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)