Senior running back Joey Valdivia ran for 223 yards and scored three total touchdowns to lead the Forester football team to a 34-20 victory over visiting Beloit College on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
Valdivia scored on two of his 23 carries and on one of his three receptions that covered a total of 23 yards. His rushing yardage total is the fourth-highest in team history and his 9.6 yards per carry average on the day gives him four of the top nine performances in program history in that category.
Lake Forest finished with 240 yards on the ground and sophomore quarterback Jagan Cleary completed 18 of 29 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns. He connnected on a pair of scoring strikes to senior wide receiver Willie McIntyre, who finished with five receptions for 109 yards. Dating back to last season, he has caught at least one touchdown pass in seven straigh contests.
Junior safety R.J. Pompey and sophomore linebacker Jordan McInerney led the Forester defense with six tackles apiece and McInerney had the home team's only sack of the contest. Pompey also made an impact on special teams by blocking a punt to set up a score late in the first half. Senior safety Blake Waller, forced a third quarter fumble, junior linebacker David Nelson recovered it, and junior cornerback Chase Slagboom picked off a pass in the fourth.
Beloit actually scored the game's first six points on a pair of field goals. A Valdivia 15-yard touchdown run with 2:03 to play in the first half. After Pompey's blocked punt, Cleary hit McIntyre for a 24-yard touchdown and the home team led 14-6 at halftime.
A 6-yard touchdown run by Valdivia was the only score of the third quarter and McIntyre added to the Forester lead on a 41-yard score less than a minute into the fourth. After the Buccaneers pulled back to within two touchdowns at 27-13, Valdivia scored again on a 16-yard reception. Beloit closed out the scoring with a touchdown in the final minute.
Lake Forest out-gained Beloit 456-367 and possessed the ball for nearly seven more minutes than the visitors.
The Foresters will travel to Northfield, Minnesota, next Saturday to take on Carleton College. The game will begin at 1:00 p.m.