Antioch Uses Strong Second Half to Knock Off Lake Forest

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Bobby Winebrenner

After the rain clouds cleared and the sky opened up, it was football time in Antioch. Excitement brewed all across the state as the lights turned on and another fall of Friday night games kicked off. For Lake Forest fans that buzz failed to last long as the Scouts dropped the opener to the Sequoits 27-14.

The visitors jumped out to an early lead as a poor snap in the end zone led to a recovered fumble by Lake Forest outside linebacker Will Wisniewski, making the score 7-0 with 6:54 left to play in the first quarter. That was the first of the six turnovers Coach Spagnoli’s defense forced. A quarter later, Lake Forest inside linebacker Ethan Hunt recovered a fumble at the Antioch eight yard line which led to a one yard rushing touchdown by quarterback James Swartout. The scoreboard then read 14-0 in favor of Lake Forest and the home crowd was nervous.

But the Sequoits remained calm and continued to play their game. Highly touted quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis responded with a one yard touchdown run of his own after a long, 72 yard drive. Moments later, the Antioch defense scored a touchdown of their own after Nico Fier intercepted Swartout and returned it to the end zone for a 41 yard pick-six. The two teams went into halftime with the Scouts holding a 14-13 lead over the Sequoits.

Whatever Antioch head coach Brian Glashagel said during the break seemed to have worked. His team started the third quarter with a bang as Kaliakmanis scampered for a 58 yard run which set up his ensuing seven yard touchdown rush. Later in the quarter, Swartout threw an interception in the end zone intended for wide receiver Ryan Cekay; the ball was a jump ball between Cekay and Antioch defensive back Tre Watson and the defender had an inside position allowing him to make a key interception and prevent the Scouts from regaining the lead.

In the fourth quarter, Antioch’s offense delivered another brutal blow to the Scouts. Coach Glashagel’s team was halted on the Scouts 20 yard line after sophomore linebacker Mac Uihlein sacked Kaliakmanis on 3rd down forcing a 4th and 13. The head coach was forced to either attempt a 37 yard field goal or go for it on 4th and long in the Scouts territory. He opted to put the ball back in the quarterback’s hands which resulted in a critical touchdown. Kaliakmanis rolled out of the pocket and delivered a strike to Zachary Grindley who dodged a defender and completed the 20 yard touchdown play. The visiting stands were silent with 7:51 left in the game as they trailed by 13.

Lake Forest’s offense was unable put a drive together and the Sequoits moved to 1-0 while the Scouts fell to 0-1.

Antioch’s offense racked up 220 more yards than its competition ultimately giving them the win. Their attack consisted of a successful run and pass game making it difficult to defend. Lake Forest, on the other hand, was unable to get anything going on the ground and didn’t seem to throw the ball too often. Swartout had eight completions for 117 yards and Cekay led the receivers with two receptions for 50 yards. Jacob Thomas was unable to get much going for the Scouts run game as he finished with 41 yards on 23 attempts resulting in a 1.78 average yards per carry.  Senior safety Tommy Hanson led the team with twelve tackles. Cekay had this to say about Lake Forest’s offensive woes: “I think any first game as a starter can be very tough which led to us ineffectively being able to spread the ball out. I know he’s a good QB and once he settles in we should be fine through the air, so I’m glad he got his nerves out.”

Lake Forest has its home opener Friday against Wheaton North in week two.