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.