Foresters Win Opening Game Shootout, Down Warriors, 38-30
Usually, offenses need a few weeks to get on track, but that did not prove to be the case for either Lake Forest College or Wisconsin Lutheran College on Saturday, as the two teams combined for over 800 yards of offense as the Foresters downed the Warriors, 38-30. Quarterback Jagan Cleary threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns and Taylor Freitas returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown to help lead Lake Forest to victory.
Each team got off to a fast start. Wisconsin Lutheran took the opening kickoff and methodically moved down the field, going 77 yards on 13 plays. The short play had helped to move the Warriors from their own 23 down to the Lake Forest 35 yard line where it looked like the drive was can install after three straight incompletions led to fourth and 10. However, WLC quarterback Patrick Mathiesen found that Nick Charles-Crowl for a 28 yard completion down to the Foresters 7 yard line. On the next play, Mathiesen kept the ball and raced the 7 yard distance for a touchdown as Wisconsin Lutheran led 7-0.
The Foresters responded with a 77 yard drive of their own to tie the score. Jagan Cleary completed a 12 yard pass to Alex Adams to start the drive and then completed a 10 yarder to Chase Allen. Two plays later, he found Alan once again, this time for 29 yards down to the WLC 26. Three plays later, Adams carried the ball 16 yards to the Wisconsin Lutheran for and Cleary would score 2 plays later on a 3 yard keeper to tie the score at seven.
The Foresters would find the end zone on their next possession. Starting from their own 13 yard line, they would put together a 14 play drive, three times converting on third down to keep the drive moving. The first of these occurred on third and 9 at their own 14 when Cleary found Rall for 16 yards and a first down. The second quarter began with Lake Forest at third and 2 at the Wisconsin Lutheran 18 where the Foresters quarterback found Adams for 7 yards and a first down. On third and 4 at the five, Clearly found Rall once again, connecting for the touchdown to put his team up 14-7.
Lake Forest clung to the seven-point lead until there was about four minutes left in the half. Mathieson went back to pass, but Taylor Freitas made a great read on the play, picking the ball off and racing 45 yards for the touchdown to put his team up by 14.
The Warriors were unfazed, finding the end zone just before the half came to an end. Mathieson responded with an outstanding drive, moving his team 66 yards in 13 plays. The Warriors QB completed his first three passes of the drive, but a sack on third and 20 forced the team to punt. Jake Anderson got the ball off, but was obstructed and a roughing the kicker penalty was called, giving Wisconsin Lutheran a first down. Mathieson took advantage, connecting for 24 yards to Javion Morgan to put the ball at the Lake Forest College 24. An 18 yard pass to Chrystan Woyak gave them the ball at the six and Mathieson would find Dan DeYoung for 6 yards and the touchdown with four seconds left in the half. That made the score 21-14 heading to the locker room.
Wisconsin Lutheran would create a huge opportunity to start out the second half. The opening kickoff was fumbled and recovered by Kobee Marion at the Lake Forest 27. On the next play, Mathieson found a streaking Charles-Crowl for 27 yards and the score to tie the game at 21.
The Foresters responded right away, moving 72 yards in nine plays where the drive would stall at the 14. Michael Bounds drilled a 32 yard field goal to put his team back on top by three.
Wisconsin Lutheran college responded by going 79 yards nine plays to retake the lead. Only once did the team faced third down on the drive, that was when they needed 7 yards at the LFC 38, when Mathieson connected with Charles-Crowl for 22 yards down to the 16. On the next play, the quarterback found Jackson for 16 yards giving Wisconsin Lutheran a 27-24 lead.
LFC was undeterred, moving 75 yards on 14 plays to retake the lead. Adams carried the ball on three of the first four plays then Cleary took over. He completed five successive passes at one point, and Adams would score from 2 yards out to put the Foresters back on top 31-27.
On their next possession, Lake Forest would find the end zone again. Starting from the WLC 46, Cleary completed his first two passes, helping to move the ball to the 18 yard line. It looked like the drive me stall there as it was third in 10, but the Foresters QB dialed up another big pass play to Rall for 18 yards and the score to extend the lead to 11.
Wisconsin Lutheran would move down the field on the next drive, reaching the Lake Forest 11 where, on fourth and 8, they opted to go for the field goal to make this a one score game. Grant Fleming connected on the 29 yarder to cut the deficit to eight. However, Lake Forest College was able to run out the clock holding onto the 38-30 victory.
Jagan Cleary had an outstanding day a quarterback for Lake Forest, completing 26 of his 40 passes for 296 yards and two TDs. Alex Adams rushed for 106 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown and John Rall had five catches for 72 yards and two scores.
Patrick Mathieson was 16 of 31 passing for 213 yards for the Warriors. He threw for three touchdowns on the afternoon. Mathieson also led the team in rushing with 46 yards and scored a touchdown. Nick Charles-Crowl had four catches for 88 yards and score.
Wisconsin Lutheran college (0-1) has home to take on Lawrence Tech next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00.
By Robert Pannier