Libertyville handles Lake Forest to keep playoff hopes alive
Shaun of the Dead?
Not senior running back Shaun Luce.
Nor any of his football mates at Libertyville.
The Wildcats kept their playoff hopes alive with Friday night's 23-10 defeat of host Lake Forest. Libertyville (4-4, 3-3 in the North Suburban Conference) needs a win against visiting Zion-Benton next weekend to become playoff-eligible.
"This was our second 'playoff game' tonight," said the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Luce, who opened the scoring with a 27-yard rushing touchdown on the first drive and exclamation-pointed the victory with a 57-yard TD dash at the 3:02 mark of the fourth quarter.
"We won our first 'playoff game' [29-7, over Mundelein] when we were 2-4 last week," added Luce, who finished with 102 yards on the ground and 61 more as a receiver.
Wildcats junior linebacker Trace Batesky came down with an interception on the Scouts' penultimate possession to add some more oomph to the triumph.
Lake Forest also exited its home turf with records of 4-4 and 3-3.
"They say you do your best work when your back is against the wall," Batesky said. "I needed a '90' on a Lit test last year to make sure I'd get an 'A' in the class."
Batesky got his "90" and cherished it as much as Libertyville treasured win No. 4 Friday night.
"We finally played well in all phases of the game," said Libertyville coach Mike Jones, whose gridders fell 16-9 to LF last fall. "Shaun, tonight, was awesome. He pops out there, gets his yards. Nothing flashy with him. Each week he's one of those going-about-his-business players."
Libertyville junior quarterback Blake Ellingson put up Fortune 500 numbers for the visitors, completing 25-of-34 passes for 248 yards, including a 15-yard TD toss to senior wideout Sean Wittenbrink at 8:29 of the final frame.
Ellingson's line, on that pass-heavy scoring trip: 6-of-8, 52 yards.
LF, down 8-0 at the half, had taken 10-8 lead in the final moments of the third quarter, thanks to an 87-yard TD run from Scouts sophomore running back Jahari Scott (24 rushes, 191 yards) and a 38-yard field goal from senior Kai Kroeger.
Wildcats senior Dylan Drumke caught 6 passes for a team-high 94 yards and threw a 2-point conversion to senior Will Murphy after the final TD; senior wideout Brian Stacy collected a team-best 7 receptions for 47 yards.
Libertyville defensive back Cole Fiorenza made a critical play late, breaking up a pass -- on a fourth down, with 4:47 remaining -- in the end zone. LF was down 15-10 at the time.