Carollo delivers, Lake Forest football rolls Dunbar

LAKE FOREST —Danny Carollo wasn’t told he’d be leading the Lake Forest football team’s offense in Friday’s season opener until Monday.

The spirited quarterback competition between Carollo, a junior, and senior William Bro was the talk of Lake Forest’s camp. The 6-foot-2 Carollo rewarded the faith of the Scouts coaches Friday, benefitting from an opportunistic defense and a balanced running attack to lead Lake Forest to a 35-8 win over Dunbar at Varsity Field.

The first pass of Carollo’s varsity career was a touchdown. On the opening possession of the game, Lake Forest’s defense recovered a Dunbar fumble at the Mightymen 29-yard line. Five plays later, Carollo sailed a high pass that senior Matthew Hargitt snatched out of the air for a 2-yard touchdown catch. That gave Lake Forest a 7-0 lead with 9:10 remaining in the first quarter.

“I was pretty nervous before. It was a good first series,” Carollo said. “We had good blocking and we scored pretty easily.”

The pregame atmosphere was one of cautious optimism for Lake Forest. Carollo (7-of-9, 62 yards, 1 TD) was one of 16 new starters for the Scouts on Friday night. But after Carollo’s touchdown pass, the almost-capacity crowd at Varsity Field saw the Scouts’ confidence grow with every possession.

Lake Forest’s second offensive series started at midfield. A 21-yard pass from Carollo to senior running back Wes Janeck gave the Scouts first-and-goal at Dunbar’s 9-yard line. Janeck finished the five-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge to give the Scouts a 14-0 lead with 5:35 left in the first quarter. Janeck, playing after missing all of last year due to medical reasons, finished with 33 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.

“They were pretty good inside, so we went outside,” Janeck said. “We have [junior] Quinn [Julian] and a great offensive line. I think the offense can be a perfect balance.”

While the Scouts’ offense was sturdy and played with poise, their defense was simply stifling. Senior Jack Traynor was a one-man wrecking ball at linebacker. Lake Forest allowed just 91 first-half yards and forced four Dunbar turnovers. Senior Kyle Gattari converted one into a touchdown, intercepting a Demoria Harris pass and returning it 15 yards with 8:28 left in the first half. That made the score 28-0.

Lake Forest sat most starters in the second half, including Carollo (Bro took all the snaps at quarterback). Although there are still many questions about this Scouts team — the revamped secondary looked shaky — at least one was answered Friday night.

For now, this is Carollo’s team.

“I can’t think of a reason why not,” Scouts coach Chuck Spagnoli said.

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