Lake Forest junior Geno Quaid certainly could sympathize with the members of the Notre Dame offensive line.
After all, Quaid had to go up against teammate Trent Williams all through summer workouts, so he knew just how the Dons linemen felt when they tried to block Williams on Friday night during the Class 6A quarterfinal game in Niles.
"I know it wasn't easy," Quaid said of his battles with Williams over the summer. "(Trent) was so hard to try and block, and you could see it tonight that he made it hard on Notre Dame, too."
Williams busted through the offensive line of the No. 14 seeded Dons for a school record 7 sacks to help lead No. 10 seed Lake Forest to an impressive 31-19 victory and a trip to the state semifinals for the first time in school history.
Notre Dame completed its season with a 7-5 mark.
"He had 7? Was that all?" asked Lake Forest coach Chuck Spagnoli of Williams' prolific results. "Trent plays hard on every down, and when you do that you are going to get opportunities -- he obviously made the most of them."
The opportunities only get bigger from here on out for Lake Forest (9-3). Not only are the Scouts in the semifinals for the first time, but they will host the winner of Saturday's contest between top-seeded Cary-Grove and No. 4 Crystal Lake Central next weekend.
"It's a great feeling to get to go to the next round," Williams said. "One more game, baby."
Williams set up the Scouts offense early in the first quarter when his first sack of Notre Dame quarterback Dan Nagode forced a fumble, which Williams recovered.
Two players later, Stephen Cirame scored from 1 yard out and the Scouts had a 7-0 lead.
"We work on that every day in practice," Williams said. "With all the great coverage we get as a team from our defensive backs, it gives me time to get up field and make plays like that."
Much of the focus for the Lake Forest defense was on Notre Dame standout running back Chris James. While James did get his yards (175 of them), James needed 39 carries to do it and didn't have a run longer than 16 yards all night.
The defenses controlled the third quarter, with the Scouts' secondary and Williams making the biggest play of the night. With Notre Dame driving in the third quarter and trailing 21-13, Quaid stepped in front of a Notre Dame receiver and picked off Nagode, returning it 36 yards. It was the first of 2 interceptions for Quaid.
A 27-yard field goal gave Lake Forest a 24-13 lead at the start of the final quarter.
Notre Dame did answer with a long 15-play, 80-yard drive to pull within 24-19, but Williams and sophomore Jack Traynor stopped the 2-point conversion.
"(Lake Forest) played us a lot like they played Rolling Meadows, getting a lot of pressure on the edges," Notre Dame coach Mike Hennessey said. "But we weren't effective enough running the ball up the middle, and that caused problems for us."
The Scouts sealed their first trip to the semifinals with a 56-yard touchdown run from Cirame (71 yards rushing) with 1:36 to play.