Could Lake Zurich's stingy defense post its third shutout in four weeks Friday night at Mundelein?
The answer to that question was a resounding yes as the Bears took a 31-0 lead into halftime before capturing a 45-0 North Suburban Conference victory in this Lake Division contest.
Lake Zurich (4-0, 2-0) actually took quite awhile to get rolling against the pesky Mustangs (1-3, 0-2) as Mundelein held the Bears to a 25-yard field goal by A.J. Trittschuh on their first drive of the opening quarter.
Then after Mundelein was forced to punt on its second drive, Lake Zurich took over on its own 43-yard line ready to do some damage offensively.
It took seven plays for the Bears to get the job done. Senior quarterback Noah Allgood lofted a beautiful 26-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Ben Klett going from the right sideline and crossing left into the end zone. The first of 6 extra points by Trittschuh made the score 10-0 with 1:22 left in the first quarter.
Mundelein got its ground game going on its next possession with senior running back Emanuel Jones (46 yards on 24 carries) doing most of the work.
A crucial 15-yard penalty on the Bears kept the drive alive as the Mustangs pushed the ball into Lake Zurich territory before the drive stalled.
Then on a fluke play from the Bears' 10-yard-line, Allgood picked up teammate Nick Tsiapas' fumble at the line of scrimmage and Allgood raced 49 yards down to the Mundelein 41.
Two plays later, Klett (44 yards on 4 attempts) took a pitch and broke free quickly down the left sideline for a 35-yard TD run and a 17-0 lead 8:14 before halftime.
The Bears' stellar defense toughened up on Mundelein's next possession forcing a fast four and out deep in Mustangs' territory.
And the next play proved to be a real back-breaker for the Mustangs as Lake Zurich senior Dominic Scaduto blocked David Adams' punt and recovered the ball very near the left pylon for the touchdown and a commanding 24-0 advantage just 1:05 after Klett's second TD.
Lake Zurich managed to find time to score again just before the intermission with a 10-play, 55-yard drive.
Allgood came through on fourth-and-goal from the 3 as he hit 6-foot-7 junior tight end Zach Wallace with a jump pass going over the middle to boost the lead to 31-0.
"I'm pleased with how we played and obviously the outcome, having said that we have to get better and we will," said Lake Zurich coach David Proffitt, whose team had a lot of big plays in the game. "Mundelein hit us as hard as anybody to start this game so I give credit to Mundelein for their effort."
The Bears wasted little time getting on the scoreboard again in the third quarter with a 5-play, 72-yard drive.
Senior Dylan Schassler (114 yards on 7 rushes) took a pitch and turned on the speed down the right sideline for a 31-yard TD run and a 38-0 lead 1:23 into the period. Schassler also had a 34-yard run on the first play of the second half.
The Mustangs were forced to punt on their first possession of the third quarter and once again lightning struck with a huge play for Lake Zurich.
This time it was senior Sean Lynch who worked his magic as Lynch fielded the punt on his own 35-yard-line.
Lynch ran right at first into heavy traffic. But then he reversed field and raced 65 yards for the TD going to his left to set off a big celebration with the Bears leading 45-0 with 7:06 remaining in the third quarter.
Tsiapas stayed busy with 39 yards on 11 carries in the contest while Allgood was 5-for-8 passing for 66 yards. Under heavy pressure most of the night, Mundelein sophomore quarterback Gavin Graves was 5-for-14 passing for 47 yards.
"We did a great job sealing the edge and the holes were pretty big," said Schassler, who had 49 yards rushing in the first half. "I feel like we've been getting better each week and we're going in the right direction for sure."
The Mustangs have lost three in a row since opening the season with a victory over Wheeling. But Mundelein coach George Kaider is happy with the effort, the hitting by the defense, and the overall play of his young squad which starts six sophomores.
"I thought we drove the ball really well, in the first half we were more physical than them, and we established a running game," said Kaider, whose disciplined team only had one penalty. "They big-played us, but I thought our defense played really well and the blocked punt (by Scaduto) was a big problem at that point of the game."
"What teams have seen is we may not be winning games, but regardless of the score it's a new Mundelein," added Kaider.
Lake Zurich has only allowed 7 points the entire season in a 27-7 win over Warren last weekend. Proffitt was very pleased with the play of Schassler to mention just one of his key players.
"He (Schassler) doesn't surprise us any," Proffitt said. "This season he's healthy and he's playing hard."