Lake Forest's Hub Cirame (32) runs through open space during an IHSA Class 6A a quarterfinal game in Niles, Ill. on Friday, November 9, 2012. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
CLASS 6A QUARTERFINALS
Lake Forest 31, Notre Dame 19 (semifinal-round opponent will be CL Central or most likely Cary-Grove)
Crystal Lake Central (9-2) at Cary-Grove (11-0)
Lemont (10-1) at Oak Forest (10-1)
Ottawa (11-0) at Crete-Monee (11-0)
Updated: December 11, 2012 6:05AM
With all four phases of their game — offense, defense, special teams and fired-up student-fans — hitting on all cylinders, Lake Forest defeated host Notre Dame of Niles 31-19 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Class 6A football playoffs.
The Scouts (9-2 on the field/9-3 with a forfeit loss due to a teacher’s strike) will host either mighty Cary-Grove or Crystal Lake Central in next week’s semifinals.
This will be the Scouts’ second trip to the playoff semis in school history. In 1978, back when there were 16 teams in a class instead of the current 32, Lake Forest won two playoff games to reach the semis where they lost to Joliet Catholic.
Friday’s game proved to be a perfect storm for Lake Forest, with everybody on the team contributing.
On offense, quarterback Andrew Clifford (13-of-24 passing, 162 yards, 2 TDs, 0 picks) threw first-half TD passes of 61 and six yards to wideout Nicholas Giordano.
Lake Forest’s first score came with 2:48 left in the first period on a Steven Cirame one-yard run. He finished the game with 16 carries for 115 yards and two TDs. The defense set up the two-play, six-yard drive with a fumble recovery.
The Scouts led 21-13 at the half, surrendering a 34-yard TD pass with 12 seconds left in the half.
Neither team scored in the period, but that’s when Lake Forest’s Trent Williams took control of the game from his linebacker position. In the third quarter, he sacked Notre Dame quarterback Dan Nagode three times, then added a fourth in the final period.
Lake Forest built its lead to 24-13 with 11:17 left in the game on a 27-yard field goal by Baylor Broughton, who also excelled at getting the ball into the end zone on kickoffs to keep Notre Dame superstar Chris James from making a long return.
The field goal was set up by a halfback option pass on the second-to-last play of the third period.
After the field goal, Lake Forest stopped Notre Dame’s next drive as Gino Quade picked off a pass. But after a Scout punt, Notre Dame then drove for a touchdown that made it a 24-19 game.
James got the points on a two-yard run, one play after a pass-interference call in the end zone set up the Dons in point-blank range.
After the two-point converstion attempt failed, the Dons shunned the onside kick and Lake Forest started from its own 20.
After two short runs and two Notre Dame timeouts, Clifford completed his final pass of the game, a first-down throw that was followed two plays later by a 56-yard TD burst by Cirame that sealed the deal.
The triumph was especially impressive because Notre Dame, as a private school, normally would be playing in a higher class. However, because of a lack of recent playoff success, the Dons received an IHSA waiver that allowed them to not have to use the enrollment multiplier and play in Class 6A instead.
If Notre Dame had used the enrollment multiplier, it would have been a Class 8A-size school.