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Heartbreak for Lakes
By Patricia Babcock McGraw | Daily Herald Staff

Lakes’ Justin Bergeron pulls in a first-quarter touchdown pass above Lake Forest defender Alexander Moore in round two of Class 6A playoffs Friday in Lake Forest.


George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

Lakes running-back Direll Clark is pulled down by a host of Lake Forest defenders Friday night in round two of the Class 6A playoffs in Lake Forest.


George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

Lakes quarterback passes under rush by two Lake Forest defenders at Lake Forest in round two of Class 6A state playoffs on Friday, Nov. 2.


George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

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Published: 11/3/2012 12:24 AM

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“Oh, yeah? Well, what do you think about this?”

“That’s nothing. Beat this.”

If there had been a running dialogue between Lakes and Lake Forest on Friday night, it might have sounded something like that. Over and over and over again.

This Class 6A second-round tilt between familiar North Suburban Conference foes was a game of monkey see, monkey do.

A touchdown by one team was matched by a touchdown from the other, almost immediately.

But then the pattern broke, and hearts were broken in the process.

In an emotional, dramatic finish, Lakes missed a 43-yard field goal with just six seconds remaining that would have not only matched a Lake Forest field goal made just 59 seconds earlier but also ensured a win and a trip to the quarterfinals.

The attempt by Lakes senior Brandon Brumm had so much leg that it hit the scoreboard, but it sailed wide left, just a smidge outside the upright, to preserve a 23-21 victory for Lake Forest.

As Brumm collapsed at midfield in agony, the Lake Forest sideline erupted.

The host Scouts, who improve to 8-3 and advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1993, had taken the lead moments earlier when their kicker, Baylor Broughton, nailed a 26-yard field goal that more than made up for a 39-yard field goal attempt he missed on Lake Forest’s first possession of the game.

“That was fun,” Broughton said of his game-winner. “I tried not to think about (the pressure). I just tried to treat it like practice. I told my holder to hold it like he does in practice.

“I’ve never made (a field goal) quite like this one before. I’ll remember this forever.”

For Lakes, which lost a hotly-contested regular season crossover to Lake Forest in Week 3, the disappointment of falling short again will be difficult to forget in an otherwise brilliant 9-2 campaign.

“I can’t believe it’s over. This is the worst feeling in the world,” said Lakes senior wide receiver Justin Bergeron, who came up with some amazing catches en route to 148 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns (on 4 receptions). “I’ve got to give it to Lake Forest. They’re a good team and I hope they keep advancing and representing our conference.

“This was a great game. I believed in Brandon (Brumm) 100 percent. It was just one of those things and that’s a tough situation for a high school kid. That’s hard, even all the way up in the NFL. I just hope he’s doing good right now. It’s hard to do a game-winning field goal. I give him all the credit in the world.”

Credit also was given to the Lake Forest defense, which limited Lakes star running back Direll Clark to just 46 yards on 17 carries. A 15-yard loss on Clark’s first carry of the game seemed to set the tone for the rest of the night.

“More than anything we tackled well,” Lake Forest coach Chuck Spagnoli said. “He didn’t really get away from us too much,”

The Eagles compensated by taking to the air. Quarterback T.J. Edwards completed 19-of-26 passes for 289 yards. Besides the 2 touchdowns he threw to Bergeron, Edwards also ran for a 1-yard touchdown. That one put the Eagles up 14-13 at halftime.

Lake Forest scored on its first possession of the third quarter when quarterback Andrew Clifford hit Nick Giordano with a 35-yard strike. But Lakes answered on the next possession with a Bergeron touchdown for 13 yards.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Lake Forest recovered a Lakes fumble and then Clifford moved the offense downfield. The Scouts drove 56 yards to set up the winning field goal.

“This is surreal right now,” said Clifford, who completed 15-of-24 passes for 167 yards. “On that last drive, it was either score points or go home and I knew we would score points. Everyone kicked it into gear.

“I couldn’t even watch (the field goal attempt). But then I heard the sideline erupt and I couldn’t be happier. This momentum that we got from this game shows that we’re not done at all. We’re just going to keep going from here.”

Lakes coach Luke Mertens, who watched with pride as his team drove 54 yards in less than a minute to put themselves within striking distance in the final seconds, only wishes he could keep going with this special group, which tied for the most wins in school history.

“Our senior class is a great bunch of kids and they’ve been so successful over the years,” Mertens said. “I’m going to miss joking around with them and hanging around with them and coaching them. They’ve been so great.”