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Lake Forest riding high in Midwest Conference

Lake Forest’s Pete Scaffidi has passed for 1283 yards 13 touchdowns. | Courtesy Lake Forest

Lake Forest’s Pete Scaffidi has passed for 1,283 yards and 13 touchdowns. | Courtesy of Lake Forest

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Updated: November 19, 2012 3:25PM

With an adjustment on offense and a big step forward on defense, Lake Forest has been the surprise of the Midwest Conference this season.

The Foresters (6-1, 6-0) haven’t had a winning season in conference play since 2007 and were 3-7 in 2011, but they are alone atop the standings after a 28-24 victory Saturday at Monmouth. Next up is a home game against Cornell (3-3, 3-2).

Fourth-year coach Jim Catanzaro said part of the difference is leadership from his senior captains — quarterback Pete Scaffidi, running back Al Mitchell and defensive lineman Jake Rotkvich. Another part is offensive consistency, with coordinator Craig Kerr in his third year.

The offense has evolved.

‘‘Last year we were slinging it all over the place, and this year we’re more of a pro-style, two-back type of offense,’’ Catanzaro said.

He said Scaffidi ‘‘is still flourishing within that, being a great game manager.’’

Scaffidi has completed 123 of 204 passes for 1,283 yards and 13 touchdowns, with senior Austin Sobey (40 catches, 558 yards) as the receiver he turns to in the clutch. A three-man running back corps — Mitchell (602 yards), freshman Joey Valdivia (319) and junior Alec Howe (230) — has contributed to a potent offense that is averaging 27 points.

Valdivia came up big late against Monmouth, scoring the winning touchdown on a 43-yard run with 2:25 left. He finished with 126 yards.

‘‘We told him after the game
he inspired an entire team with how hard he was running,’’ Catanzaro said.

Rotkvich and senior defensive back Aidan Price have led a defensive turnaround. The Foresters allowed 40 points a game last season but are yielding only 19 a game this season.

‘‘This year we’re the second-leading defense in the conference,’’ Catanzaro said. ‘‘So those two guys have really helped step the program defensively in the right direction.’’


Sophomore running back Andrew Maddox ran wild with a school-record 355 yards on 40 carries as Concordia-Chicago (6-0, 3-0 Northern Athletics Conference) squeezed past host Concordia-Wisconsin 47-44 in overtime.

In NAIA play, Nick Pesek tied a school record with three touchdown runs among his 11 carries for 176 yards as No. 8
St. Xavier (5-1) cruised 45-7 at Siena Heights in Adrian, Mich.

Honors for Elmhurst

The College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin chose Elmhurst players as offensive and defensive players of the week after the Bluejays (5-1, 2-1) outscored Wheaton 35-30. Scottie Williams (179 yards, two touchdowns) took offensive honors, and linebacker Wayne Tuckson (12 tackles, 57-yard interception return for a touchdown) was tops on defense.

Meanwhile, North Central (5-1, 3-0), which romped past North Park 58-17, rose one spot to No. 9 in the Division III rankings. The Cardinals have won 19 consecutive CCIW games, the last 18 by 20 or more points.

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