Many things could not have turned out any better than they did for the Lakes football team in Lake Villa on Saturday night.
The Eagles soared past Westinghouse High School from Chicago 48-22 to advance to the second round of the Class 7A football playoffs.
A meeting at Lemont, the No. 4 seed, is in the offing for the No. 5 Eagles.
"The kids were hungry and ready to go," said Lakes coach Jordan Eder. "We came out strong. You want to get up on a team early and try to put them away."
The now 9-1 Eagles followed that script.
Taking advantage of a snap over Westinghouse quarterback Sarrell Booker into the end zone, Lakes Joven Troy Lorian recovered the loose ball for a 7-0 lead just 48 seconds into the game.
Lakes quarterback Jake Johnson spearheaded a 6-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard completion to Dylan Keilwitz with 7:00 left in the quarter. Ryan Carr kicked the second of six extra points for a 14-0 lead.
The Eagles' Robert King recovered the ensuing onside kick, giving Lakes the ball at the Westinghouse 46.
D'Lo Hardy scored the first of his 2 touchdowns on the seventh play of the drive, grabbing a 13 yard pass from Johnson for the score. Hardy also had a 15-yard run on the drive.
"You don't take anything for granted in these games," said Johnson. "Coach (Ray) Gialo came up with a good offensive game plan for us and it worked. He always comes up with a good plan after we watch films. The offensive line just did a great job controlling the line of scrimmage."
Jack Grupka, Deven Lindsey, Brett Heraty, Eric Lund and Kole Skinner kept the pressure going against the 5-5 Warriors.
Johnson, who completed 7 of 8 passes for 179 yards and 4 touchdown passes, connected with Ryan Selig with :27 left before the end of the first quarter on a 17-yard toss to give the Eagles a 28-0 lead.
Ethan Greenfield's 2-yard touchdown run and another Johnson-to-Hardy touchdown pass good for 57 yards gave Lakes 42-0 halftime lead.
Chris Selig's 8-yard run in the third quarter with a running clock gave the Eagles a 48-0 lead.
Lakes' defense stood out by limiting the Warriors to just 2 yards rushing, which included 4 quarterback sacks on Booker.
Westinghouse passed for 113 yards but 66 of those came on the Warriors' final touchdown, on a pass from Booker to Tryvis Ousley with 1:56 left in the game.
Kenyea Houston scored on a 6-yard run and Simeon Coleman returned a fumble 46 yards for Westinghouse's other score.
"When we recovered the ball in the end zone to start the game," said Lakes senior linebacker Gavin Kapka, "I think it shook them up. This was a big win for us. You never know what's going to happen in the playoffs."
Kapka broke the Lakes career quarterback sack record with 15 this season, including 2 Saturday night.
"This was a good game for us," said Eder. "It was a chance for everyone on the team to play in a playoff game. Johnson had a real good night going 7-for-8. He was efficient.
"Now we have a week to get ready for Lemont. It will be a big test and it should be a fun game."