If you were at Woodstock North on Friday night, you may have caught a glimpse of Lakes coach Luke Mertens pinching himself.
Mertens witnessed his Eagles get off to a dream start on both sides of the ball as the Eagles built a commanding lead on their way to a 45-14 nonconference victory over the Woodstock North Thunder.
"In all phases of the game we did a much better job than last week," said Mertens.
After allowing 49 points in a loss to Grayslake North the week before, Lakes (1-1) held Woodstock North to 25 total yards in the first half. The defense also tallied a touchdown of their own in the second half as Austin Goodson recovered a fumble in the end zone.
"Last week, we had guys fail to do their jobs on defense," Mertens said. "Against an offense like theirs (Woodstock North), we told our guys to do their jobs and trust the guys next to them. It is very important against a triple-option offense. They did a great job tonight playing team defense."
Meanwhile, the Lakes offense got to work right away, scoring on all five of its drives in the first half, building a 31-0 halftime lead. Sophomore Devyn Cedzidlo (151 total yards) raced in from 42 yards out to open the scoring. Fellow running back Cameron Johnson (66 rushing yards) scored next on a 1-yard plunge and later on a 29-yard scamper after a Cody Brumm field goal. Another running back, Mike Brey, also added a 30-yard scoring run.
"We had a bitter taste in our mouth from last week," said Eagles quarterback T.J. Edwards (9-13, 140 passing yards). "Our offensive line, all of us, worked hard to get better and we were able to do that."
Edwards hooked up with Cedzidlo on an 18-yard pitch and catch to cap off the scoring in the fourth quarter.
"Big things from the offensive line," said Cedzidlo, standing alongside Edwards. "T.J., my quarterback did a lot of big things. I just like the support from all of the guys."
Mertens also continues to be impressed with Cedzidlo.
"He plays an important spot in our offense and has been placed in this spot really by default," said Mertens. "Usually we have a senior, Nick Battaglia, in that spot but he is injured. He (Devin) has done a heck of a job for a sophomore."
Woodstock North (0-2) got its offense going in the second half. Ben Flores hauled in a 18-yard pass from quarterback Jimmy Krenger on fourth down. Junior running back Jordan Plummer (game-high 90 rushing yards) added a 2-yard touchdown run.
For Lakes, about to delve into North Suburban Prairie pnext week, it's about tuning out the distractions.
"We have the short turnaround week with playing next Thursday, senior night," said Mertens. " A lot of peripheral things that can cause us to lose focus and it is our responsibility as coaches to make sure we stay on track."