LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. — In one of the grittier and more competitive games of the North Suburban Conference season, Lake Forest managed to escape with a road win over Libertyville: 16-9. In chilly temperatures, the rivals played a very defensive game between the 30 yard lines.
Libertyville kicked off the scoring as Daniel Ritz drilled a 26 yard field goal with 5:53 left in the first quarter. The defensive battle then resumed for another quarter before the Scouts found the scoreboard.
Midway through the second quarter, Coach Mike Jones took a gamble and called for a fake punt play on 4th and short. The Wildcats failed to move the chains and Lake Forest took possession in Libertyville territory. The Scouts offense still could not get much going and settled for a 42 yard field goal by Kai Kroeger to tie the game at 3.
Late in the third quarter, Libertyville wide receiver Jack Turco made a highlight reel type catch in the end zone as he reached around Lake Forest safety Will Freeman and snagged the ball against Freeman’s back. A missed two point conversion made the score 9-3 in favor of the Wildcats.
With their season on the line and four and half minutes remaining, Mac Uihlein delivered for the Scouts, tying the game at 9 after a 35 yard touchdown run. A missed PAT kept the game knotted up.
Minutes later, a 4th down conversion from Tommy Hanson to Ryan Cekay set up the game winning touchdown. With 1:30 left, Jacob Thomas scored on a ten-yard touchdown run to ultimately win the game for the Scouts.
Lake Forest prevailed in one of the uglier games of the season but will take any win they can get at this point in the season. With eight straight playoff appearances on the line, Coach Spagnoli’s bunch didn’t give up and used a total team effort to earn the “W” over Libertyville. Hanson led the Scouts with 98 passing yards and Thomas added 89 yards on the ground. Cekay led the receivers with 49 yards. Uihlein and Richie Hoskins, two sophomores, stepped up for the Scouts as Hoskins had multiple pass breakups and an interception and Uihlein had a sack and a rushing touchdown.
Lake Forest has a road matchup with Stevenson on Friday to decide their season. A win will put the Scouts in the playoffs; a loss will end their season. The contest kicks off at 7:30 PM at Stevenson High School. Uihlein had this to say about the looming test versus the Patriots: “We are excited with the opportunity we have Friday because making the playoffs is in our own hands. We win and we make the playoffs, we lose and we’re out. As a team we know what’s on the line and we’re eager for the matchup.”