Jack Sanborn will leave the quarterbacking to Evan Lewandowski.
"Some of his throws tonight were like darts going in there," Sanborn said of his quarterback, who became Lake Zurich's career leader in passing yards during the Bears' 40-14 win over visiting Libertyville on homecoming Friday night. "I don't know how he fits the ball into those little spots sometimes. He's got an arm, for sure."
So does Sanborn, the Wisconsin-bound linebacker and tackling machine. But when Sanborn attempted his first pass of the season, after he caught a lateral from Lewandowski, the result wasn't exactly a tight spiral. The ball hung up in the wind, and Libertyville's Jonathan Lauber intercepted the ball at midfield.
"And I got pressured," Sanborn, who threw off his back foot, said with a grin. "I'm just going to leave it at that. I believe I can throw better than that. ... Hopefully I can throw better than that."
The late-second-quarter interception was one of the few mistakes Lake Zurich made all night in improving to 8-0 and 6-0 in the North Suburban Conference. Ryan Vrenios, Anthony Mangano and Austin LePage all had interceptions for the Bears, who have forced 21 turnovers this season (plus 14).
"The DBs have been playing well," Sanborn said. "They keep racking up those interceptions."
LePage, in particular, has been piling up the picks. He has interceptions in four consecutive games and five for the season.
"I play center field (in baseball), and it's just all about playing center field (in football)," said LePage, a cornerback. "I just track down the ball."
The senior Lewandowski, a two-year starter, completed 13 of 22 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for a pair of scores. He upped his career passing yards to 2,944, moving him past Pat Murray (2,816 yards from 1995-97).
Libertyville (4-4, 3-3) got a touchdown pass and TD run from its QB, Alex Stanulis, but spotted the hosts too big of a lead. The Wildcats need to beat Zion-Benton at home next Friday night to become playoff-eligible.
"It's going to be a huge challenge," Libertyville coach Mike Jones said. "We're going to have our hands full."
Libertyville put itself in an early hole, committing a personal foul on the first play from scrimmage, then popping up a punt into the wind from its own 8. Lake Zurich took over the 4 and scored immediately on Lewandowski's pass to Joey Stutzman. Vrenios then intercepted Stanulis two plays after the Wildcats retook possession. Nine plays later, Lewandowski's keeper from the 3 capped a nine-play, 32-yard drive.
"(Lake Zurich) is too good of a team to do that," Jones said of his team's early mistakes. "We had some opportunities to make plays. We just had guys drop balls, errant throws. You got to make plays when they're there."
Lake Zurich's third series also started in Libertyville territory, at the 48, and another nine-play drive ended with Lewandowski diving in from the 1. Up 21-0 after one quarter, the Bears got a 35-yard field goal from Donnie Dawson and 1-yard TD run from Trenton Burkley to hike their lead to 30-0. LePage's interception -- the Bears' third of the half -- had set up Lake Zurich at the Libertyville 14.
Libertyville had minus-11 yards rushing in the first half.
"Our defense has been playing great," said LePage, noting the play and leadership of Sanborn, lineman Jackson Farsalas and safety Robert Hinsberger.
Dawson's 30-yard field goal stretched the Lake Zurich lead to 33-0 in the third before Libertyville got on the board thanks to Stanulis' 36-yard strike to Jack Turco on the final play of the quarter. The teams traded TDs in the fourth, with Lake Zurich getting a 56-yard run from Jack Moses and Libertyville receiving a 9-yard keeper from Stanulis.
Lake Zurich was coming off back-to-back shutouts.
"Libertyville made some adjustments at half, and they capitalized on some plays and executed well," Sanborn said. "Bottom line is that we got the win. That's most important."