LAKE FOREST.– On Friday night, under the bright lights and packed stands at Varsity Field, an important football game took place to settle a tie at the top of the North Suburban Conference standings. The Warren Blue Devils came into town and escaped with a 24-10 road victory as the Scouts were unable to inject some spirit into the already jubilant homecoming weekend.
The Devils silenced the home crowd early with a 14 play drive that resulted in a five yard touchdown run for Nate Rentas: 7-0 early.
To end the first quarter, Warren added on to their lead with a 65 yard touchdown pass from Phil Hird to Juan De La Cruz that pushed the score to 14-0. With an offense unable to move the chains, spotting the Blue Devils 14 points was a crushing blow to the Scouts.
After being inefficient on offense, the Scouts opened the playbook and turned to the trick play section to score their first points. Wide receiver Ryan Cekay came around off a double reverse and found a wide open Tommy Hanson for a 71 yard touchdown with 10:41 left in the half.
Lake Forest’s defense buckled down and forced a punt only to result in a Scouts fumble. The Blue Devils took advantage of the field position and nailed a 23 yard field goal to make the score 17-7.
With 2:36 left in the 3rd quarter, Scouts punter Kai Kroger boomed a punt and the Warren returner mishandled the catch which led to a Lake Forest recovery on the Blue Devil 34 yard line. Coach Spagnoli’s team was unable to convert the play into a touchdown and settled for a 22 yard field goal: 17-10.
The defensive battle resumed and neither team would reach the end zone until two minutes left in the game. Warren’s Martin Walker took advantage of Lake Forest’s turnover on downs and broke out for a 43 yard touchdown to seal the game at 24-10.
The visiting Blue Devils dominated the game in the trenches which ultimately led to the victory. On the offensive side, Walker was able to churn out short yardage runs and move the chains. The Warren defensive line also made things very tough on Tommy Hanson and was constantly in the backfield forcing Hanson to make throws on the run. The Scouts offense will need to improve if they want to win six games and secure the automatic bid to the playoffs. Their ten points came off a trick play and a muffed punt which won’t happen every game. Cekay receiver had this to say about the Lake Forest offensive struggles: “I think we have to be ready to play mentally. We had a lot of penalties and lost yardage too many times which made it hard to consistently convert first downs. Warren had some good players that made things difficult on offense too.” However, on the bright side for Scouts fans was another stout performance from the defense. They allowed only ten points after the first quarter and had a very good performance aside from the two big plays.
Lake Forest moves to 2-3 (2-1 in conf.) on the season and travels to Waukegan on Saturday afternoon. Warren now sits at 4-1 (3-0 in conf.) and meets Zion Benton Friday night.