Visiting Grayslake North and senior quarterback AJ Fish were almost unstoppable Friday night in their nonconference football game at Round Lake.
The Knights scored on their first six possessions, all on touchdown runs by Fish, before a 2-yard TD run by Titus Booker as time ran out gave Grayslake North an insurmountable 49-0 halftime lead.
The Knights (2-0) added a TD midway through the third quarter before posting a 55-13 victory as the entire second half was played with a running clock.
Grayslake North got rolling right away with its no-huddle offense as Fish marched his squad down field on a 7-play, 58-yard scoring drive.
Fish ran left before a quick cutback to the right for a 4-yard TD run. The first of 7 extra point kicks by junior Bernard Drewno made the score 7-0 just 2:42 into the contest.
Round Lake (0-2) struggled mightily against the stubborn Knights' defense in the first half as the Panthers had a total of 3 yards rushing and no yards passing due to many sacks and negative yardage plays.
A short punt led to Grayslake North's second scoring play as Fish hit senior teammate Anthony Diggs streaking down the left sideline for a 35-yard pass play down to the Round Lake 1-yard line.
A 1-yard keeper by Fish boosted the lead to 14-0 with 6:56 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Knights' offense got moving again on their third possession as the first of two interceptions by senior Vincent Smith gave Grayslake North the ball on the Round Lake 29.
Three plays later, Fish faked a pass and scored on a 9-yard run to make the score 21-0 with 4:48 left in the first quarter.
After Round Lake's next drive stalled, the Knights took over at the Panthers' 37. But a sack on the second play put the ball back on the 47-yard-line on third down.
Then on fourth down, Fish hit Charlie Pine blazing down the right sideline for a 30-yard pass play and a first down at the 14.
Two plays later, Fish broke free going left and scored on a 7-yard TD run for a commanding 28-0 advantage with 22.9 seconds left in the first quarter.
"We like to pass and run, but the running lanes were open tonight so we took them," said Fish, who ran for 180 yards on 16 carries. "This is what we needed with a big win right here, but this is only the beginning."
The Knights' offense kept the pressure on the Round Lake defense in the second quarter as Fish faked a hand off to Booker (86 yards on 11 attempts) before bolting down the middle of the field for a 52-yard TD run and a 35-0 lead with 10:19 left in the period.
Then Fish scored on an 18-yard TD run going up the middle again for a 42-point lead less than three minutes later.
"When things go right, things go right for us and we took advantage of a couple of turnovers in the first half," said Grayslake North coach Steve Wood, whose team got 329 yards of offense from Fish in one half of play. "Fish had a great game, but we've got to be able to spread it around and take the pressure off him so he doesn't think he has to do everything."
The Knights went ahead 55-0 when Dylan Foster hit Pine with a 4-yard TD pass.
The Panthers' offense came alive in the fourth quarter as junior John Ridley hit Chris Washington with a 55-yard TD pass as Washington hauled in the pass off a deflection before heading to the end zone.
Round Lake's kicker booted the extra point an extra 15 yards due to a penalty following the TD.
The Panthers added another TD when Ridley (138 yards passing) hit Steven Handy near the left corner of the end zone with 23.3 seconds to play to account for the final score.
Fish was 9-for-15 for 149 yards passing in one half while teammate Zach Juron added 33 yards on the ground.
"Fish did a really nice job, he's a really good athlete, and it's hard to defend him against the run," said Round Lake coach John Coursey. "We're struggling a little bit up front and we're a little bit inexperienced, but Ridley is learning."