If Lake Zurich's football team is going to make an extended run in the state playoffs, it might have to do it without its all-state-candidate linebacker.
The Bears learned Wednesday that junior Jack Sanborn has mononucleosis. The illness is expected to keep him off the field for at least two more weeks. No. 13 Lake Zurich (8-2) plays No. 4 Fenwick (9-1) at Triton College in River Grove at 6 p.m. Saturday in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs.
"He's had some symptoms of sickness for the last couple of weeks but he's played -- and played very well," Lake Zurich coach David Proffitt said of his two-year starter.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Sanborn has scholarship offers from Iowa State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana and Duke. He was at practice on Wednesday but did not participate.
"I went to practice on (Tuesday) and went out there feeling great, just like usual," Sanborn said. "Last week I had a little bit of a sore throat, but I didn't think anything of it."
Sanborn played in the Bears' playoff-opening win against Harlem. He not only helped Lake Zurich pitch a 40-0 shutout by recording 2 sacks but also scored on a fake punt and caught a touchdown pass while playing tight end. He did all of his damage in the first quarter.
When he and his mother went to see the doctor early this week, Sanborn found out he had more than just a sore throat.
"The next thing I know, I'm walking out of the office realizing that the rest of my season is probably gone due to mono," Sanborn said. "It's a tough pill to swallow."
"You can't replace a kid like Jack," Proffitt said. "But you can certainly get other kids to hopefully step up and perform above their abilities. Which is what it's going to take."
Sanborn will remain involved with the team. That includes helping coach up other Bears this week.
"I'm supposed to get a lot of rest, but I'm going to do whatever I can to help this team out," Sanborn said. "Coach Proffitt talked to me. I can't control when I get sick or what happens to me, but what I can control is doing my part and doing whatever I can to help this team out."
He plans to be on the sideline Saturday night, supporting his teammates.
"It's going to be different," Sanborn said. "For sure, I won't be dressing up. My job now is different from last week. Now my job is to get the younger guys -- or whoever's the next man up -- to get ready to fill my role on this team."