Beloit, WI -- The 2017 Buccaneer football program kicked off the season in Strong Stadium against the Lake Forest Foresters on Saturday. The Buccaneers showed tremendous grit and desire, but fell just short of a comback, losing to Lake Forest 37-27.
"All Hands on Deck" has been a motto this year thus far for Coach Duerr's program, and it was extremely apparent in Strong Stadium on Saturday. Big plays, heart, and hustle were the keys to the game with contributions from every Buccaneer who touched the field.
The first quarter would wind up 6-6, after a blocked PAT for the Foresters, and a missed one for the Bucs. Lake Forest would open up their offense in the second quarter, putting 21 points on the board to the Bucs 7.
Punter/Kicker Andy Berlin wouldn't let the missed XP slow his day down, consistently dropping the ball over the deep returner's heads of Lake Forest, totaling up 172 yards in the air. Berlin, along with the Buccaneer kicking unit, almost pulled off a great "gadget" kick, hitting the ball off the back of the head of a Forester return man, but Lake Forest ended up recovering the kick.
At Quarterback, Ben Sposito garnered a touchdown on the ground and in the air, before aggravating an injury. Erick Mitchell came in relief of Sposito, and did a fantastic job managing the game for the Buc offense.
Travis Price, Ryan Sughroue, Jamiel Garcia, and Abraham Quijas all had a big hand in the air attack for the 2017 Bucs. Sughroue's big contribution came in a 30 yd catch and run, right over the top of the Forester defense.
Sophomore LB Andrei Prikhodko pulled in an errant Jagan Cleary pass for the only INT of the game, which set up a pivotal Buc offensive series already deep in Lake Forest territory.
On Lake Forest's side, senior running back Joey Valdivia proved to be the difference, running in 2 TD's, while also pulling one down in the air from Jagan Cleary.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Buccaneers only trailed 34-20, and the flow of the game seemed to be ebbing towards Beloit. However, The Bucs could only find the end-zone one more time, as Travis Price was able to haul in a pass from Erick Mitchell. The Foresters would add the insurance field goal at the end, to finish the game at 37-27.
Lake Forest moves to 1-0, while the Bucs fall to 0-1 after game one. Lake Forest hosts Carleton College next Saturday, September 9th while Beloit will travel to Knox College to take on the Prairie Fire at 1 PM.