The story at Lake Zurich on Saturday was in the numbers, starting with the student section's chant of "39-1," and ending with a tribute to the number 100.
Diehard Bear fans were well aware of the credentials of visiting Rockford Boylan, a back-to-back defending state champion with a 39-game winning streak on the line. They were also having fun with the idea of what a Lake Zurich victory would mean to the streak.
The "39-1" chant came late in the fourth quarter as Lake Zurich was in the midst of putting the finishing touches on yet another smothering defensive smackdown.
Entering their quarterfinal tilt against Rockford Boylan, the same team that had eliminated them from the playoffs last year in a Class 7A semifinal game, the Bears were allowing just 5.2 points per game and had recorded 6 shutouts.
The defense did all but get another shutout in carrying Lake Zurich to a 21-6 Class 7A victory over the shell-shocked Titans, who hadn't lost a game since Wheaton North eliminated them from the first round of the playoffs back in October of 2009.
The win not only moved the sixth-seeded Bears (10-2) into a semifinal showdown next week with No. 1 Glenbard West, it also gave head coach Dave Proffitt the 100th victory of his career as a head coach.
"I had no idea it was the 100th. That's what somebody told me," said Proffitt, who coached for 12 years at Marian Central Catholic in Woodstock, starting in the early 1990s. "I go back a few years."
Proffitt might have to go back a lot further than that to cite another such dominating defensive performance, particularly against a team the caliber of Rockford Boylan. The Titans (11-1) didn't get a first down until the final series of the first half, with less than two minutes remaining. And for a team that averages nearly 42 points per game, its production of just 184 total yards fell far short of the norm.
Boylan also finished with only 10 first downs as well as 2 turnovers (a lost fumble and an interception).
"Defensively, we just read our keys and flew to the football. That's Lake Zurich football," said junior defensive back Sean Lynch, who came up with the interception and also had a big day on offense as a running back (13 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown). "We're just 11 guys hustling to the ball. That's all it takes."
The Bears zeroed in on Boylan running back Demarcus Vines, who is rumored to be going to play at Northwestern next year. Vines entered with more than 1,300 yards and 22 touchdowns but struggled to find daylight for most of the afternoon. He tallied just 52 yards on 15 carries, with his longest gain going for 21 yards.
Meanwhile, junior quarterback Brock Stull, who has passed for about 1,000 yards this season, finished with only 84 passing yards.
Only twice did Stull and the offense crack the red zone, and each time the Titans had to settle for a field goal by Sean Slattery (31 and 23 yards).
"The whole year, we were able to come out and execute against any defense," Stull said. "But this Lake Zurich defense is by far the best defense we've faced. They're also the best team we've faced. Props to them. They're just a lot more physical and they're fast. I hope they win state.
"We were trying to do it again this year but we fell short. I think 39-1 is still pretty good, though. Most people would take that."
After a scoreless first quarter, Lake Zurich cracked the scoreboard when Jake Stauner hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Noah Allgood with 1:43 left before halftime. Under Allgood's direction, the run-oriented Bears were able to complete 3 of 5 passes for a total of 77 yards, which kept Boylan's defense a bit more honest.
"We saw that the defense was biting hard on our play action. We faked it and hit them deep," Allgood said.
A quick drive by the Titans that ended in a 31-yard field goal by Slattery with just one second left in the first half made the halftime score 7-3.
The second half got off to a quicker start when Lynch took the fifth play from scrimmage 55 yards for a Lake Zurich touchdown.
"Sean had a career day," said Proffitt, who also got 131 hard-fought rushing yards out of Connor Schrader. "And Allgood throws a nice ball."
Slattery's second field goal cut Lake Zurich's lead to 14-6 with 1:35 left in the third quarter. But Allgood's second touchdown pass of the day, a beautiful 47-yard strike to Grant Soucy, put the Bears back firmly in control 21-6 with 10:28 remaining in the game.
"Lake Zurich is just so tough. They do what they do very well," said Rockford Boylan coach John Cacciatore, whose program is 1-3 against Lake Zurich in playoff games since 2006. "They did a great job defensively. Give them credit. If we could play them again, there would definitely be some things we would do differently."