By Marty Farmer
To borrow a line from New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra, the Riverside-Brookfield High School football team must have felt like it was "Déjà vu all over again," after Friday's 35-10 loss to visiting Lake Forest in opening –round action of the Class 6A state playoffs.
Previously, the Scouts spoiled the Bulldogs' post-season aspirations by dealing them an equally uneven 40-7 loss at home in the 2016 state playoffs.
Unfortunately, this year's rematch offered no revenge for the Bulldogs.
"In the simplest terms, Lake Forest played a good football game and we did not," RBHS coach Brendan Curtin said. "Unfortunately, we had costly turnovers as well as penalties at critical moments over the course of the night.
"It would be incredibly difficult to overcome that adversity in any regular season game and nearly impossible to prevail in a playoff game against one of the top 32 teams in Class 6A." he added. "We were prepared and expected a tough battle but credit goes to Lake Forest for getting the W."
RBHS took an early 3-0 lead on Saturday when kicker Colin Riordan converted 25-yard field goal before the Scouts reeled off three touchdowns to take the lead for good. The Bulldogs battled back, however, when senior quarterback Hunter Hughes threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to his favorite target Stefan Giminski, RBHS drew within 21-10.
The Scouts tacked on two touchdowns, however, to seal a 35-10 victory.
Lake Forest running back Bryan Ooms provided most of the damage against RBHS by scoring three touchdowns.
The Scouts move on to face Hoffman Estates in the second-round of the 6A playoffs, while RBHS closes out the season with an 8-2 record.
Under Curtin, the Bulldogs turned in another terrific season. Offensively, the explosive trio of seniors Hughes, running back Nicolas Del Nodal and Giminski fueled a potent unit that scored in a variety of ways. Defensively, the Bulldogs flourished with contributions from many hard-hitting players including Anthony Walsh, Jeff Bills, Dominick Rowe and Giminski, among others.
"Our kids played hard until the very end and I very proud of that," Curtin said. "The graduating varsity players will leave with an impressive overall record of 15-5.
"More importantly, they are recognized as exceptional student-athletes and leaders within our school and community. In so many ways their lives are just beginning, and I think when they look back on their 'football days,' they will smile. It's truly been a blessing to be called their coach."