Foresters Celebrate Homecoming with Victory over Ripon

Photo by Kyra Vidas
Photo by Kyra Vidas

The Lake Forest College defense forced three turnovers and the offense continued to post historic numbers as the Forester football team defeated Ripon College 51-29 on Saturday.

Junior safety R.J. Pompey led the Forester defense with a dozen tackles, incluing eight solos, and he added his first interception and sack of the season. Sophomore linebacker Charlie Timmerman was next on the squad with 10 stops while freshman linebacker John Laponte and junior cornerback Trevor Bain had seven apiece. Sophomore linebacker Jordan McInerney forced a fumble that was secured by junior defensive end Tim Finucane and junior linebacker Pat McDonaugh also recovered a Red Hawk fumble.

Senior tailback Joey Valdivia, who entered the game leading the nation in rushing touchdowns, continued to score at a school record-setting pace. He carried the ball 23 times for 132 yards and reached the end zone four times in the game. His 15 rushing touchdowns on the season are just two shy of the program record with four games to play.

Forester sophomore quarterback Jagan Cleary completed 19 of 25 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns. His completion percentage on the day ranks fourth in team history and his pass efficiency rating of 192.54 is sixth. Two of Cleary's touchdown passes were caught by senior wide receiver Alex Pasiewicz. Pasiewicz had four receptions for 123 yards on the day and, one week after surpassing 1,000 career kickoff return yards, he reached the same milestone for career receiving yards. Senior running back Charlie Quinn led the home team with six receptions and also caught one of Cleary's touchdown passes.

Junior kicker/punter Charles Courtney connected on a 24-yard field goal, his first of the season, and on six of seven extra point attempts. He also averaged a season-high 34.5 yards on four punts with a net of 33.0.

The teams combined for five scoring drives in as many possessions in the opening quarter. Lake Forest took the early lead on a 22-yard touchdown run by Valdivia and, after Ripon tied the score at seven, Courtney's field goal regained the lead for the home team. The Red Hawks reached the end zone again but Lake Forest answered on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Cleary to Pasiewicz to pull ahead 16-14.

After Pompey's interception and a couple of punts, the Foresters took over on their own 40-yardline and immediately scored on another touchdown pass from Cleary to Pasiewicz. McDonaugh's fumble recovery 50 seconds later gave the Lake Forest offense the ball on the Ripon 28. Valdivia scored four plays later to make the score 30-14. The Foresters got the ball back with 2:10 remaining in the half and traveled 63 yards in eight plays, the last another touchdown run by Valdivia.

Lake Forest went into the locker room at halftime leading 37-14 but surrendered touchdowns on Ripon's first two possessions of the second half. A two-point conversion on the second score cut the Forester lead to eight points.

Cleary completed third down passes to sophomore wide receiver Chris Edomwande and freshman wideout Stanford Ellis to keep the home team's next drive alive and Valdivia finished it off with a 3-yard touchdown run with 14:32 to play in the game. The Red Hawks punted on their first two possessions of the fourth quarter and turned the ball over on downs on the third. Cleary's touchdown pass to Quinn with 2:46 to play closed out the scoring.

Lake Forest is now 4-2 overall this season and 2-2 in Midwest Conference play. Ripon fell to 1-5 overall and 1-3 in the league.

The Foresters will travel to Macalester College next weekend with Saturday's kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m.