What was the news from last week -- that the Fremd defense held Lake Zurich running star Joey Stutzman below the 100-yard mark?
Well, we will just have to chalk it up to first-game jitters.
Yes, visiting Montini had a few 300-pounders on defense in Friday night's nonconference test. But Lake Zurich's workhorse is back.
In a game in which the Bears tied a school record for first downs in a game with 28, Stutzman had 13 first of them, to go with 31 carries and 208 yards rushing. His 3 scores paved the way as the Bears led from start to finish in an impressive 28-7 victory.
"Our offensive line did great,'' Stutzman related. "Everyone did their job. We just wanted to execute and finish the game. What a great feeling. But this is just two games into the season."
The Lake Zurich defense clearly played a big part in this win. Montini (1-1) did not pick up a first down in the opening quarter. Despite that, the Broncos only trailed by a single touchdown.
Stutzman carried five times in the first scoring drive, and his 16-yard dash gave the Bears the lead.
"We did well in all three phases of the game,'' said Lake Zurich coach Luke Mertens. "That was offense, defense and special teams."
Trailing by three scores in the first half, the Broncos, stunned the home crowd with 49-yard scoring strike from Nick Orlando to wideout Matt Quaglia. Montini still trailed by two scores (21-7), but it seemed momentum had shifted.
"Montini is a great team,'' said Wisconsin-bound Lake Zurich linebacker Jack Sanborn. "But we were able to hang in there with our bend-but-not-break defense."
Neither team scored in the third quarter but both teams probably should have. Lake Zurich drove deep into Montini territory but fumbled away that chance.
The Montini passing game began to click following the turnover. On an Orlando pass to Matthew Ross, the Broncos were set up first-and-goal at the 5. Four plays later and the drive had stalled. A short field goal was ordered but the kicked failed.
Montini mounted another drive in the final quarter. Another quarterback, Brad Norgle, completed 2 passes but a Sanborn sack closed off the effort.
"Our defense really stepped up tonight,'' Mertens said. "That was awesome that we didn't let them score when they made that drive."
Stutzman delivered the final blow in the fourth quarter. After catching a pass from Evan Lewandowski (14-for-23, 156 yards), Stutzman scored from 3 yards out for the final tally of the evening.
"This was a great team win for us,'' he said. "Everybody executed well."
Mertens was able to substitute in the final minutes as receiver Jack Moses took a turn at quarterback late in the contest.