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Chirstopher Karamanos, (2), of Lake Forest Academy, scrambles out of the pocket while pursed by a Hales defender. | Vincent D. Johnson~for Sun-Times Media
If there was an object sailing over the football field at Hales on Saturday afternoon, there was a good chance it was landing in Joe Morrow’s outstretched arms.
The senior receiver burned the Lake Forest Academy secondary for three scores — including a 55-yard yard touchdown in the third quarter that he caught in stride on his way to the end zone — as Hales defeated the Caxys 34-14.
The Spartans’ offensive attack was littered with big plays by Morrow, quarterback Donovan Jenkins and running back Dale Johnson, but by all accounts, Lake Forest Academy drastically underperformed.
“Honest opinion, that was the worst game we’ve ever played,” quarterback Chris Karamanos said. “That was the worst game I’m ever been a part of. We didn’t do Day One stuff. I can rant all day, but I mean, we lost. We didn’t make any plays. That’s the bottom line.”
The Caxys did take the lead at 7-6 late in the first quarter, when Karamanos threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Alex Swanson. But they couldn’t muster much offense the rest of the way.
Perhaps the pivotal moment of the game came on the last play of the first half, when Hales defensive lineman Jerimiah Douchee erupted from his three-point stance and dragged Karamanos down on third and goal from the 1-yard line.
“I’m going to take blame for that one,” Caxys’ coach Robin Bowkett said. “I had a run-pass option and the pass was shut down, and I just didn’t tell our quarterback to throw it out of the end zone because we didn’t have any timeouts. I’ll take that one; I should have called something different.”
Bowkett said missing out on such a golden opportunity didn’t swing the momentum of the game, but Hales came out with a frantic fervor in the third quarter as Hales linebacker
Kendall Nowling picked off Karamanos on the Caxys’ opening series. Nowling was an unstoppable force in the second half, delivering huge hits on crossing receivers, stuffing the run, and generally firing up his teammates with his intensity.
He even drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the game for doing a shimmy after making a tackle.
Lake Forest Academy cut the lead to 28-14 after junior running back Mbasa Makiyana ran in a 6-yard touchdown, but Morrow’s third touchdown catch a series later sealed the Caxys fate.
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper on Thursday to read more about the Lake Forest Academy football team.