Fenton faced quite an uphill climb before it even took the field Friday night.
An unfavorable playoff history. A quarterback not suited up. Not to mention a tough opponent.
Odds a fast start couldn't overcome.
The No. 9 seed Bison struck first in its Class 6A football playoff first-round game at No. 8 Lake Forest, but it was downhill from there in a 55-20 loss.
"We still haven't got to the point where we expect to win," Fenton coach Mark Kos said, "and we struggle when we face a little bit of adversity."
Fenton (7-3), searching for its first playoff win since 1984, found out during the week it would have to go without starting quarterback Sean Havlovic. Havlovic, he of nearly 1,700 passing yards, was unavailable because of a "school-related matter."
Without him senior backup Joe Butz directed the hurry-up five-wide offense to a 73-yard touchdown drive on Fenton's first touch, Alan Geneva taking a receiver screen 38 yards for the score and 6-0 lead.
Lake Forest (8-2) caught on to its opponent's wide-open game from there. Butz finished 24 of 31 for 208 yards and Geneva caught 10 passes for 97 yards, but Fenton didn't find the end zone again until the fourth quarter.
"It's the only time we ever play that scheme," Scouts coach Chuck Spagnoli said. "Our kids took a series to adjust, and after that they settled down and were OK."
Stopping Owen Williams was a chore for the Bison, too.
Lake Forest's senior back ran for 130 yards with 4 touchdowns 115 of the yards and all of the scores by halftime when the Scouts led 28-6.
Williams turned a collision with quarterback Jordan Beck into a 21-yard touchdown run for his first score. Later he discarded two Fenton tacklers in the open field for a 23-yard score, then twice juked separate defenders to take in a 13-yarder.
Williams got a good laugh out of that first score.
"Jordan thought coach said something to him about taking it out wide," Williams said, "so I was going for the handoff and he nailed me. It was a pretty funny play I'm surprised I scored on it."
Williams' night was over after a 51-yard touchdown run was called back for a penalty, but the point was made.
"He's the heart and soul of our team," Spagnoli said. "When he's running hard like that it's hard to defend."
Beck, back from an elbow injury, completed 10 of 14 passes for 124 yards for Lake Forest, who moves on to play top seed Batavia.
Fenton is now 1-10 in first-round games, but Kos sees bright days ahead.
"We just have to continue to build the program," Kos said. "It's going to be a work in progress, but I'm not going anywhere. We're going to figure a way to turn the corner with this."