Game Preview: Lake Forest Scouts (0-1) vs Wheaton North Falcons (0-1)

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Bobby Winebrenner

Last Friday, the Lake Forest football team suffered a 27-14 loss in their season opener against the Antioch Sequoits. This week they have their home opener at Varsity Field at 7:30 where they’ll attempt to show Scout Nation that they have improved from their first game. It looks to be a cloudy but warm evening for the home opener–perfect for the student section’s Hawaiian theme.

 

About the Falcons: Wheaton North is coming off a 27-13 loss to a highly-touted Evanston team. The first thing that many would say about their offense in 2017 was that they loved to pound the ball. After star running back Sam Singleton and his 1500+ yards graduated, the Falcons will need to do a bit better of a job spreading the ball out this year. That duty falls on junior starting quarterback Nathan Love’s shoulder. Love is inexperienced but had a nice game last Friday through the air. Junior Christian Halstead seems to be his favorite target and the two juniors have developed a nice connection. Coach Joe Wardynski leads the Falcons in his 11th season and has instilled great discipline into his players. Their defense has some high-end talent but lacks serious experience. Junior linebacker Xander Mueller is expected to be a key player for their defense and Jacob Secrest and Drake Dickinson add senior leadership to the defensive line and secondary.

 

About the Scouts: Lake Forest looked shaky on the offensive side last Friday. They were unable to move the ball much after taking a 14-0 lead by using strong defensive play. The 27-14 loss included a defensive touchdown for each team, proving the offensive struggles were plentiful. Against Wheaton North’s inexperienced defense, the Scouts hope to have a better connection between quarterback James Swartout and the big targets. Running back Jacob Thomas was also unable to gain many yards on the ground, and he, along with the offensive line, will have to have a better day if Lake Forest wants to compete with Wheaton North’s run game. Pennsylvania commit and senior left tackle Chase Bahr had this to say about improving from last week’s performance: “We’ve focused on correcting the errors that we made last week, such as finishing drives. Overall, we just have to move the football better and it starts up front.”

On defense, Coach Spagnoli’s bunch played a nice game last Friday, but they’d like to improve. A couple big plays for the Sequoits hurt the Scouts defense so look for some added pressure to prevent that. Sophomore inside linebacker Mac Uihlein commented on the defense looking to improve the little things: “We’re doing the same stuff we’ve done the past two months. The team is focusing on fixing the mental mistakes we made in week one and continuing to play hard.” Seniors Luca Pasinato and Adam Khater return to provide a spark to the front seven.

 

Key Storylines:

  • Antowon Tolbert vs Lake Forest Front 7
    • The third year varsity running back offers tremendous size and speed but will be tested by the talented Scouts defensive line and linebackers.
  • Week 2 Offense
    • Lake Forest needs to establish a passing game this week between Swartout & Ryan Cekay along with the rest of the talented receiving corps. They were unable to last week and the run game couldn’t keep drives going.
  • Home Opener
    • Coach Spagnoli’s teams have always seemed to play better at Varsity Field. Wheaton North stays on the road for their second straight game and Scout Nation will need to be loud and make things tough on the favored, visiting Falcons.

 

The game will be broadcasted live on the NFHS Network with junior Connor Clark doing the play-by-play commentary. Kick off is at 7:30pm at Varsity Field and the theme for Scouts students is Hawaiian. There’s a five dollar fee for fans but admittance is free for Lake Forest Boosters. Also, students with an activity pass get in for free.