Lake Forest pulls away from Kaneland
Kaneland stole the momentum early in the third quarter.
Lake Forest wrested it back with a clutch defensive stand and went on to blow out the visiting Knights 35-10 in Friday's Class 6A second-round playoff game.
Trailing 14-3 at the start of the second half, Kaneland caught a break when the Scouts were unable to field a bouncing kickoff. Senior Jimmy Marczuk pounced on the loose ball to put the Knights in business at the 18-yard line.
A 1-yard run and 3 incomplete passes later, the Scouts had dodged a bullet.
"We came up short on that drive and that was not what we needed," Kaneland senior quarterback Joe Smith said. "The momentum just went down."
No. 14 Lake Forest (7-4) responded with a 13-play, 81-yard drive, capped by Mac Uihlein's 4-yard touchdown run. The drive was kept alive when the Knights were called for pass interference on a fake punt. That gave the Scouts a first down at the 19-yard line.
No. 6 Kaneland (8-3) tried to get back in the game on the next possession. The Knights drove 40 yards in nine plays to the Lake Forest 31-yard line, but sophomore Leo Scheidler made a leaping interception over a receiver in the end zone to snuff out the drive.
It was the second interception of the game for Smith and one of 4 turnovers by the Knights.
"We missed too many touchdowns tonight and the turnovers killed us," Kaneland coach Pat Ryan said. "You can't turn the ball over in big games. We didn't do a good job of that. They capitalized on our mistakes."
The Scouts then put a stranglehold on the game by marching 80 yards in 10 plays. Uihlein again added the exclamation point with a 3-yard run. He would add a fourth-quarter touchdown to put his team ahead 35-3 with 6:20 remaining.
Lake Forest quarterback Richie Hoskins proved to be an unsolvable riddle for the Kaneland defense. The 6-foot-1, 165-pound junior carried the ball 14 times for 158 yards, including a pair of first-quarter touchdowns. He also completed 7 of 14 attempts for 121 yards.
"I'm reading defenders," Hoskins said of his success running the option offense. "When they make their move, I'm going to take it or I'm going to give it. Everybody did their job and played well. We just dominated and played Lake Forest football."
Kaneland was able to score a fourth-quarter touchdown when Smith connected with Max Gagne on a deep crossing pattern for a 69-yard score with 5:56 to play. Gagne made 9 catches for 193 yards. Smith finished with 268 yards on 17-of-33 passing, but much of that success came once the Knights were down big.
"They just had a really good pass rush and the guys who were covering covered well," Smith said. "It was just an all-around great defense. It was one of the best teams we've faced all season and they played well."
"Watching film, we learned a lot of tendencies so that was a big part of it," said Lake Forest senior defensive lineman Rylie Mills.
The Scouts advance to the quarterfinals to face the winner of No. 7 Kenwood (8-1) and No. 2 Deerfield (8-2).