Improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 of the season is always a major step forward for a high school football team.
Give Schaumburg a check mark for succeeding in that department on Friday night at its own Gary Scholz Stadium.
One week after a 27-14 triumph over New Trier, the Saxons didn't let up in a 35-7 Mid-Suburban League crossover victory over visiting Wheeling.
Schaumburg (2-0) pitched a shutout until the final two minutes and the offense kept the pressure on the Wheeling's defense most of the night, led by running back Sadarriss Patterson's two first-half touchdown runs (9 and 68 yards) for a 14-0 lead.
With linemen Matt Stopka, Matt Zolper, Justin Sanchez, Alan Graciano and Alex Piotrowski paving the way, Patterson gained 123 yards on 11 carries.
"We went from good (vs. New Trier) to somewhere between good and great," said Saxons' 5-foot-10 junior defensive back Ryan Woloszyk. "Our key was that we wanted to finish plays because we didn't do that and gave up 2 touchdowns in our first game."
Schaumburg quarterback Nick Anzelmo finished strong, running for a 1-yard TD and passing for a 35-yard score to Dom Saragaglia in the second half.
"I thought our offense came out with a little better focus in the second half," said Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling. "And that starts with Nick."
"We had a good pace but I could have been a lot better," Anzelmo said. "I had a fumble and interception in the first half and that is not acceptable. I've got to set the tone right away."
The Saxons' defense set the tone, getting some big plays from linebackers Conner Lapinsky and Blake Wittkamp, who booted all 5 extra points and had an interception.
Saxons junior Mike Fan had a couple of big quarterback sacks in the first half.
"Defensively, every time I looked up someone was making a big play," Stilling added. "Wheeling (1-1) played extremely hard. We knew they would work as hard as anyone."
Wildcats coach Brent Pearlman saw his team working hard to the last minutes, getting its first points when backup quarterback Amani Dennis engineered an 81-yard drive capped by his own 1-yard run with 1:52 left.
Dennis (44 yards) and Chad Mikosz (18 yards) combined for 62 yards rushing on the drive and Dennis passed for the rest of it.
"Amani did some nice things when he came in," Pearlman said of the 5-foot-9 sophomore. "He's a little athlete and that was fun to see."
Saxons fans had fun seeing their team's final TD as junior Stacy Smith returned a punt 58 yards for the 35-0 lead with 10:24 left in the game.
"I felt we didn't play with discipline," Pearlman added. "I thought our defense did some good things at times. But offensively, we really didn't help our defense. Our goal was to come out and fight at a high level. I think we have a lot more in us and I want to see it next week."