Foresters Score 70, Improve to 7-0

Photo by Steve Frommell,
Photo by Steve Frommell,

Junior quarterback Jagan Cleary led his team to the end zone on seven of eight first half possessions as the Lake Forest College football team routed visiting Grinnell College 70-6 on Saturday.

Cleary completed 17 of 21 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns in his two quarters of play. His .810 completion percentage on the day ranks second in program history and his 222.5 quarterback efficiency rating is fourth, giving him six of the top 10 marks in team annals. Cleary also surpassed 5,000 career passing yards, becoming just the fifth signal-caller in program history to reach that milestone.

Four of the Foresters' first half drives ended with senior tailback Joey Valdivia with the ball in the end zone. He rushed for 224 yards on 19 carries and now has four games with at least 220 yards this season. With 1,359 yards on the year, he needs just 176 to match the team record he set a season ago.

Freshman Chase Allen led the Lake Forest receivers with nine receptions and 131 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Junior Chris Edomwande also caught a touchdown pass from Cleary in the first half and sophomore quarterback Billy Degnan connected with sophomores Frankie Ramirez and Stanford Ellis on scoring strikes in the final two quarters. Degnan and fellow backup quarterback Zach Wade combined to complete 8 of 11 passes for 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns with Wade also scoring on a 14-yard run in the second half.

The Forester offense set a program record with 681 total yards and the unit's 358 yards through the air is the seventh-highest single-game total in school history.

The home team's defense was also successful on Saturday, limiting the Pioneers to just 208 total yards and only 97 on the ground. Senior defensive end Tim Finucane, sophomore nose guard J.W. Windsor, junior linebacker Charlie Timmerman, and freshman linebacker James Eidt shared team-high honors with six tackles apiece. Freshman linebacker Michael Salazar turned in the Foresters' only sack of the contest and senior cornerback Trevor Bain and freshman safety Nick Pilafas each had an interception.

Junior Nick Edlund returned a pair of kickoffs for a total of 44 yards and Bain matched those numbers in the punt return game. The highlight on special teams was the program record 10 extra points made by senior Charles Courtney, who had tied the previous mark of eight just a week ago. Courntey now has 32 extra points this season, the second-highest total in team history.

Lake Forest reached the end zone on all five of its drives in the opening quarter and on its first possession in the second. The only time the Foresters did not score in the first half was when Ellis fumbled when attempting to stretch the ball over the goal line. The home team also scored touchdowns on three of five possession in the second half with an interception in the third quarter and its only punt of the day in the fourth.

The Foresters are now 3-0 in Midwest Conference South Division play this season and 7-0 overall for the first time since the 1938 team finished the year with that record. Grinnell fell to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the division.

Lake Forest will host Monmouth College (6-1, 3-0 MWC South) next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. with first place in the MWC South on the line.