Game Preview: Lake Forest Scouts (3-4) vs Libertyville Wildcats (2-5)


Bobby Winebrenner

With two weeks left in the season, Lake Forest has plenty left to play for. They need to win out to have a chance at the playoffs; a loss tonight would end those hopes. For Libertyville, the stakes aren’t quite as high. However, the Wildcats would love nothing more to spoil their rival’s playoff chances and earn win at home on senior night. The Route 176 Rivalry kicks off at 7:30 PM at Libertyville High School.


About the Wildcats: Libertyville comes into the game at 2-5 (2-3 in conf.). They’re riding high off a 34-14 road victory over Mundelein. The Wildcats are coached by Mike Jones who is in his 7th season as head coach. In 2017, Libertyville knocked off the Scouts 26-10 and the two teams have been going back and forth over the last few years on the gridiron. The Wildcats are led by senior running back Niko Christensen who carries a huge workload as their passing game isn’t as strong as its ground game. On defense, Jonathan Palmieri and Blake Hill will look to make things tough on the Scout’s offense. Their offense has struggled to score points at times and tonight’s game will likely be a defensive-minded affair for both sides.


About the Scouts: Coming off a loss to Zion Benton, the Scouts sit at 3-4 (3-2 in conf.). Saturday’s loss greatly hurt the Scout’s playoff hopes and went from giving the Scouts a favorable chance at extra football to making the chances look slim. They were missing many starters and will look to bounce back this week. Defensive backs Eddie Scheidler and Luke Nolan return after missing Saturday’s contest, but Matthew Garrigan, Crawford Bolton, and Breck Nowik all remain sidelined. The Scouts had trouble keeping the Zee-Bees out of the end-zone on Saturday so the return of the senior defensive backs will be huge. Seniors Tommy Hanson and Ryan Cekay are back to playing one side of the ball which will be instrumental for the offense as they’ll need to regain some momentum for Coach Spagnoli’s team. Cekay had this to say about the rivalry matchup with the Wildcats: “Libertyville is always tough and we’re not expecting an easy win by any means. We need to focus on staying disciplined and not getting penalties, not making any mental errors, and playing good ‘ole-fashioned’ Scout’s football.”


Weather projections predict a cloudy and cool game with temperatures around 40 degrees. The theme for visiting Scout’s students is a Blue Out. Tonight’s Route 176 Rivalry will be sure to feature high emotions and high stakes: nothing quite like October high school football.