Foresters' Comeback Attempt against Ripon Falls Just Short

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The Forester football team was defeated 29-24 by visiting Ripon College on Saturday in the Midwest Conference opener for both teams. Lake Forest junior wide receiver Austin Sobey caught a pair of touchdown passes in the contest.

Sobey finished 79 receiving yards on a team-high six catches. Senior Kevin Davis hauled in four passes and led the receivers with 95 yards. Junior quarterback Pete Scaffidi completed 20 of 27 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception. Sophomore tailback Al Mitchell was the home team's leading rusher with 76 yards on 15 carries and also added 15 yards on five receptions.

Sophomore linebacker Jordan Cruz and defensive lineman Michael Garetto-Balmer led the Forester defense with 10 tackles apiece and senior safety Luke Butts added nine.

Ripon received the opening kickoff and drove 72 yards in 11 plays before kicking a 25-yard field goal.

Lake Forest responded with a 12-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard field goal by junior Dominick Campagna. Scaffidi connected on a 20-yard pass play to Davis during the possession and added a 10-yard run of his own to set up first-and-goal.

Ripon's next drive lasted 11 plays, covered 78 yards, and extended into the second quarter. The scoring play was a 12-yard run. After a Forester turnover, the Red Hawks needed just three plays to travel 38 yards to the end zone and take a 17-3 lead.

Lake Forest was forced to punt and the ensuing Ripon possession covered 13 more plays but ended with a failed attempt to convert on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yardline.

The defensive stand clearly motivated the home team and the offense took advantage with a 7-play, 99-yard drive to trim the deficit to 17-10. Scaffidi completed a 49-yard pass to Davis on the drive's first play to reach midfield. Sophomore wide receiver, who did not see any action in 2010 due to injury, caught his first career pass to move the ball into Ripon territory and then made a diving catch of a 19-yard pass from Scaffidi in the end zone for his first touchdown.

The Red Hawks reached the Forester 37-yardline on their final possession before a long pass was picked off by sophomore Darrius McKay. McKay's first career interception kept the score at 17-10 going into the locker room at halftime.

Ripon forced Lake Forest to punt on the first possession of the second half and then recorded a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to extend its lead to 23-10.

Mitchell started the next Forester drive with a 2-yard reception and three carries for a total of 22 yards to the Ripon 31. Thee more rushes by the home team took the ball to the 17, setting up Sobey's first touchdown reception of the day. Campagna's extra point made the score 23-17 with six minutes left in the third quarter.

Both of the teams turned the ball over on downs on their next possessions. Ripon then embarked on a 7-play, 64-yard touchdown drive but came up short on its two-point conversion attempt.

Junior tight end Justin Smith got the Foresters' next drive going with his first career reception, a 22-yard catch on third-and-10 from the Lake Forest 10-yardline. Scaffidi completed eight passes for 96 yards on the scoring drive, including a 12-yard reception by Sobey for the touchdown. The extra point brought the home team to within five point with 2:51 to play.

An onside kick was unsuccessful but the Forester defense stepped up and stopped the Red Hawks on downs at the Lake Forest 34 with 1:47 on the clock.

The comeback attempt was thwarted, however, on the first play of the drive by a Ripon interception, which sealed the Red Hawk's 29-24 victory.

The Foresters will be at home again next Saturday afternoon when they take on Illinois College at 1:00.

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