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).