Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz was looking for a spark to get his Bears football team going.
And after a sluggish start to the game, a big play certainly provided that twist of fate for both teams.
With Libertyville driving deep into Lake Zurich territory on its first possession, the Bears' defense came up with the first of several big plays.
A Jack Deichl pass to Pat Morgan looked to be headed for pay dirt in the early moments of the contest when, out of nowhere, came Lake Zurich senior Mike Shield. He poked the ball free at the Lake Zurich 4 and sophomore Christopher Lehtinen was there to pick up the loose change.
The forced turnover was one of three that Lake Zurich took from the Wildcats. The visitors capitalized on two of the Libertyville miscues and cruised to a 31-6 win, their fourth straight.
Libertyville lost for the third time in four games.
"We stress and work on turnovers every day and the thing is with that play our kids could have quit there on that play," Stortz said. "We played that play all the way to the whistle and we harp on things like that."
Lake Zurich (5-1, 3-0) rebounded from a sluggish first quarter that saw the Bears muster just 3 yards of offfense and no first downs, to a second quarter where the offense exploded for 17 unanswered points.
"I feel like when we come out in the second quarter or second half we have it pretty much all together," said Lake Zurich senior Zach Till.
Till and the offense started to move the ball early in the second quarter, when a big strike provided Stortz and Co. with another big spark.
Following the second turnover on the night for Libertyville, Till connected with senior Mike Rantis for a 67-yard pass play that set the Bears up inside the Libertyville 10. Three plays later Till took it in from 4 yards out and Lake Zurich had a 7-0 advantage.
"You can't turn the ball over like that against a team like Lake Zurich," said Libertyville coach Randy Kuceyeski. "We had the ball at the 5-yard line and a game plan working in our favor, and we didn't capitalize."
Defensively, Lake Zurich turned the momentum forcing a quick three and out. The special teams took their turn next, thanks to a 35-yard punt return by John Orlando which set up the next score. Two plays later, Till followed Minnesota-bound senior Jack Lynn into the end zone from 9 yards out and the Bears held a comfortable 14-0 advantage.
Libertyville closed to within 17-6 midway through the third quarter on a 9-yard scoring strike from Deichl to Sam Styler, but that was all the points Libertyville (3-3, 1-2) could manage.