Senior tailback Joey Valdivia finished with 295 rushing yards to help lead the Forester football team to a season-opening 37-27 triumph at Beloit College on Saturday.
Valdivia carried the ball 36 times on the day, averaging 8.2 yards per attempt, and reached the end zone twice on the ground and once on a reception. He is now the program's career leader with 252 points and 42 total touchdowns.
Sophomore wide receiver Stanford Ellis and junior wideout Chris Edomwande also had receiving scores as junior quarterback Jagan Cleary moved into fifth place in team annals with 32 career touchdown passes. Ellis led the squad with five receptions for 55 yards.
Four players on the Forester defense reached double figure in tackles, led by senior linebacker Pat McDonaugh and junior linebacker Charlie Timmerman with 13 apiece. Senior linebacker Michael Cole finished with 11 stops while senior defensive lineman Hector Mendoza added 10. Mendoza had a pair of sacks and matched Timmerman and sophomore defensive lineman J.W. Windsor by accounting for three of the visitors' 16 tackles for loss in the contest.
The Foresters never trailed but Beloit answered their first two scores. Valdivia's 20-yard touchdown reception gave Lake Forest the early lead but the Buccaneers tied the score at six later in the opening quarter. After Valdivia ran the ball in from a yard out and the home team scored its second touchdown of the game to make the score 13-13, the Forester tailback gave his team the lead for good on another 1-yard run late in the first half.
Ellis caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Cleary and Edomwande a 13-yarder in the third quarter but Beloit pulled back to within seven points after each score. Finally, a 20-yard field goal by senior kicker Charles Courtney late in the game closed out the scoring. The Lake Forest defense turned Beloit over on downs and Valdivia ran out the clock to secure the victory.
The Foresters also opened the 2016 season with a victory over Beloit and are now 39-32-11 all-time against the Buccaneers.
Lake Forest will play the first of six home games this season next Saturday against Carleton College. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and will be preceded by the team's annual on-field Heroes Day festivities.