of each other, and a foot of the wide receiver. They made a play, and we didn't. We have to be better than that in a critical situation," continued Catanzaro. 

The Foresters went into the half down 28-14. 

In the second half, the Foresters received the opening kick off, and took the ball 72 yards on 14 plays to cut the lead to seven points. The defense could not hold on the next possession and Concordia increased their lead to 35-21. An interception on the next possession would give the Cougars the ball on the 40 yard line. A stout showing by the defense would hold Concordia to a 40 yard field goal attempt which they missed. 

Catanzaro commented on that series in particular, "that was a big stop for us. That could have lead to a major momentum shift, but our defense responded. I was very pleased that they jumped off the sideline and rose to the challenge. We really started to take control of the game defensively at that point." 

The Foresters would give up just 45 yards after the final Cougar touchdown, and only 28 after the failed field goal attempt. After the missed field goal, the Forester offense would put together another impressive 16 play 77 yard drive that culminated with a 9 yard touchdown pass from Pete Scaffidi to fellow captain Al Mitchell. 

The Foresters would miss the extra point attempt, and the lead would stand at 35-27 in favor of Concordia. The Foresters would have two more opportunities to try to reclaim the lead in the fourth quarter, but the Foresters would turn the ball over on downs after crossing mid-field on their first attempt, and a fumble on first down on their ensuing possession would end their chances at a comeback. 

"I was extremely pleased with the way our offensive line played. It really stood out to me. You are looking at four new starters on the line, and they were able to run the ball with great effectiveness and efficiency. I don't think that I saw a 180 plus (186) yard rushing day in their first start. Additionally, they didn't allow a sack. If they can keep doing that, we are going to have a lot of success this season. Defensively, I was very happy with our 3rd down efficiency. That was a major point of emphasis for us after last season. I know that the turnovers will take care of themselves as we watch film and continue to emphasize ball security to our players. We talk to our players about the little things, the details that are not obvious, and those are the things that cost us the game today. Despite the loss, I am positive about our team. This was a good showing against a team that is predicted to finish first or second in their conference. I feel that if we can grow from this experience, we have a very bright season a head of us," concluded Catanzaro. 
The Forester Coaching Staff named their players of the week on Sunday, they are as follows: 

Offensive POTW: Al Mitchell 26 Rushes for 89 yards, 4 rec. 31 yards, 1 TD. Senior, Pulaski High School, Milwaukee, WI. 

Defensive POTW: John Dillon, 6 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble, 2 QB hurries. Junior, Basha High School, Phoenix, AZ

Special Teams POTW: Jon Gurchak 3/4 Xpt. Averaged 52 yards per kickoff, Freshman, K, Grayslake Central, Grayslake, IL. 

Scout Team POTW: Mike Hilliard, Freshman DL, Rockwood Summit High School, St. Louis, MO

Lineman of the Week:
Bryan Feltman: Graded at 82%, 4 Pancakes