Jake Kubin's game-winning field goal topped his varsity football debut for Lake Zurich two years ago.
From a stress standpoint, however, Friday night's winner, which lifted the host Bears to a 10-7 win over Fremd in the teams' season opener, was a lot less taxing.
As a freshman two years ago, Kubin kicked an extra point during a blowout playoff win for the Bears.
"I was pretty nervous freshman year going into a varsity game," Kubin said. "I was more nervous then. I wasn't warmed up when I went in. (Tonight) I had time to be on the sideline and kick like a dozen balls."
With the score tied 7-7, Lake Zurich's Trevor Staley recovered a muffed punt at the Fremd 36 with 3:24 left in the fourth quarter. Behind the running of Zane Lodico (27 rushes, 94 yards) and Ben Klett (15-40 yards), the Bears advanced the football to the 1. Fremd's Jawan Gaines -- who earlier had an interception -- then dropped Klett for a 2-yard loss.
Fremd's defense earlier forced and recovered a fumble.
"Our defense played great," Vikings coach Lou Sponsel said. "(Defensive coordinator) Dan Davis did a great job of staying simple and just letting our kids play fast."
But with four seconds on the game clock, Lake Zurich trotted out its field-goal team. Camden Boyle snapped the ball, Nick McCoy held it, and the 5-foot-7, 145-pound Kubin drilled the winner through the uprights with authority as time expired.
"I was nervous going out there, but all of those nerves were just excitement that I wanted to get out," Kubin said. "I was so pumped. It was awesome."
Lake Zurich led 7-0 at halftime thanks to a late touchdown. Bears quarterback Joey Lindstrom, making his first varsity start, floated a pass while scrambling to his right into the hands of Alex Miller. The ball was arched high enough to bring rain.
Maybe it jump-started lightning, instead.
Lindstrom's completion covered 33 yards on third-and-6 and put the ball at the Fremd 43. Nine plays later, Lindstrom displayed a deft touch again, tossing a screen pass to Lodico, who zigged and zagged his way into the end zone from 20 yards out with 4:42 left.
With 2:23 left before halftime, lightning suspended the game, and fans were forced to exit the stadium. After 55 minutes, the game resumed.
Both teams' defenses dominated after that.
"Our offense did struggle. We'll admit it," Lindstrom said. "We turned it around after a while. It was just finding the drive from within to get the job done."
Fremd got the equalizer early in the fourth after Kevin Schmoeller recovered a Lindstrom fumble at the Lake Zurich 22. Two plays later, quarterback Nick Bossong scored from 14 yards out.
"The kids played hard," said Sponsel, whose Vikings lost 3 fumbles and had a pass intercepted by Lake Zurich's Matt Lawson. "I feel like I blew it as a coach with poor play-calling. I didn't put ourselves in the right situations."