Junior wide receiver Chris Edomwande caught eight passes and accounted for 163 of the Lake Forest College football team's program record 623 yards of offense in a 42-26 victory Saturday night at Lawrence University.
Edomwande was one of two Forester wide receivers to surpass 100 yards in the contest as senior Isaac Barthelmess covered 105 yards on eight catches against the team he played for as a freshman. Both players established new career highs for receptions and yards.
Forester junior quarterback Jagan Cleary posted the highest single-game completion percentage on Saturday, connecting with receivers on 23 of 26 passes (88.5%) for 303 yards and a touchdown to Edomwande. His pass efficiency rating in the contest was 199.05, which ranks seventh in program history and gives him seven of the top nine such performances in team annals.
While the passing game was successful, more than half of the visitors' yards came on the ground. The team was once again led by senior tailback Joey Valdivia, who carried the ball 30 times for 268 yards and five scores. Valdivia moved past Corey Honore into second place in school history with 3,145 rushing yards in his career and already has 784 yards on the ground in just three games this season. He was one shy of the program record for touchdowns in a game, a mark he already shares, and now has 10 rushing scores and a dozen touchdowns overall on the year.
Senior safety R.J. Pompey led the Lake Forest defense with eight tackles and his interception near the goal line late in the contest all but clinched the victory. Sophomore linebacker Johnny Laponte and junior linebacker Charlie Timmerman were next on the team with seven stops apiece. Lake Forest's defense recorded seven tackles for loss, including three sacks, on the night.
Lawrence took the early lead in the contest on a game-opening touchdown drive that consumed more than six minutes off the clock. The Foresters responded just 91 seconds later with a 62-yard touchdown pass from Cleary to Edomwande. The extra point by sophomore kicker/punter Michael Bounds tied the score at seven. It was the first career point for Bounds. The Foresters stopped the Vikings on their next possession and embarked on a 9-play, 66-yard scoring drive that ended with a 9-yard run to the end zone by Valdivia, giving the visitors a 13-7 lead after the first quarter.
The Foresters reached the red zone on their next drive but fumbled the ball back to Lawrence. The home team took advantage of Lake Forest's only turnover of the evening and traveled 80 yards in seven minutes and 44 seconds, taking a 14-13 lead with 5:18 remaining in the half. The visitors then took their turn at a long, time-consuming possession, taking up four minutes and 43 seconds on a 75-yard drive that ended with a 14-yard scamper to the end zone by Valdivia. Cleary connected with Edomwande on the two-point conversion to make the score 21-14 at halftime.
A 5-yard touchdown run by Valdivia capped off a 76-yard drive to start the second half but Lawrence returned the favor with a 70-yard touchdown drive to pull to within eight points. The Foresters punted for the only time in the game on their next possession but the home team was forced to do the same and the score was still 28-20 with a quarter to play.
Valdivia scored from 61 yards away just 37 seconds into the final stanza but, after a long return on the ensuing kickoff, Lawrence answered with a touchdown exactly three minutes later. For the second time in the half, however, Bounds was successful on his extra point attempt while the Viking kicker was not, leaving the home team with a 35-26 deficit. Valdivia started the next drive with a 58-yard run and, two plays later, took it in from a yard out to close out the scoring. The Lake Forest defense forced Lawrence to punt on the next possession and, after the visitors turned the ball over on downs to end a fairly long drive, Pompey thwarted the Vikings next attempt to score when he picked off a pass at the 2-yard line. He returned the ball past midfield but a penalty took it back to the Forester 27, where the offense was able to run out the final 2:31 of the game.
Lake Forest remained perfect on the season at 3-0 while Lawrence fell to 1-2.
The Foresters will host Macalester College next Saturday afternoon at 1:00. It will be Benny Watters Community Day, which will include several fun activities for fans of all ages.