The injury-riddled Lake Forest football team ended its season on a high note winning the Battle of the Bell at Briggs Stadium Thursday night. Head coach Fred Johnson’s Spartans scored on their opening drive to take a 7-6 lead they would never relinquish. That first offensive series featured senior quarterback Jonathan Tyndall who has missed nearly his entire season due to a leg-related injury. Tyndall passed downfield to Jaymeire Snell for 33 yards on the initial play from scrimmage, and would go on to play a few more downs eventually taken out after a “hard hit”. He was inserted back into the game when Lake went to the “victory formation” late in the final quarter.
The Milford Buccaneers honored 18 seniors prior to the game on Senior Recognition night. The Bucs promptly took the opening kickoff and marched 57 yards in 8 plays culminating with a 17 yard touchdown run by DenNare Horsey to lead 6-0. However Lake answered on a 3 yard score by Ne’Von Pierce on their first possession. Senior Aidan Garey converted on the point-after try to give his team a 7-6 lead. The Spartans scored twice in the second quarter on a 55 yard pass from Pierce to Josiah Smith and a 28 yard run by fullback Nikhai Cooper, thus taking a 21-6 advantage at the half.
Lake Forest increased its lead to 27-6 as Snell used his speed on a 26 yard touchdown run. The two teams then traded scores with five total touchdowns made in the third stanza. Snell and Cooper both tallied their second touchdowns of the night in the 3rd, while Milford thrilled the home crowd on an 80 yard run by Charles Shorts and a 1-yard “sneak” by Jack Hudson. Lake appeared to have the game “in hand” with a 40-20 lead heading into the final twelve minutes but coach Jed Bell’s Bucs would not go quietly into the night.
Shorts ran 46 yards with 8:30 left, and Horsey galloped 55 for a touchdown just five minutes later that closed the gap to 40-34. Milford attempted an onside kick and almost recovered, but the Spartans grabbed the loose ball and scored on the very next play as Snell ran 53 yards that ended the scoring.
Lake Forest keeps the Battle of the Bell trophy for the third straight year. The Spartans ended the season at 2-3 in district play and 4-6 overall. Snell paced the team with three touchdowns as he rushed for over 200 yards. Cooper added another 141 yards and two scores.
Milford was led by Shorts and Horsey, both gaining over 150 yards on the ground as they both finished their final season with more than 1,000 yards. The Buccaneers secured their first winning season since 2017 with a 6-4 record under first-year head coach Jed Bell.
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