Trent Williams rolled a seven to help send Lake Forest to the state semifinals in football for the first time.
Williams recorded seven sacks Friday to spark the Lake Forest High School defense as the Scouts knocked off Notre Dame 31-19 Friday in the Class 6A quarterfinals in Niles.
“It was all my defensive linemen and defensive backs that gave me time to get to the quaterback,” said Williams, who also wears the number seven.
“I was just playing hard. That is what the coaches teach us to do and that’s what I did.”
Lake Forest coach Chuck Spagnoli was excited for his team, which became the first in four attempts to make it to the semifinals.
“Good for them,” Spagnoli said. “We are proud of them. Nobody knew in July that we would be here except for us. Good for us.”
Williams, who blasted off the edge like a rocket on most pass plays, gave fits to Notre Dame quarterback Dan Nagode. Williams, along with Richard Daniels, Thomas Kutschke, Jack Traynor and Jack Kutschke helped contain Notre Dame running back Chris James (39 carries, 160 yards).
“He is a dangerous player,” said Spagnoli, whose defense held James to three yards or less on 23 of his carries.
“And he certainly was the forefront of what we thought coming in. Turned out their passing game hurt us a lot more than we thought it might. But Williams played hard for us tonight.”
It was Williams’ first sack that led the Scouts’ first score.
Williams came up with a trifecta, sacking Nagode and stripping the ball in the process. Williams then fell on the ball at the Notre Dame 12 yard line. Two plays later, Stephen Cirame crashed over from the one to give the Scouts a 7-0 lead with 2:48 left in the first quarter.
Notre Dame (7-5) closed to 7-6 on the second play of the second quarter on a one-yard by Chris James.
But the Scouts (9-3) got their offense into high gear on their next two possessions as Lake Forest quarterback Andrew Clifford heated up, completing 7 consecutive passes, two of which that went for touchdowns.
Clifford hooked up on a 61-yard touchdown pass to Nick Giordano to make it 14-6 with 10:28 left in the first half.
After a defensive stop by the Scouts, Clifford guided an 8-play, 67 yard drive culminating with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Giordano as the scouts built a 21-6 advantage.
“We got into a great rhythm in the second quarter,” said Clifford, who was 12-of-15 for 162 yards in the first half. “We picked up the pace of our offense. That really tired them out and we took advantage of it.”
Notre Dame scored with just over 12 seconds left in the first half as the Dons closed to 21-13.
Lake Forest struggled offensively in the second half, failing to convert a first down until late in the third quarter. Meanwhile the defense continued to stymie James and Nagode, with Williams recording four of his sacks in the third quarter including back to back plays.
The Scouts added to their lead early in the fourth quarter when Baylor Broughton nailed a 27-yard field goal to make it 24-13. It was set up by a 38-yard option pass from Regis Durbin to Jack Troller that moved the ball to the Notre Dame 10-yard line.
Notre Dame finally got its offense in gear, putting together a 14-play 82 yard drive with James scoring on a two-yard run to make it 24-19 with 2:37 to play. But Williams again came up big on the two-point conversion, standing his ground to slow down Nagode on a bootleg while Traynor then sacked him from behind.
With just over two minutes to play, Lake Forest faced a third and five from their own 25-yard line. Clifford, who had completed just one of his last 10 pass attempts, calmly hit Troller on a crossing pattern for a key first down. Two-plays later, Cirame broke off a 56-yard touchdown run.
All that was left was for Geno Quaid to come up with his second interception of the game to send the Scouts into full celebration mode.
“We played tough for four quarters and made some big plays at the end,” Quaid said. “Our coaches gave us great schemes to get the guys covered. Trent (Williams) came off the edge and he is a madman.”
Lake Forest will host the winner of the Crystal Lake Central vs. Cary-Grove next Saturday in the class 6A semifinals.