Lake Forest displays solid defensive effort despite 32-0 loss

FELTON – How do you put up a strong defensive effort, allow just one offensive touchdown, but still lose a football game 32-0?

It’s a rare spectacle to witness, but on Monday evening Lake Forest’s football squad gave us a glimpse as to how it can be accomplished: allow three defensive touchdowns and one special teams touchdown.

Woodbridge took the opening kick-off 73 yards for a touchdown, and converted the two-point conversion to take a quick 8-0 lead before either offensive unit could even touch the football.

With under five minutes to play in the first quarter, the Blue Raiders extended its lead by forcing a Lake Forest fumble and recovering it in the end zone for a touchdown.

Down 14-0, Lake Forest was forced to play from behind from the very start of the game, and the offensive line struggled to protect the quarterback. Woodbridge’s sophomore linebacker Jamon Kane returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown with 3:57 to play in the first half, handing the Blue Raiders’ a 20-0 lead.

The Spartans’ defense allowed just one offensive touchdown to the Woodbridge Blue Raiders all game––a 31-yard touchdown run with 40 seconds to spare in the half.

“The defense played great,” Lake Forest head coach Freddie Johnson said after the game. “We made them punt the ball, only gave up one offensive touchdown. So kudos to the defense.”

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Lake Forest went into the break trailing 26-0, and it was clear that a few players on offense weren’t happy with the performance they were putting up. On Lake Forest’s final possession of the first half, during an injury timeout, Spartans’ senior wide receiver Jaylen Farlow could be heard saying “why are we out here if we aren’t doing anything?” to his fellow teammates.

While the Lake Forest offense still couldn’t put any points on the board in the second half, and mistakes weren’t completely erased, the offensive unit did manage to make a couple of big plays. On the opening drive of the third quarter, junior fullback Elle Harden broke free for a 39-yard run, picking up one of the two first downs on the drive.

Although Lake Forest ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Woodbridge 15-yard line later in the drive, they showed signs of life on offense.

At the end of the third quarter of play, Woodbridge remained ahead by the halftime score of 26-0. The lone second half touchdown came with 25 seconds to play in the game, as junior quarterback Xavier Daniels––who filled in for junior quarterback Desaun Bizzell just prior to halftime––fumbled the football, which was picked up and returned for a touchdown by Woodbridge defensive lineman Shymere Vessels.

After watching his offense allow a blocked punt, lose two fumbles returned for touchdowns, and throw a pick-6 to the 4-0 Blue Raiders, Coach Johnson hopes to focus on improving his offensive line’s blocking in the coming weeks.

“We’re just going to look at the film, work on some blocking, and just try to get better. That’s all,” said Coach Johnson, who didn’t have much to say following the 32-0 defeat.

Lake Forest (0-4) has a short week of practice, as they’ll travel to Delmar for a match-up with the 2-2 Wildcats this Saturday.

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