There are many firsts and milestones that Lake Park is experiencing during its first school year in the DuPage Valley Conference.
Friday night's 37-14 win over visiting Glenbard East was one of them, the Lancers' first DVC victory in football.
"We've been working hard toward this," said Lake Park coach Chris Roll. "It's been a long journey. We've gotten a lot of compliments from the Wheatons, the Napervilles on how we play. We've practiced really well the past six weeks and become a solid team. I was disappointed in the errors of the first half. The second half is who we are."
The second half saw the Lancers (2-6, 1-5) score three unanswered touchdowns in the second half to break the game open against the Rams (2-6, 1-5), who join Lake Park's old conference, the Upstate Eight, next year.
Lake Park led 16-14 at halftime and got to work right away in the second half. On the fourth play of the Rams' opening drive, David Dumelle intercepted a pass and his team took over at the Glenbard East 29-yard line.
Five plays later, junior quarterback Michael Perry found Tommie Jackson for a 20-yard scoring pass.
Perry was starting in place of senior Bobby Accetura, out with a concussion.
"This means a lot to our pride. I think the key is how we stuck together. We never gave up on each other," Perry said.
Early in the fourth quarter, Kenny Jones hit the end zone from 24 yards out to put Lake Park up by 16 after Doug Cavazos' third of four extra points on the night. The drive was moved along by Curtwan Evans' 25-yard run on the first play. Evans finished with 100 yards on 17 carries for game-high honors.
Lake Park finished its scoring on Jones' second and final score of the night, a 2-yard run on a drive set up by teammate Christian Oshana's recovery of a Rams' fumble.
The Lancers racked up 209 yards of total offense in the first half to Glenbard East's 72 but only led by 2 at halftime.
Lake Park's Antonio Shenault opened the scoring on a 6-yard run and later the Lancers added a 6-yard run for Evans and a 23-yard field goal from Cavazos.
However, Glenbard East scored on a Lancers turnover and another Lake Park mistake gave the Rams the ball back and they scored.
Jack Difino returned a fumble recovery 18 yards for the Rams' first TD. Later, Tom Mogavero intercepted a pass and that set up Drake Pusateri's 26-yard TD throw to Joey Moore.
With just one game left in the season, a home contest against Wheaton Warrenville South, thoughts toward 2014 have begun for Glenbard East. Coach John Walters believes that the players returning next season have made progress.
"Absolutely, we got that many of them (juniors) out there. It's a learning process," he said.
With West Aurora's 52-30 loss to Naperville North, Lake Park moves up a notch in the DVC standings with its first league win. The Blackhawks travel to Lake Park next week in the regular-season finale.