FORESTERS THRILL HOMECOMING CROWD WITH LAST MINUTE VICTORY OVER BLUEBOYS!!
"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|
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!|
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
"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."
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
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