Stevenson (4-1) at Lake Forest (4-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30.
Where: Lake Forest High School, 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest.
Last year: Stevenson won, 41-20.
Last week: Lake Forest beat North Chicago, 56-12; Stevenson beat Libertyville, 13-0.
Last year's records: Lake Forest finished 7-4, lost in second round of Class 6A state playoffs to Crystal Lake South. Stevenson finished 9-0 and advanced to the Class 8A state quarterfinals before losing to eventual state champion Maine South.
Key Players: Lake Forest — Jordan Beck, quarterback; Bo Dever, receiver; Owen Williams, running back; Trent Williams, linebacker; John Marwede, lineman; Dominick Keefe, linebacker; Brandt Pfeifer, linebacker; Matt Wagener, linebacker, Jack Kutschke, lineman; Cam Dougless, receiver; Luke Brnardi, receiver. Stevenson —defensive linemen Arthur Polk and Blake Watson; Matt Morrissey, quarterback, safety, receiver; Matt Micucci., quarterback; Kevin Foley, running back; Carl Miller, linebacker; offensive linemen Joe Marchese, Samuel Goldsmith, Daniel Laner, Colin Wetzel and Jake Hurcombe; Zach Novoselsky, tight end; Dom Bickus, linebacker, Jon Way defensive lineman.
Quote: "Games like the one we have coming up we are not going to have one or three play drives. It’s not going to happen. They need to control the football not just for the sake of offense but also our defense," Lake Forest coach Chuck Spagnoli.
Lake Forest Will Win: If they are able to control the ball. Lake Forest won't enjoy the big play advantage that was so apparent in big wins over North Chicago or Mundelein. The Scouts have to prove they can sustain 9-to 12-play drives and cash in. Owen Williams is one key to that happening. The senior running back is fine with being the workhorse, but the Scouts need to keep Stevenson honest by using those quick hitters to Luke Bernardi, Bo Dever and Cam Douglass. Defensively, the Scouts need to use their speed to offset what will be one of the more physical teams they play this season. The Patriots will come straight at the Scouts at the start to see if they can run over and past them. They need to use the same gang-tackling mentality that has worked so effectively to this point. Kicking game may prove pivotal, and Baylor Broughton's 43-yarder at Zion-Benton two weeks ago is a good sign that Lake Forest can get points in several ways.
Stevenson Will Win: If Kevin Foley rushes for more than 100 yards and Stevenson is able to maintain control of the ball. Less possessions puts more pressure on Lake Forest to score and score quickly. If the Patriots defense applies pressure on Lake Forest quarterback Jordan Beck and disrupts an offense predicated on timing. The Patriots started Matt Morrison at quarterback last week, but Matt Micucci is the veteran. Morrison is the son of former Chicago Bear Jim Morrison. Micucci is also a proficient kicker - 5-for-5 in field goals. Anthony Bozin is back to catch passes, but Tony Radtke is doubtful with a sprained knee.
Intangibles: This is a crucial game for both teams. Stevenson is a perennial Class 8A state qualifier, and simply reloads every year thanks to a large student body that creates depth and endless talent. Last year, Stevenson rolled to an early 34-0 lead. The Scouts haven't faced a deficit since Week 1 against Buffalo Grove, so if the Patriots strike first, Lake Forest needs to answer back and not let the game get away.