WAUKEGAN, Ill.– The Lake Forest Scouts varsity football team squared off against the struggling (0-8, 0-6) Waukegan Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon in their first day game since the first round of the IHSA playoffs last year. The (4-4, 2-4) Scouts needed to get their 5th win in order to have a chance at making the 6A IHSA playoff bracket, which was not a daunting task considering the Bulldogs’ problems on both sides of the ball. Lake Forest was a bit shaky out of the gates, but erupted as the game went on, scoring nearly 50 points in a 49-12 victory.
The story of the game was the Lake Forest Scouts offense. With a total of 49 points scored, the Scouts became the highest scoring team against the bulldogs this season. That is more points than NSC powerhouses Stevenson, Warren, or Lake Zurich scored against them. Jack Mislinski had one of his best games of the season as he completed 9 of 13 passes for 146 yards along with three touchdowns. Ryan Cekay shined under the sunlight as well with four receptions for a whopping 111 yards. Cekay was able to cross the goal line twice, one of which came on a 63-yard touchdown. As expected, the Scouts running game was somewhat limited, but definitely made a considerable impact on the game. Jacob Thomas once again had a strong game finishing with 54 yards under his belt along with an 8 yard TD run. Bryan Ooms also did his part by scoring the first touchdown of the game along with 40 yards on the ground. This is exactly what needed to happen before the playoffs. The Lake Forest Scouts offense scored a combined 98 points in their past three games, skyrocketing their average points per game (PPG) to 19.2. With plenty of momentum, Riverside-Brookfield, the #2 seed in 6A, should not sleep on the Scouts offense in the opening round of the IHSA playoffs.
Per usual, the Lake Forest Scouts defense had another strong performance, but could it have been better? Before their game against the Scouts, the Waukegan Bulldogs had only scored a combined total of 20 points all year. When the final whistle blew, Waukegan had scored 12 points, two away from their season high which came against Libertyville. Granted, Lake Forest did have some of their backups in at the end of the game, but they gave up and 85-yard touchdown on one of Waukegan’s first drives of the game. The answer is yes, the Scouts defense could have been better, but they did have a lot of three and outs along with a few interceptions. One player that recently returned from an MCL injury made a considerable impact in the secondary for Lake Forest. Matthew Barigazzi had two interceptions on the day, one of which truly put the icing on the cake for the Scouts. Alex Moss and Emmet Rubin also had interceptions giving the Scouts a grand total of four INTs on the day. Jon Deering once again came up big in the Scouts victory with four tackles, along with Will Wisniewski, who also had four tackles along with a sack. Lake Forest’s defense has lived up to the hype this year with very few hiccups throughout the season.
Even though the Lake Forest Scouts won five games, there was still a chance that the Scouts would not make the cut for the playoffs. At (5-4) on the season, many assumed that it would either be Lake Forest or (5-4) Crystal Lake Central that would make the playoffs. Around 9:00 pm, the committee began to announce the 6A matchups. When the committee announced the 16 seed, Scouts fans from all over Lake Forest and Lake Bluff were stunned. Crystal Lake Central was announced on earned itself a match-up with the highly-touted Prairie Ridge Wolves of the Fox Valley Conference. However, seconds later Lake Forest was announced as the #15 seed. Lake Forest will take on the (8-1) Riverside-Brookfield Bulldogs on the road at 7:00PM on Friday night. Riverside-Brookfield has had one excellent season but will be put on upset alert when the Scouts roll into town, as was the case last year.
The season isn’t over yet. There is still some unfinished business to attend to for the Scouts. Make sure to catch the playoff preview this Friday for all the information you need on Riverside-Brookfield and the Scouts’ upset chances as they look to become the Cinderella story of the 6A bracket.