Foresters Prevail at Illinois College, Will Host Chicago Next Week

Photo by Steve Frommell,
Photo by Steve Frommell,

Senior cornerback Chase Slagboom went end zone to end zone on an interception return to help lead the Lake Forest College football team to a 28-21 victory at Illinois College on Saturday.

Slagboom's return, which officially goes down as a 100-yarder even though he picked off the pass a few yards into the Lake Forest end zone, made the score 14-0 late in the first quarter. It was one of three Forester interceptions in the contest and preceded picks by fellow senior cornerback Trevor Bain and sophomore linebacker Johnny Laponte. In addition, junior linebacker Charlie Timmerman forced a second quarter fumble that was recovered by junior linebacker Tommy Galanopoulos.

The Foresters' other three touchdowns were scored by senior tailback Joey Valdivia, who rushed for 218 yards on 35 carries in the contest. He reached the end zone from 21 yards out in the first quarter and on a pair of one-yarders, the first with eight seconds remaining in the first half and the second five minutes into the second.

Valdivia's third touchdown of the game and 28th this season gave the visitors a 28-7 lead.

The Blueboys scored touchdowns with 2:37 left in the third quarter and with 9:10 remaining in the fourth. Their potential game-tying drive was stopped by Laponte's interception at the Lake Forest 31 with 5:56 to play. Forester junior quarterback Jagan Cleary then handed the ball to Valdivia on the next eight snaps and he gained a total of 54 yards to run out the clock.

Cleary completed 21 of 31 passes for 183 yards on the afternoon. He moved into fourth place in team history with 5,342 career passing yards and is now just 215 away from becoming the program's all-time leader in that category.

Junior wide receiver Chris Edomwande was Cleary's leading receiver with eight catches for 95 yards. His 60 receptions this year are tied for the fourth-highest single-season total in school history and he is just outside the top 10 with 785 receiving yards.

Lake Forest improved to 8-1 overall this season and finished Midwest Conference South Division play ranked second in the standings with a mark of 4-1. Illinois College fell to 4-5 overall and 3-2 and in third place in the division.

The Foresters will host the University of Chicago, the MWC North's second-place team, during MWC Championship Week next Saturday at noon.