Football Finishes Season with Comeback Win

Football ends their season with impressive performances from senior players.

By Thomas Gordon

To finish off the season, UChicago Football faced Lake Forest College for the fourth time in the past two seasons. The Maroons won the first meeting this season by 17 points at Stagg in September. It was a much colder afternoon for this kickoff compared to the last meeting; however, this chill did not cool down the offenses on their first drives of the game. The Foresters received the ball first and controlled the ball as they methodically moved their way down the field. Ultimately, the drive ended up in the endzone on a five-yard touchdown run with Lake Forest taking seven and a half minutes off the clock—a type of drive that could take the crowd out of the game if it is not responded to with a nice drive. 

Luckily, UChicago responded similarly with a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive giving their defense the time needed to rest for the upcoming Foresters’ drive. This rest gave the defense the time they needed to stop Lake Forest’s next drive to give the ball back to the productive Maroons offense. UChicago produced another long drive, using 14 plays to travel 75 yards into the end zone with fourth-year Dante Nepa hauling in the touchdown to take a 14–7 lead in the second quarter. However, the lead was short-lived as Lake Forest took advantage of good field position to tie it at 14–14. It seemed likely that UChicago was going to go into halftime with the lead as the potent offense drove down the field, but fourth-year quarterback Marco Cobian was intercepted on the one-yard line right before halftime. Similarly, on the first drive of the third quarter, the Maroons’ offense was able to move the ball, but ultimately stalled in the red zone and turned the ball over on downs. After that, both offenses slowed down as punts dominated the third quarter resulting in a 14–14 tie going into the final quarter of the season. 

Quickly the game as a competition was tilted on its head. The Foresters were driving near the red zone, but fourth-year linebacker Henry Winebrake forced a vital fumble to stop Lake Forest from taking the lead. Three plays later on offense, the Maroons scored on a 76-yard touchdown pass to retake the lead. On the ensuing kickoff, UChicago kicked a surprising squib kick that bounced off a Lake Forest player into first-year linebacker Matt Lynch’s hands. On the very next play, the Maroons executed a perfect flea-flicker for a 38-yard touchdown increasing their lead, and in three plays turned a 14–14 game into a 28–14 game. The Maroons were able to force another turnover on the next drive and put the game to bed with an 11-play touchdown drive. Lake Forest ultimately scored a consolation touchdown to make the final score 35–21. UChicago’s potent offense outgained Lake Forest by over 200 yards to cap a positive end to the season. The perfect gift in the last game on their collegiate career for the seniors was this victory. Ryan Montgomery, a third-year defensive back, put it perfectly: “Our main focus going into the game was giving our seniors a win in the final game of their careers. They worked so hard, improving this program over the four years they were here, and deserved a win in their last game more than anything. Thankfully we were able to get it done and beat Lake Forest for the fourth time in the past two years in an exciting game.”