Shaffer, Libertyville finish up against Lake Forest Academy
There were no "close-but-no-cigar" moments for Cam Shaffer this time.
And what a relief that was. The Libertyville senior wide receiver had way too many "almost touchdowns" last season.
"Last year, I had a solid amount of receptions and yards, but no touchdowns," Shaffer said. "I was always stopped at like the 1-yard line. Last year, that happened at least six times. It was crazy."
Shaffer got his first varsity touchdown reception on Saturday at Lake Forest Academy. In fact, he got a second one as well, as Libertyville rolled to a 48-0 nonconference victory.
Shaffer's first touchdown was a 25-yard pass from quarterback Riley Lees late in the first quarter. His second came in the second quarter on a 25-yard pass from backup Jack Ruskell, who replaced Lees before halftime because the score had gotten lopsided quickly.
"After Riley threw that first touchdown to me, he came up to me and said, 'That's for all the times you were stopped at the 1-yard line last year,' " said Shaffer, who finished with 3 catches for 55 yards. "Going into the end zone is 10 times a better feeling. Riley is my best friend. We just always want to pick each other up. We've had that connection since eighth grade."
Lees, arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the Chicago area, saw more of the sideline than he ever has over the last few years. He rushed just seven times (for 77 yards) and attempted only 5 passes. Yet, he still scored 3 touchdowns, including an impressive 48-yard run during which he jetted past everyone down the sideline.
"No, I'm not (used to such little playing time). It's weird," Lees said with a laugh. "Probably won't be much more of that this season."
The schedule will get much tougher for Libertyville with North Suburban Conference play starting next week. Reserves who might not see much action for the rest of the season got plenty of playing time against Lake Forest Academy.
All three of Libertyville's quarterbacks passed for touchdowns. Ruskell went 2-for-2 for 47 yards. Both passes were touchdown passes. Third-stringer Mike Schaffer also threw a touchdown in the third quarter, a 7-yarder to reserve wide receiver Lucas Rossetti.
"That's the nice thing about having the roster size we do," Libertyville coach Mike Jones said. "We have the flexibility and we have the guys who can step in and play. We had a guy who is not one of our starting linebackers (Cam Hays) step in and get 2 interceptions today. That's huge. He's in the right place and doing everything we're asking him to do."
By halftime, Libertyville was up 41-0 and a running clock was in effect for the entire second half.
The Libertyville defense held Lake Forest Academy to just 5 first downs and 39 total yards of offense.
"They've got a lot of good players and good coaches. It's tough," Lake Forest Academy coach Robin Bowketts said of Libertyville. "But our kids don't back down. We just need to keep fighting and sticking together.
"Last year, we started 0-3 and finished 4-5. Two years ago, we started 0-4 and finished 4-5. Those first couple weeks, we worked through our kinks and got better every day. We'll be OK."