Game Preview: Lake Forest Scouts (4-4) at Stevenson Patriots (6-2)

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Game Preview: Lake Forest Scouts (4-4) at Stevenson Patriots (6-2)

Bobby Winebrenner

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There’s not much that can be said to add to the importance of tonight’s game. Week Nine. Stevenson versus Lake Forest. For the Scouts, win and you’re in. Lose, and the season’s over. For the Patriots, playoff seeding is at stake as they’ll look for a high seed in the 8A bracket while also celebrating the careers of their seniors on Senior Night. Temperatures look to be around 50 degrees as the game kicks off at 7:30PM in Lincolnshire.

About the Patriots: Stevenson comes in at 6-2 (4-2 in conf.) with losses to Lake Zurich in overtime and Warren. Coached by Josh Hjorth, the Patriots are 10-6 through two seasons with Hjorth. They’ve been pretty dominant over the Scouts even beyond Hjorth’s tenure with their last loss coming in 2011. They’re led on offense by highly touted junior running back JM Etienne and senior quarterback Cole Okmin. The duo has driven an offense which is averaging 30.5 points per game through eight contests. The Patriots love to throw the ball downfield too as they have an experienced crew of receivers. On defense, Maema Njongmeta and Jordan Vincent are players to look out for from the linebacker position. The Patriots biggest hole on defense comes at their secondary which will have a tough task guarding Lake Forest’s talented receivers.

About the Scouts: Coming off a 16-9 victory over Libertyville, Lake Forest hopes to extend their eight season playoff streak and will need a win tonight to do so. They used a 13-0 run in the waning moments of last Friday’s game to knock-off the Wildcats. The Scouts welcome the return of tight end Crawford Bolton, who’s coming off a sprained MCL injury, and wide receiver Breck Nowik, who suffered a concussion against Zion-Benton. Coach Spagnoli’s offense will need to take advantage of the Stevenson secondary through the air to keep up with the high scoring Patriots. Lake Forest’s defensive backs will need to have a big day and keep the talented Stevenson receivers out of the end zone.

Key Storylines:

  • Lake Forest versus Stevenson in the Trenches
    • For an offense which loves to run the ball up the middle, the Scouts offensive line must take advantage of the smaller Patriot defensive line to move the chains.
  • Etienne versus the Scouts Front Seven
    • Etienne is one of the more talented running backs the Scouts have seen this year and running behind a talented offensive line will create challenge for Rylie Mills and the rest of the Scouts front seven.
  • High Stakes
    • This is the biggest game these Lake Forest seniors have played throughout their career. But on senior night with a raucous home crowd, the Patriots will match the energy and tonight’s matchup has the makings of a North Suburban Conference Classic.

Tonight’s contest features a Pink Out for the home Stevenson crowd and a White Out amongst the visiting Scouts fans. Warmer temperatures and huge implications for both parties will make for a packed Stevenson High School at the 7:30 kickoff. The game will be broadcast on the NFHS Network for those who cannot make the game.