Libertyville handles Lake Forest to keep playoff hopes alive

By Bill McLean
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/18/2019 11:31 PM

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.

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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.

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