No matter how high a team’s expectations are, there will always be a game where they fail to look their sharpest. On Friday night, the Lake Forest Scouts Varsity football team took the field at Robert Morris College against the previously (1-0) St. Viator Lions. There was never a point in the game where either team was able to pull away from the other. In the end it came down to one game saving block that eventually put the Scouts over the top.
In the early going, defense was the name of the game for both teams. The week prior, Lake Forest took no time to get on the scoreboard against Glenbard East. This week, however, was a different scenario. The Lions’ defense severely limited the Scouts running game and the passing game wasn’t very effective early on either. Fortunately, the Scouts’ outstanding defense prevented any significant damage and thus the first quarter ended in a 0-0 tie. After Lake Forest ended St. Viator’s opening drive in the second, they wasted no time to get on the scoreboard.
On the Scouts’ first play of the second quarter–which started from their own 23 yard line–quarterback Jack Mislinski slung a pass over the middle to Ryan Cekay who broke free from the Lions’ defensive backfield and took it to the house, effectively giving the Scouts a seven point advantage. Just like that, Lake Forest’s offense had a spark, but it did not take Lions QB Bryce Hellgeth and the rest of their offense much time to respond.
Following the Scouts’ quick drive the Lions were searching for an answer. Elijah Black was one of the main focal points of the drive as he put together a chunk of yardage thanks to his speed and his ability to avoid tackles. Hellgeth also completed a series of passes to eventually get inside the red zone. On third and goal inside the one yard line St. Viator looked to tie the game up, but the Scouts defense blocked that attempt and forced a critical 4th down. With the way that the game was going with limited scoring chances on both sides of the ball, Viator Head Coach Dave Archibald made the call to go for the tie. The Lions went with another QB sneak and after a few seconds of suspense while the officials tried to determine if the ball did, in fact, break the plane, their arms went up in the air signaling a touchdown. Neither team could add any additional points before the halftime whistles blew and the teams headed into the locker room deadlocked.
After a slow beginning to the second half Lake Forest began a promising drive around the midpoint of the third. Once Mislinski and the Scouts offense got inside the 30 yard line and in field goal range they faced a daunting 3rd and 11. On what started off as a passing play turned into a ten yard run for the senior quarterback giving Head Coach Chuck Spagnoli a tough decision of whether to go for it on 4th and 1 or kick the field goal. Spagnoli decided to keep special teams at bay and allow his offense to stay on the field. On a huge 4th and 1 from the 15 yard line Mislinski handed the ball off to Byan Ooms, who instead of powering through the middle of the pile, broke a few tackles and took it to the house, giving Lake Forest a huge touchdown. At the end of the third the Scouts had the lead and looked to their defense to prevent the St. Viator Lions from tying the game or taking advantage.
Just like in like third quarter, neither team jumped out early. Both teams defenses came up strong and kept the score where it was. Lake Forest did not need to score. All they had to do was prevent any St. Viator outbursts on offense. With less than four minutes left in the game, Viator finally broke through the Scouts defense to score. On 4th and 7 from St. Viator’s 21 yard line, instead of kicking what would have been a 38 yard field goal, Dave Archibald signaled to Hellgeth and the rest of the Lions offense to remain on the field and go for it. If they would have failed to convert on the pass play the game would have been over, but that was not the case. Hellgeth tossed the ball to one of his favorite receivers in Matt Doershing who broke free and ran into the endzone stunning the Lake Forest faithful and setting the home crowd into a frenzy. With the game tied and just over three minutes to go, Lake Forest attempted to get a few more points on the scoreboard before the 4th quarter ended, but failed to do so sending the game to overtime.
St. Viator started OT with the ball hoping to be in the driver’s seat for the first time. Lake Forest’s defense would not allow the Lions to put seven points on the scoreboard and therefore St. Viator had to settle for a field goal attempt. It was all up to Hellgeth to put it through the uprights. In real time the snap and the hold looked to be good, but unfortunately for the Lions the kick was low. Bryan Ooms, who scored the last Scouts touchdown, got a hand on the kick and therefore the ball came nowhere near going through. It was, without a doubt, the biggest play of the game. Now the Scouts had to capitalize on it to earn the W.
Since the St. Viator Lions already had their turn, it would not matter if the Scouts got a touchdown or a field goal. On second and goal on the one yard line all Viator could hope for was a miracle. The Scouts decided to run the ball, of course, but it would not be a QB sneak. Rather, it would be the same guy that scored in the 3rd and blocked the St. Viator’s overtime field goal attempt–senior captain Bryan Ooms. Jack Mislinski handed off the ball to Brian Ooms who forced his way into the end zone and gave the victory to the visitors in dramatic fashion. Even though the Scouts may not have played their best, they still kept cool under pressure and defeated the Lions in an instant classic.
The Scouts will return home to West Campus next Friday night against the Stevenson Patriots to open up conference play. The Patriots are currently (1-1 ) having lost their last game to Muskegon (MI.), a highly talented team with an array of Division 1 prospects. To learn more about the Patriots and their matchup against the Lake Forest Scouts tune into theforestscout.com this Friday morning to get the full game preview.
Statistics (courtesy of Jon Kerr at scoutsfootball.com):
Jack Mislinski: 10-16, 145, 1 TD; 10 carries, 21 yds
Bryan Ooms: 11 carries, 51 yds, 2 TD
Ryan Cekay: 3 catches, 86 yds, 1 TD
Chris Cavalaris: 2 tackles, 3 assist, 1 INT
Jack Van Hyfte: 15 carries, 45 yds