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The big white No. 4 on the back of Lake Zurich quarterback Noah Allgood has been prominent in the Bears' offensive attack throughout the football season.
On Saturday, as the top-seeded Bears hosted No. 16 seed Elk Grove in a Class 7A first-round playoff game, that number was called again and again.
Allgood did the majority of his work on the ground — more so, in fact, than he had all season, rushing 11 times for a season-best 117 yards. That total included a highlight reel 72-yard run to lead the Bears into the second round with a resounding 35-6 win over the Grenadiers.
Lake Zurich (9-1) will host No. 8 seed Rockton Hononegah, a 35-14 winner over Highland Park, in a rematch of a second-round game from last season the Bears won 17-6.
Mid Suburban East tri-champion Elk Grove closes its season out at 6-4.
"I think some of it was what our coaches saw in the game film, and some was just Noah reading his keys," said Lake Zurich coach Dave Proffitt. "We have to learn from this game. We have to learn to finish games like this on both sides of the ball."
Lake Zurich wasted no time in taking control. A quick 7-play drive which saw five different Bears carry the ball resulted in a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard scoring run from Dylan Schassler. Then the game went from good to all good for the Bears.
After the Lake Zurich defense stifled the high-powered Elk Grove offense into its second punt of the half, Allgood called his own number. And No. 4 went for 72 yards, adding another 6 points for the Bears. The highlight of the run was a spin and juke by Allgood at his own 30 that drew a roar from his own sideline.
"Who knew Allgood could juke a guy like that?" said Bears senior Sean Lynch afterward.
"I didn't even see it, but I heard it was awesome," said Lake Zurich senior Sam Wallstrum.
The "awesome" run by Allgood put the Grenadiers in a 14-0 hole halfway through the first quarter and it didn't get much better after that.
"I think we just had to get back to doing what we do," Allgood said. "Whether it's me or anyone else in our backfield, we wanted to bounce back after last week and play a good four quarters."
For Elk Grove, Lake Zurich was everything they'd expected and then some.
"From what we saw on film we knew we could line up and play with (Lake Zurich)," said Elk Grove coach Larry Calhoun. "But they did an excellent job with their speed on defense and up front on offense today in making things difficult for us."
Lake Zurich built its lead to 28-0 before halftime on touchdown runs of 9 yards by Lynch and 5 yards from sophomore Ben Klett (16 carries, 96 yards), before Elk Grove finally started to find its offensive rhythm.
Senior quarterback Adam O'Malley, who has engineered the Grenadiers' offense for the last three seasons, produced an impressive 15-play, 80-yard drive to open the third quarter. His touchdown run of 5 yards accounted for the Grenadiers' lone score.
"I give all the credit to Lake Zurich and their defense," O'Malley said. "They made it tough on us, but we didn't quit and kept playing all the way to the end of the game."
Wallstrum closed the scoring for Lake Zurich with a 30-yard scoring run.
"We faced a very talented and gifted football player in O'Malley today and I thought our defense stepped up and did a nice job," Proffitt said. "(Elk Grove) came in scoring a lot of points and for us to hold them to 6 is really a great outcome."
In his final game at Elk Grove, O'Malley accounted for 161 of the Grenadiers' 193 total yards.