The Wauconda rushing attack and senior running back Jacob Bicknase were relentless Friday night against visiting Round Lake.
The Bulldogs built a comfortable 28-0 halftime lead before rolling to a 42-7 Northern Lake County Conference victory over the Panthers as Wauconda (3-4, 2-3) remained playoff-eligible with two weeks left in the regular season.
Bicknase recorded 208 of his career-high 294 rushing yards in the first half while he scored 4 touchdowns overall without four of the Bulldogs' regular starting linemen in uniform due to injuries.
"Our line came together, a couple of our guys stepped up and did their job, and they did it well," said Bicknase, whose first TD gave Wauconda a 6-0 lead just 30 seconds into the contest. "We're pretty predictable (running the ball), but as long as we do it well we're hard to stop."
Round Lake (0-7, 0-5) actually moved the ball well behind senior quarterback Tabieas Young (52 yards on 17 carries) and had the upper hand in time of possession in the first half. But the Panthers were unable to put the finishing touches on any scoring drive while the Bulldogs scored on all of their first four possessions.
Leading 6-0, senior quarterback Antonio Acosta's 5-yard TD run capped an eight-play, 73-yard drive before Bicknase's 2-point conversion run made the score 14-0 with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
Young and the Panthers followed with a 16-play drive of their own, but the potential score wound up falling just short after an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-goal play from the Wauconda 4.
The Bulldogs' ground game was at their best on their ensuing drive as they marched 96 yards on 11 plays with a 23-yard run by the elusive Bicknase moving the ball into Panthers' territory.
Bicknase ultimately capped the long scoring drive with a 15-yard TD run before the extra point by teammate Oscar Acosta boosted the lead to 21-0 late in the second quarter.
Wauconda got the ball back again after a four-and-out by Round Lake, and this time the Bulldogs took over at midfield.
The first play from scrimmage was a 30-yard run by Bicknase before a 10-yard penalty moved the ball back to the 30.
Then with everyone keying on Bicknase, Antonio Acosta (3-for-5, 49 yards) found junior teammate Matthew Nolan wide open for a 30-yard TD pass and a commanding 28-0 advantage.
"We got a little play-action on that touchdown, but we run the ball well," said Wauconda coach Dave Mills, whose team had 363 of its 412 total yards on the ground. "I think that this puts us around 2,000 yards rushing for the season."
One of many dropped passes thrown by Young (5-for-20, 55 yards) on fourth down gave the Bulldogs the ball back in good field position early in the third quarter.
And once again it was Bicknase working his magic with an 18-yard TD run boosting the lead to 35-0 with 8:07 remaining in the period.
Then after another punt by Round Lake, Bicknase put the finishing touches on his great night by breaking off a 46-yard "stop and go" run on a third-down play to take the ball down to the 1-yard line. Three plays later, Bicknase scored his fourth TD on a 2-yard run as the final 15:22 of the game was played with a running clock.
"Jacob got a lot of yardage out of it with four new starters on the offensive line that did a great job," added Mills. "He is a tremendous athlete with his stop and go and his ability to be quick. I think if we get five wins we'll worry about the points, but we want to get to five first."
Wauconda's Tyler Stankiewicz had 53 yards on 9 carries while Alan Espinosa led the Panthers with 71 yards on 11 attempts.