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Lake Forest pulls away in second half to beat Cornell College, 41-10
Foresters score 3 touchdowns in third quarter to take control
MOUNT VERNON — A shot at victory turned.
Then, a shot in the foot that quickly turned into no shot at all.
Lake Forest took advantage of a couple second-half mistakes for a 21-point third quarter and pulled away from Cornell for a 41-10 Midwest Conference football victory Saturday at Van Metre Field at Ash Park.
The Rams (1-3, 1-2) was within a score at halftime and received the opening kick in the third. The tides turned when a fumble deep in their own territory, sacks, a tipped punt and three-and-outs were answered with three straight scores by Lake Forest (4-0, 3-0).
“That’s what good football teams are going to do,” Cornell Coach Dan Pifer said. “If you give them a break, they’re going to capitalize on it and then they’re going to try and bury you. That’s kind of what they did.”
Cornell converted third-and-3 with a Jordan Modrynski pass to Gavin Soukup on the first possession of the second half. On the next play, Lake Forest caused and recovered a fumble at the Rams 35. Five plays later, Tre Stewart hit Alan Hanson on a 2-yard TD pass for a 20-7 lead.
Stewart capped the Foresters’ next two drives with scoring strikes — a 15-yarder to Jake Kostoryz and an 8-yarder Seth Jelovic for a 34-7 edge to start the fourth.
“We come out the first series of the second half and fumble it and then it just snowballed,” Pifer said. “We couldn’t stop the bleeding, which is typical of a young team. They ride that momentum wave.
“In the second quarter, we got the momentum and started playing better. We just have to learn from it. We’ll get there.”
Stewart finished with 145 yards passing and three TDs. Damon Bonds powered Lake Forest’s rush attack. He had 174 of the team’s 325 yards on the ground. He scored on TD runs of 24 and 3 yards in the first half and added a 36-yard scoring run with 8:15 remaining.
The Cornell defense displayed some improvement from its first three games. The Rams had two big fourth-down stops in the first half, including on a fourth-and-goal from the 12 on a possession that began at the Rams 25 in the second quarter. They forced another turnover on downs, stopping the Foresters at the 2 in the last quarter.
Progress is there but each game remains a learning curve, according to senior defensive lineman Landon Lockington.
“We showed what we can be on some drives,” said Lockington, who notched the Rams’ lone tackle for loss. “We had a couple drives where field position didn’t help us either. We had our spurts where we were doing good things. Our young team showed a little bit, too.”
The first fourth-down stop led to the Rams’ first scoring drive. Cornell took over on its own 40. Modrynski scored on a 1-yard QB sneak, making it 14-7 about midway through the second quarter. Modrynski passed for 151 yards, teaming with Soukup five times for 41 yards. LaQuanta Crawford had 66 yards on two catches.
“He’s getting better every week,” Pifer said. “We’re starting to throw the ball more because he’s getting better and the wide outs are getting better.”
Pifer said injuries, inconsistencies and inexperience continue to hamper the Rams. Corrections get made and other mistakes rear their heads each week. Pifer said he is waiting for everything to click at the same time to match the team’s effort.
“It’s not showing on the scoreboard, but we are getting better,” Pifer said. “You want to win right now but next year it’s going to benefit us because a lot of guys are getting a lot of reps.
“They keep fighting. The guys never give up.”
Cornell heads to Appleton, Wis., to face Lawrence University next week.