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updated: 9/14/2012 11:11 PM

Lakes too steep a challenge for Round Lake

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By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent

Host Round Lake knew it was facing an uphill struggle when it met Lakes in North Suburban Prairie football action Friday night.

But the short-handed Panthers could never imagine how tough a challenge they would face as 3 huge turnovers in the first quarter really put them behind the eight ball.

The Eagles (3-1, 1-0) took full advantage of the Round Lake miscues as they built a commanding 34-0 lead after one quarter, extended that advantage to 54-0 at halftime, and wound up rolling to a 60-0 victory.

The Panthers (0-4, 0-2) fell behind 7-0 early on as Lakes quarterback T.J. Edwards hit Justin Bergeron on the left sideline before teammate Brandon Brumm booted the extra point.

Round Lake's next possession was haulted quickly when Lakes' Troy Crow intercepted a pass by Tyler Hernandez deep in Panther territory.

Lakes running back Direll Clark (88 yards on 10 carries) did the rest as runs of 16, and 11 yards led him to the end zone and a 13-0 lead with 5:38 left in the first quarter.

Crow was the man of the hour 1:03 later as he picked off a pass by Hernandez in the right flat before racing 25 yards for the touchdown and a 20-0 lead with 4:35 remaining in the opening quarter.

"Our gameplan was to keep doing what we've been doing and get our second team in because they've done a great job," said Clark, who is being recruited by Purdue and Eastern Illinois. "The offensive line did a lot and as soon as they called the play the holes were there."

The Eagles boosted their lead to 27-0 when Nick Battaglia scooped up a fumble and went 34 yards for the touchdown with 2:35 to go in the first quarter.

Round Lake's offense continued to struggle without injured starting quarterback John Ridley and running back Chris Perry out of the lineup Friday.

The Eagles kept the pressure on the Panthers' defense when Edwards rolled right and hit Battaglia with a 13-yard TD pass with 19 seconds left in the first quarter to make the score 34-0.

Clark scored his second TD on a 3-yard run to cap a 5-play, 40-yard drive for a 41-0 lead with 8:28 left in the second quarter.

"All phases of the game were clicking today so it was a good team victory," said Lakes coach Luke Mertens. "Every single game from this week on is a rivalry so we were ready to get back to playing after a tough loss last week (against Lake Forest)."

Another lost fumble led to a 1-yard TD run by Clark before a bad snap led to a 6-yard TD run by Clark for the 54-0 lead at the intermission.

Lakes closed out the scoring when Mike Brey showed some quick moves on the way to an 82-yard kickoff return for touchdown to open the second half.

Round Lake did have the ball first-and-goal from the Lakes 1 late in the third quarter. But a high snap to Hernandez was recovered by Lakes linebacker Austin Goodson to preserve the shutout.

"The defense had a great game and they scored 2 touchdowns so that was exciting," Mertens said. "We're in conference play now so every game is going to be intense and tough."

Edwards was 3-for-4 for 69 yards in one half of play while Hernandez was a work horse for the Panthers with 57 yards on 40 attempts.

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