Football Playoff Preview: Q&A With Lake Forest Coach Chuck Spagnoli

On the eve of the Scouts' first semifinal playoff game in 34 years, Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch chats with Coach Chuck Spagnoli about the keys to beating Cary-Grove Saturday.


Your opponent, Cary-Grove, is undefeated (12-0) this season. Why are they so good?

They are very good and balanced at every positon. There are not too many weaknesses that we can exploit. We have to understand what we are doing on each scheme and execute. Hopefully we can block and tackle. 

This is the first option team you have faced all season. How do you stop that type of offense?

It creates assignment football for your guys. Not that they don't have assignments (in other games), but they are more defined and they have who they got. They can’t worry about who their guy is versus following the ball. It starts with their fullback (senior Eric Norberg, who has rushed for 1,933 yards and 23 touchdowns this season) and their quarterback (senior Quinn Baker). The biggest thing is you have to be able to tackle and stay in your scheme. If you miss tackles they will make you pay. It's making sure you execute each time.

The game is on a Saturday (4 p.m. at Varsity Field), the first time you haven't played on a Friday all season. Any impact?

All we’ve done is move things back a day. (The game) Saturday will be the only thing different. We have a extra day to study our stuff and an extra day to prepare. If we win it will be a big bonus.

Do you have a number you feel you need to score offensively to win?

We don't look at it like we need (to score) 20 or 30 or 40. I do know what's important is not to get behind and not to get out of our rhythm. We want to convert and score on every possession.

This team has been through a lot this season. How has that helped them get to where they are now?

We've been in difficult spots, we've lived through some stuff. We won't be overwhelmed. They (players) deserve to enjoy some of this. They've made people feel pretty good about their program. A lot of good is going on. 

Lake Forest hosts Cary-Grove at Varsity Field Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. Be sure to read Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch for full coverage of the Scouts march to the state title game. 




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