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updated: 8/26/2016 11:38 PM

Lake Zurich pulls out thriller against Fremd

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By Bill Pemstein
Daily Herald Correspondent

It doesn't work to say it was a tale of two halves.

And actually, there really wasn't much of a first half on opening night at Lake Zurich.

The scoreboard read 2-0 in favor of the home team over visiting Fremd.

The second half, however, was brilliantly played by both teams.

Fremd erased a 12-0 Lake Zurich lead in the final two minutes. And the Vikings seemed poised to claim a win as the Bears were down to fourth down and 13 yards to go with five seconds to play.

Did anyone actually see the last play of the game? That's when LZ quarterback Evan Lewandowski threw up a prayer of a pass in the direction of the new hero in town.

And Joey Stutzman, all of 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds, made the catch in the end zone. It was a stunner all right. Lake Zurich 19, Fremd 15.

"It was like backyard football,'' Stutzman said. "All I knew is I had to catch the ball."

Lewandowski had no plans to fire in a touchdown pass on this play. The junior making his varsity start just fired the ball in the end zone when Stutzman broke free.

"We were just trying to get the first down,'' Lewandowski said.

The final quarter rewarded the fans who sat through the quiet first half.

Stutzman didn't try his hand on offense until late in the first half. He opened the second half with five straight carries. And then this twosome showed what was to come when the rookie quarterback fired 61 yards pass

play to this undersized player. It was 9-0 Lake Zurich.

"Our quarterback was struggling,'' said Lake Zurich coach Dave Proffitt. "But when the chips were down, our offense came through. Our defense did a good job but give credit to Fremd for getting back in the game."

Fremd QB Tom Josten also struggled in the first half but he turned it in the fourth quarter. He used the speed of senior Nicholas Cecchin to score his team's first points of the game on a 67-yard strike.

The Vikings looked out of luck when a fumble derailed a late rally but at the two-minute mark, Josten struck again with a 14-yard TD pass to Joseph Schneider. That lead held out for a minute and 55 seconds.

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